Cornwall day one – seals and seabirds trip in Penzance

  • We arrived in Looe, Cornwall last night, staying in a lovely little B&B called The Little Mainstone Guest House. It’s on the West bank of the river overlooking the harbour and West Looe (where most of the cafes, restaurants and shops are located. It takes just a couple of minutes walk to get there over the bridge. We started the day with a full cooked breakfast (veggie option), the owners got up and made it early for us as we had an early start.
Looe, Cornwall, at dusk

Today, we drove across to Penzance (about 1hr 20mins) for our first seal trip of the year. We went with Marine Discovery, who operate from on office on the Albert Pier and sail on a catamaran, which was very welcome today, as it was pretty windy and choppy. The catamaran is a lot more stable in this weather than a single-hulled boat.

We set out using the engines and the first stop was St Clements Island off the coast of Mousehole, where there were a number of grey seals who had hauled themselves out onto the rocks. The whole area is great for seabirds, we saw a number of Cormorants, Guillemots, Razorbills, Shags, Fulmars, Manx Shearwaters and Gannets.

The Gannets are the UK’s biggest seabird and they’re huge. They are also good indicators of where you may see porpoises, just look for them diving, which highlights where fish may be found nearby and the porpoises might not be far away.

We then set sail, and headed out to the Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, which is a beautiful open-air theatre that looks out to see. Using the sail just adds a little something to a boat trip as you don’t get any engine noise masking the sound of the sea or the birds. We turned turned round at Porthcurno and headed back to Penzance, but closer to shore looking for harbour porpoises. We luckily saw 4 or 5, but they were being quite shy and we only got fleeting glances and no good shots.

It was windy and very cold on the boat and in spite of Heather’s layers (1 thermal top, a wooly jumper, a hoodie, a padded jacket and 2 waterproof javkets), not to mention 7 items of headgear (1 cap, 2 woolly hats, hoodie and 3 coat hoods), we were frozen when we got off the boat and in a state of near hypothermia. If you’re going out on a boat trip at this time of year, wrap up!

Being prepared! Wet weather gear is essential for spring boat trips in the UK.

Welcome to our new site!

This is See Wildife, our new website and blog that helps you to find the best places to go and see wildlife.  Through our blog we’ll keep you up to date with our travels, where we’re going, where we’ve been and what amazing creatures we have seen on the way.

We’ve also written some great (in our opinion) destination guides on each of the places we’ve visited to help you choose and plan your own wildlife watching trips. These guides provide details on what animals you can see, how to get there, where to stay, where to eat and also any other cool things that can be done in each place. We’ve been lucky to have visit quite a few wonderful places so it’s taking a bit of time to put them all together, so more and more will be added over the next few weeks. Destinations without links are in the pipeline, so please bare with us on those.

If you have a favourite creature, be it whales, bears, seals or whatever, we’ve also written some guides in our I want to see section on each of our favourite animals which include where some of the best places to view them are.

Finally, we’ve got our Kit and Tips section where we pass on tips on what kit we use on our trips and any other handy info that we can give you to help you make the most of your wildlife experience.