Isle of Man: Go sea-exploring with Shona

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Shona is patiently waiting in the little harbour of Port Erin – her home near the southern tip of the Isle of Man. A self-governing island under the crown of the UK.

From here she sets out on adventures with her welcoming crew, Chris and Jason, and up to 12 guests – and I’m excited to get onboard this morning as we aim for the Calf of Man, which is a smaller island that’s easily spotted from the mainland.

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Sometimes Shona takes her passengers in to the island, but today her mission is to take us on a 2-hour tour around it, and give us the chance to experience this magnificent coastalscape from the water. There’s not much wind this morning, but strong tidal currents mean there’s a few wavey passages on our way around – which is absolutely no problem for the experienced crew, who also prepares us passengers for what kind of wildlife we might see out on the water.

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The ocean around Isle of Man is known for being a good area to spot seals, dolphins, whales and huge basking sharks, but naturally it all depends on the season, the tide, the weather – and ultimately, luck. So we keep our eyes out, through camera lenses and through the binoculars we can borrow on the boat, while Jason tells about exciting encounters with seals and sharks, as well as about the Calf of Man, the work for its warden and its four different lighthouses.

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The rugged cliffs of this smaller island are really impressive from this perspective on the water and we spot a range of different birds, in the air and on land. While circling the island slowly, we also come by a local fishing boat with a competition going on, and in a small bay nearby we spot our first grey seals, popping their shiny heads out of the water to see what’s going on.

Unfortunately my zoom isn’t long enough to get some good shots, but it’s a lovely to get to experience these animals respectfully in the wild – instead of in the zoo. Many times it’s possible to find them lounging on the rocks too, when the tide is lower than it was on this specific trip.

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And there’s an even bigger creature lurking nearby… no, not a basking shark, but a dragon! A drinking dragon named “Burroo” to be specific, as a huge cliff in the water unmistakingly looks like a giant dragon bending down to take a sip from the waters surface – like a dog drinking from a bowl. 

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As for basking sharks we were not lucky on this day, but these big and friendly creatures are out there… so maybe next time. Still we return to beautiful Port Erin Bay with long lasting memories of our trip around the Calf of Man, and I can highly recommend you to book your own adventure with Shona and her crew, if you ever find yourself visiting the Isle of Man.

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SEE ALSO: Go wild in West Wales with Voyages of Discovery

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By Brian Schæfer Dreyer