Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sherkin Island

I arrived at Sherkin Island Marine Station in Ireland nearly 3 weeks ago now, after quite a long journey including 3 trains, 4 buses, and 2 ferries! I am currently a 'Bod' at the Marine Station as a member of the Plankton Research Team. On this team there are currently 3 people - myself, Clare & Maria. There are also 4 ‘Bods’ on the ‘Rocky Shore Research Team’ here also - Nonny, Lucy, Hannah & Ruth.

The island itself is stunning. Everyone is super friendly and there is a nice community feel and everyone seems to know each other (possibly not too difficult with the permanent population of the island totally around 100 people). Apart from the marine station some of the other key places on the island include:
  • The hostel (this is in a great location and doesn’t charge extortionate prices and I’ve heard they do amazing breakfasts so I might have to go and stay for a night or two..)
  • The school (this is very very small - I think it currently has less than 15 pupils!)
  • The pub (the pub is great, there is pool and often live music in the form of some people casually playing instruments in the corner. However it is a tad pricey so our wages don't last an awfully long time. It is also on the opposite end of the island to the marine station and therefor takes 40 minutes walking to get there! The good news however is that the more people we know, the more likely we are to be able to get a lift from friendly passing vehicles)

-       There is no shop on the island – all food shopping is done by ordering things from the shop in Baltimore (on mainland Ireland) and they get delivered via the boat to Sherkin.

One of the many stunning views from nearby the Marine Station

There are loads of lovely little beaches around the island that look perfect for rockpooling and snorkelling. And there is lots of interesting wildlife - Whales can frequently be seen from shore, as well as dolphins, seals, and otters. I have a checklist of animals to see while I am here:     
  •  Common dolphins
  • Bottlenose dolphins
  • Risso's dolphins
  • Minke whales
  • Fin whales
  • Humpback whales
  • Basking sharks
  • Atlantic sunfish
  • Common seals 

One of the Marine Station labs 

All the marine station Bods live on-site – there are residential blocks, 2 labs, a number of libraries, a small living room, and a kitchen/dining area. We have a cooking rota for evening meals, and we can request food each day to collect for the next day.

Not a bad view from the office!

Right next to the marine station is the ‘landing stage’ which is a little set of stairs down to the sea. There is a handy small cove which we can go swimming/snorkelling/paddling around in when the weather is nice (which it really is at the moment!). 

Have I mentioned that I can actually walk on water - one for the CV?

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