Interview with Jenny of Padstow Sealife Safaris
Have fun on the water and get to experience the breath-taking beauty of the Cornish coast as well as encountering some of the extensive local marine wildlife on an exhilarating Sealife Safari.
Padstow Sealife Safaris is a locally owned boat tour operator; offering coastal sightseeing boat trips in the local vicinity. Owing to the structure of the boats, you get unobstructed panoramic views of the picturesque and unspoiled coastline and admire the beauty of nature.
The stunning and dramatic Cornish coast is awesome, and you gain a completely different perspective from the sea. The waters here are a haven of peacefulness and tranquillity. So just sit back and enjoy. With commentary throughout, learn about the dramatic and unique landscape, nature and history of the area and hear many a story along the way from a passionate and knowledgeable guide. You are certain to learn new things about the locality and will be further enchanted by Cornwall’s beauty, charm and the treasures it has to offer.
A Sealife Safari is an excellent way to experience Cornwall, as you will be able see the unusual rock formations of this rugged coastline, caves, rocky outcrops, sea stacks, hidden coves, as well as places that you would not normally get to see... and if you are lucky marine mammals and a wide variety of sea birds in their natural habitat. Make sure to keep an eye out as you never know what you may encounter. Obviously they can’t guarantee what you will see on your trip as it depends on the season and your luck on the day.
The joys of a Sealife Safari are that no two trips are ever the same, you will get a different experience each time as you most likely will see different sea life and have different weather. It is sure to be a remarkable and memorable experience. On top of that a Sealife Safari offers something for all ages.
We had a lovely chat with Jenny who is a guide here at Padstow Sealife Safaris, who let us know what to expect on a safari and told us a little about herself.
Firstly, Jenny thank you for taking the time to chat with us.
What motivated Ian to start Padstow Boat Safari?
"Ian Kitto started up Padstow Sealife Safaris after growing up working on boats and fishing with his father. He was inspired by the wildlife he encountered out at sea and wanted to share these encounters with visitors to Padstow as well as giving them a different perspective of the coastline."
What type of boat is the Sealife Safari?
"We operate on 10 metre Humber RIBs. These are fast and bouncy boats that can handle all sorts of conditions but are not for the faint of heart! On a lovely calm day, you get a nice smooth ride, but with a bit of swell and wind, we have lots of fun bouncing over the waves. These types of boats are used by the RNLI so you can be assured that you will be safe if you enjoy a bit of speed."
How many people does the boat accommodate?
"We have been taking slightly lighter loads due to Covid but when we are operating as normal, we can carry up to 12 passengers per boat."
What can guests expect to see on a Sealife Safari?
"When it comes to wild animals, there is nothing you can guarantee as they can be very unpredictable. However, we see grey seals on around 95% of all of our trips and on our 2 hour Sealife Safaris we see common dolphins regularly and often minke whales. During the spring and early summer, seabirds are plentiful with kittiwakes, guillemots and razorbills all nesting on the cliffs in large numbers. Puffins nest on a nearby island from mid April to mid July, with the morning trip being the best opportunity to spot them. We also get occasional sightings of porpoises, sunfish, tuna, sharks, jellyfish and other surprising species."
Will guests get wet?
"Potentially! If you are lucky to go out on a lovely calm day with no wind, you will likely stay very dry. However, our RIBs are open boats, exposing passengers to the elements and on a windy day, the spray from the boat can blow in and get us quite wet! We do also brave the rain too as the wildlife doesn’t mind being wet so neither do we. We always recommend wrapping up nice and warm as, even on a hot day, when the boat travels at speed, the temperature drops quite a bit. We supply waterproof trousers and splash jackets but encourage passengers to bring a good waterproof jacket of their own too to give a better chance of staying warm and dry."
What is the best part of your job?
"We never get bored of watching wildlife, whether it is a new species we have never spotted before or something we see everyday. It is always a pleasure to see the joy on passengers’ faces the first time they spot a seal or dolphin and this is why we love what we do so much."
Have you had any amusing experiences with either animals or guests?
"We once spotted a juvenile gannet that had been sitting on the water in the same spot for a while and started to concern us that it perhaps couldn’t fly and might be injured, so tried to catch it so it could be taken to a vet to be assessed. Every time we approached it with the boat, it paddled away from us. This game of cat and mouse carried on for a good 5-10 minutes until it eventually just took off and flew away!"
Tell us about your perfect day on the water, what would be involved?
"The dream day would be sunshine, flat calm seas and a feeding frenzy! This is when there is a large aggregation of fish in the water, causing multiple species to gather together to feed, usually involving common dolphins, minke whales, bluefin tuna, diving gannets and other seabirds. It’s like something from a David Attenborough documentary and always such a privilege to witness."
Where is your favourite place/spot in Cornwall and why?
"Mother Ivey’s Beach is such a beautiful place. It is quite a sheltered spot leaving the water often looking tropical and is a great place to swim, snorkel and SUP. With views of the Padstow Lifeboat Station out across Padstow Bay, it is pretty idyllic."
If you weren’t a guide what job would you like to do?
"Before I had this job I had dreams of working on research boats studying humpback whales or in sea turtle conservation, however, I can honestly now say that there is no job I’d want more than this one."
What little change can people do to help with conservation of the oceans?
"I would say just being mindful of our actions. If we visit the beach, make sure you don’t let any litter blow away, take everything back off the beach with you and, if you can, pick up any litter you see as you leave. Preventing just one single piece of litter from entering the sea can prevent harm coming to a marine animal - every little bit helps!"
Do you have a favourite travel destination?
"I spent some time in the South Island of New Zealand a few years ago working on boat tours in Kaikoura for a short while and the marine life I encountered there was phenomenal! I would go back to visit in a heartbeat."
Where is on your wish list to travel to?
"I have been to Fiji but would love to explore more of the Pacific Islands. There is so much to love there, from the culture and lifestyle to (of course) the marine life!"
We would like to say a huge thanks to Jenny for answering all of our questions.
For more information and details on how to book a sea life safari please check out the following:
Padstow Sealife Safaris
Telephone: 07754 822404