A boat trip from St Justinian to Ramsey & Skomer island

Salut, salut

Here is the article about « the thing that we don’t do every day », finally. This article is important for me because I’d like to make you feel at least a quarter of what we felt, of the beauty we witnessed and it might be difficult with words because this place doesn’t need words. When we looked for something original to do for our 10 years anniversary, I remembered that I read in my Lonely Planet something about boat trips around Ramsey island in Pembrokeshire and we thought that it was exactly the right time to do it because we don’t do boat trips in our every day life. There are several tour operators possible included Voyages of Discovery, Thousand Islands and Blue Ocean Adventures; prices are similar and time on boat too. We didn’t know which one to choose so I simply sent an email asking them why they were the best choice among all (depending on tour, staff and boats), it’s a really simple thing to do and might appear stupid but you easily get an idea according to who answer and how they talk about their company. Among the three of them, one didn’t answer and the first who answered talked about the boats’ safety so we chose this one. « We’ll explore with Voyages of Discovery ».

Once we had the tour operator, we had to choose the tour. At first we wanted the big one, 2h30 on a boat for £60 and the title was « offshore islands whale and dolphin watch », a tour around Grassholm and the Small Lighthouse, seemed to be great; expensive but great. I called to book and the lady on the phone told me to call the next day to check the weather, unfortunately because of the weather the tour was canceled (could be dangerous to go there with the wind etc) but they advised another tour, 1h to 1h30 on a boat for £26 around Ramsey Island to see some animals, caves and the island so we were a little bit disappointed because it wasn’t a big one but we though that it was better than nothing so we said yes. The following day we arrived at St Davids and when we went to their office they told us that the last boat for this tour just went out, that was on us, we should have get there earlier. The last tour they had for the day was in an hour, a 2h boat tour called « Islands expedition » for £45 around Ramsey Island and Skomer Island. Per-fect! It was exactly between the two previous one, in term of prices and time. Per-fect!

This time, we didn’t dawdle, we didn’t want to be late so we went back to the car and drove 15mn to arrive at St Justinian. When we arrived, there’s a free car park but no empty spaces so we had to go to the £3 one. We went there and here’s the #VeryBritishProblem… We had to pay £3 right, but we had £2.50 old coins and £3 new coins. Guess what? The machine doesn’t take new pounds! This is absolutely ridiculous, I mean okay you changed the coins, fine, they’re better now but wasn’t it possible to think about machines first? Anyway, we called Voyages of Discovery and they were very nice, they took our number plate and told us to give £3 to Sam. We just needed to find who Sam was. Finally, we arrived at the boat rendez-vous point and Sam was the first person we saw, great! He looks like a beach boy from our Atlantic coast, blond hair and a Jax Teller’ look, it made us smile and we got the feeling that it was going to be great.

We still had 40mn to waste so we walked along the cliff. Breathtaking.

Then we took the stairs and sat closed to the dog, Sam and other people. He gave us big coats because even with 24 degrees on the mainland, it was going to be chilly on the boat. The boat arrived with a driver and a guide, Neil and Martin, they helped us go onboard, advised us to put our coat on, explained how to put the life jackets, checked and let’s go. We were a little bit afraid but so excited!

This water’s colour is unbelievable, it looks like a painting which shines and reflects. We got closer to Ramsey Island and saw opposite currents forming holes, tides, Neil and Martin explained to us how it works, and we even went into one of them, it was scary but so interesting! Once the boat started we got off easily. The island is beautiful, huge and really impressing, birds flew over us, they are called shearwaters.

Martin told us that we were going to one of the caves because we might find friends there…

So, here is Phoque the seal (phoque means seal in French, Le Barbu lacks of originality for names). We can clearly see him with our own eyes but I had to zoom with my camera , don’t worry we weren’t so closed with the boat. Actually, this is one of the thing we really liked about this boat trip, we could see animals but neither Martin or Neil wanted to go after them nor closer because they wanted to respect their lives and we appreciated it, we were on their lands so we let them and admired them from a respectful distance. We stayed a little near Ramsey Island to watch birds and Mr Phoque, breathe and realise how lucky we were then we went away. Direction: offshore!

And offshore, we could see the beautiful Ramsey Island, birds and… dolphins and porpoises! Voilà. You’re on a boat, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by blue and you glimpse a fin, two fins, three fins. It is magic. We could see them jumping and during those moments we didn’t really take photos because we were just enjoying. I got this one while photographing Ramsey Island. How lucky we were!

We didn’t see a lot of them but as I said, we weren’t going to chase them we were lucky enough to see what we saw and that was fine for us. We stayed a little while, we watched them and then we went to Skomer Island.

The closer we got to Skomer, the the more birds we saw. I was impatient to meet puffins, I think they are really cute, I thought they were bigger though. But the littlest the cutest, right? With their little orange bec, they look like penguin-birds.

Skomer Island is owned by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and is managed by National Trust of South and West Wales. It is a scientific site and a Historic Monument! It is the largest island of Pembrokeshire with its 730 acres. There are more than 6000 puffins’ couples on Skomer and more than 2000 couples on Skokholm (an island nearby), 120000 shearwaters’ couples on Skomer and 45000 on Skokholm, we saw thousands of them and it was crazy! We also had the chance to see Miss Mouette (mouette means seagull in French), she had less friends than the puffins and the shearwaters but they were here too. Actually, Miss Mouette sat on our boat and stayed for a while, looking at us, pooed, photobombed one of my photos and went away. Martin called her Steven for Steven Seagull/Seagal and we found it funny. It is funny, isn’t it? We also saw some jellyfishes, one of them I’ve never seen before the moon jellyfish, beautiful but scary! Martin told us that it was dangerous to swim here because of them.

Our 2h tour was going to end, we were sad but so happy at the same time! We were so lucky to witness all that beauty but the weather started to look gloomy. On our way back, we saw two cute seals, they were looking at us with only their heads out of the water but we couldn’t really see more than that because of the mist that was coming. We went on the boat with a shiny sun and 24 degrees and we landed back with a huge mist and 14 degrees… In two hours! But what a souvenir we created during those two hours, one of our most beautiful!

Useful info: we chose Voyages of Discovery, a 2h tour for £45 per person, the money is taken from your account only when you take the boat. There are 12 people on the boat and 2 employees. We met a young man at the office, Sam, Neil (I’m really sorry if I spelled it wrong), and Martin and they were all extremely nice and we had an unforgettable time, thanks a lot! Honestly, I was a little bit afraid first but they reassured me because they were so professional, we learnt a lot, saw beautiful places and animals that we’re not used to see, we had a fabulous time. It was an amazing gift for our 10 years anniversary and we’re really happy we chose this over material gifts. In those times you see how little you are, you human, and how nature is spectacular, we’re so lucky and we should preserve our beautiful planet because it deserves it…

I hope I was able to show you how beautiful this moment was, how extraordinary it was and I hope you understand that I highly recommend you to do it too, it worths the price. I leave you with Miss Mouette and her photobomb, and Skomer going away. Des bisous

(photos are mine, please don’t use them without permission)

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