This year the NMA have started our very own Boat Trips! These trips take you from Sutton Harbour- home of Plymouth Fisheries, all the way out to the Breakwater, then back via Drake’s Island. My name’s Emily and I had the pleasure of hosting the first Boat Trip of 2018. Here’s how it went down.
The first trip took place on a cloudy March morning, undeterred by the gloomy weather and armed with a chest full of amazing artefacts from Plymouth resident creatures and a microphone. We were ready to depart.
I was nervous but seeing all the excited faces of the lovely people who had volunteered to go on the first trip, silenced my worries. Before I knew it, we were making our way past Plymouth Fisheries and out towards the lock.
For the first part of the journey, our fantastic Captain Derek told us all about Sutton Harbour, from the fisheries to the history of the Harbour itself. When we get to the lock, I handed out our special ‘I Spy’ guides for Plymouth Sound, so passengers could tick off any animals that we spotted along the way. It was a quite a brilliant sight, witnessing the 2 million litres of water being let out of the lock so we could join the lower tide of the sound.
Once the lock doors opened we made our way out into the sound and past Mount Batten. At this point we were talking about the rocky shore, all the animals that have adapted to the turbulent conditions of the tidal zone.
Approaching the emerald green woodlands of Jennycliff Bay we saw our first marine creatures- Cormorants! These regal diving birds were perched on the rocks drying of their feathers after catching their breakfast and were a lovely sight to see. At this point, we were sailing over one of the many seagrass beds of the sound so I passed around one of our preserved seahorses so the passengers could see an example of the stunning creatures that live on our doorstep.
Next was the Breakwater, the waves were forgiving and calm as we approached the imposed Breakwater Fort. Captain Derek took over the mic then and told the passengers all about Plymouth military history. At this point there were lots of seabirds perching on the breakwater so there was lots of wildlife to witness. We also saw a huge log floating the in the sea that looked suspiciously like a Basking Shark but alas it was simply driftwood.
On the way back, we were sailing over the deepest parts of Plymouth Sound, which is mainly mud and sand flats. To demonstrate how large our native Basking Sharks can be, I asked some wonderful volunteers to hold a cut-out of a Basking Shark head and tail at either end of the cabin. These impressive creatures can grow to 10 metres long! I also showed the passengers the skull of a dolphin to get a hand-on view of an beautiful ocean mammal.
The icing of the Boat Trip cake was found at the bottom of a buoy: a crab pot! The crew had left out a crab pot for a few days and pulled it up onto the deck to see what we could catch. Inside were two mid-sized female brown crabs and an adorably small male brown crab that could fit in the palm of your hand- so cute! After the passengers had taken a good look and given them a little pet, we placed then back into the water to join their friends. After which, we headed back to the Aquarium.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the boat trip, it was a delight to host. I would recommend it to anybody that wants to get in interactive tour of the amazing landscape we life next too.
See you on the next trip!