A fantastic season of wildlife watching from the Scillonian III has just finished for another year. The waters between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were abundant with a variety of marine life throughout the summer, from a leatherback turtle to a minke whale.

Wildlife expert Paul Semmens, who has worked for Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust for over twenty years, carried out regular wildlife monitoring trips and helped passengers to see harbour porpoises, common dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, basking sharks and ocean sunfish.

He also spotted a wide variety of birds, including puffins, razorbills, Balearic, sooty and Manx shearwaters, and observed the highwaymen of the sea - great, pomarine and Arctic skuas, which rob other birds of their hard-earned fish.

Paul Semmens says, “After a slow start it has been another record season for sightings from the ship. It was great that for the second year running we spotted the gigantic leatherback turtle, here to feed on jellyfish. Also attracted by the jellyfish were higher than normal numbers of ocean sunfish that occurred from mid summer onwards. My personal highlight was on one October crossing when we saw around 400 common dolphins, with group after group leaping towards the ship for over an hour!”

Sharon Sandercock of Isles of Scilly Travel, who supported Paul’s monitoring trips, says, “We were delighted to support Cornwall Wildlife Trust to monitor and increase awareness of the amazing wildlife that can be seen on this crossing. We are proud that the Scillonian III plays such an important part in looking after local wildlife as well as providing a year-round connection between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”