Friday, 14 August 2015

Liverpool Pelagic

A week ago I was lucky enough to be on board fishing boat Discovery with a small group of photographers.The trip had been arranged with the skipper Gary Flint and we were to leave Liverpool at the very early hour of 5.30a.m.I picked up Paul Foster at Leyland at 4.15a.m. and we met up with the others at Liverpool in good time.It was a beautiful morning with little wind and the promise of a lovely sunny day.We were all on board and heading out of Liverpool at around 5.45a.m.and passing the well known waterfront landmark of the Liver Building.We motored out some twenty five miles or so to catch some mackerel to attract the gannets.The mackerel shoals were well scattered but we obtained enough for a session with the cameras.

It was a lovely warm and sunny day and it was a wonderful experience to be aboard Discovery with like minded photographers and birdwatchers.We put bread out to attract the gulls which in turn would attract the gannets and any other possible pelagic species like shearwaters,skuas and petrels.Also the organiser of the trip,Richard Steele, had made a chum concoction which was trickled into the water to leave an oily slick again to attract any birds in the area.This first session brought a number of gannets to the boat. They were mostly juvenile birds in various stages of acquiring full adult plumage which takes around three years to develop.We were all trying to get the shot with the gannet diving into the water at around sixty miles per hour with wings folded back as it hit the water. Not easy but we all had fun trying.

We then went to catch more mackerel and came across a good number of manx shearwaters loafing around in the very warm sun.We approached carefully and got within camera range of the birds.Not often you can get close to these ocean wanderers.A good number of mackerel were caught and we moved back to the earlier mark hoping for more gannets etc.This second session was poor with very few gannets to be seen.The skipper Gary put out a rod hoping to catch a tope, a member of the shark family.A tope did take the bait but unfortunately came off when the line became entagled with one of the mackerel lines.

It was then time to head back into Liverpool.We were followed in by numbers of lesser black back gulls which made for nice images against the blue sky.We passed the Liver Building around 3.30p.m.and Paul and I then headed back to Leyland after saying our goodbyes to our shipmates. It had been a fabulous experience with superb weather and great company.We all look forward to more pelagic trips in the future.
Hope you enjoy some of my images above from the day and a big thanks to Richard for all the organisation.


  1. Brilliant account of the day Brian,well told.Yes its not easy trying to lock onto the Gannets plummeting at 60 mph,but wasn,t it great trying.Pity Gary couldn,t land the tope though,that would have been a bonus!!!