Thursday, 21 June 2012

Skomer landings

Tuesday 6th June 1944 saw the D-Day landings in northern France. The same date in 2012 saw the Moore clan failing to land on Skomer and having to settle for a Dunkirk-style small boat trip around the island. Saturday 9th June, our last day in Pembrokeshire, presented one last opportunity to set foot on the island. Not quite D-Day, but military style preparations were still necessary: mess tins were filled the night before to allow for an early start, camera barrels polished and primed, and the troops shaken from their bunks at 0600.

Weather and deception were key to the success of the Normandy Landings. And so it was this morning: we arrived at Martin's Haven at 0730, the tension building as we waited to discover whether conditions would be good enough to launch an amphibious assault. They were, but even the early start was only just enough to secure tickets for the first boat, which left shortly after 0900. As for deception, I had to lie about the time, the journey and the destination to get my private army in position for the early boat. 'This isn't the beach', complained a bleary-eyed but perceptive 5-year old as he was bundled over the gunwhales of the Dale Princess.

Fortunately, all was forgiven a few moments later as we stormed the quay at North Haven, kicking auks off our boots as we went. Resistance was futile. Many were taken. Photographs, that is. A selection of my favourites below. If you get bored of their little faces, look for the subtle variation in bill shapes - the curves at the base and top of 4th bird down are particularly ornate compared to the others - or click to enlarge the 8th and 9th pictures from the top to see to see lines of Puffin-botherers reflected in their eyes.

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