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RSPB Puffin Cruise 23rd May 2004

(subsequently rechristened the “Nuffin Cruise”)

This outing was put forward as an idea by one of our members, and the first sailing on the 23rd May was chosen way back in December as our May outing. There perhaps was some question mark over the earliest sailing because of the weather, but as the weekend approached and the long-staying anticyclone persisted over the UK, the Secretary remembers saying to his wife – “well at least I’ve got the date and the weather right this time. There’s no need to ring up the RSPB to check the sailing.”

So to Sunday the 23rd which dawned fine and clear, allowing a trip to Shunner. There at last we found dotterel – a great start to the day [see dotrel.htm]. We then set off and had a leisurely picnic lunch on the Wolds, arriving in Bridlington just after 3. One of our concerns had been parking in Bridlington on a fine Sunday afternoon but we luckily found a space at the harbour quite easily and strolled on to the pier in good time – only to be met by people coming the other way also carrying binoculars and being greeted with “You’re not hoping to go on the RSPB Cruise are you? It’s been cancelled!” We were flabbergasted and of course walked on to find out the real story. We were told that the northerly wind (breeze?) of the previous few days was causing a swell under the northerly-facing seabird cliffs which made it unsafe for the Puffin Cruise!

So that was that. What else to do but go to Bempton Reserve itself and console ourselves with the thought that probably our birding views from the cliff top in the evening sun were just as good as from sea level. As far as we could see no gannets were fishing close in (which was something we had hoped to see), whereas from the boat we certainly couldn’t have seen the hundreds of kittiwakes flying inshore to a clifftop grass field, collecting nesting material). And yes, we did meet another Ryenats member at Bempton who had made the same mistake as ourselves, but will we ever know how many other members were uninterested or unavailable for the trip? or wise and rang up? or who were like us?

Tom Denney, May 2004

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