We woke up bright eyed and bushy-tailed, and with a little nudge from our neighbour we pegged it to the lodge to buy our tickets. It turns out people arrive from all over the world with what can only be described as puffinmania. People queue up for tickets from 7.30am, way before the boats are due to leave! Luckily we arrived in time but we didn’t realise that you had to buy a boat ticket and a landing fee costing us £42 for the both of us. It’s going to a worthy cause so I’m more than happy to pay, but it did make me question how the price tag makes this wildlife experience inaccessible to so many.
The boat to Skomer was squished full of anorak-clad twitchers (apart from Jim who braced the sea spray in shorts and T shirt) umming and ahhing over the black specs dashing over head as both puffins and razerbills flew out to sea. Eventually we pulled up to the island and were greeted by the loveliest Wildlife Trust volunteers. Before they could let us loose on the island they gave the all important introduction speech. The golden rule for Skomer exploration is to stick to the path at ALL TIMES! There are three burrowing species on Skomer - puffins, Manx shearwaters and rabbits. This means the island is like swiss cheese and one wrong step could be disastrous for whatever creature is living inside a burrow!
We headed straight for the puffin stronghold where puffins are literally at your feet! Both Jim and I had never seen one before and we felt like children again. Can you remember waking up Christmas morning with an overwhelming bubbly feeling in your stomach? Well if you can, that's how we felt! There’s something about their clown-like faces and clumsy waddles that makes your heart jump into your mouth! I think anyone would be completely enamored by them!
We rented a 150-600mm Sigma lens for the trip to make sure our photos and film would be good quality. Our own lenses just wouldn’t have cut the mustard and looking back on the photos, it was the best decision we made!!
The island is rich with wildlife from penguin-like Guillemots, graceful short-eared owls to beautiful blooms of Red Campion lining the paths. Every inch of the island is a feast for the eyes! It’s one of those rare places where nature truly owns the land and humans are but guests, invited for a short window of time to witness the life that makes the island what it is. We could have made hundreds of films there, but with three batteries and only four and a half hours we stuck with puffins. I hope you love the film as much as we loved making it!
This Sunday (20th), I was invited to the launch of Paddle Pickup. Bex, Erin and a dedicated team of women are kayaking 300km from Bristol to London and collecting plastic they find floating in the waterways. You’d be mistaken if you thought this was just a clean-up exercise. This is so much more.