Late last night I came back from our 3 day trip to Lundy Island and I have to say it was one of the best filming experiences I have ever had. Getting to film the wildlife was such a good opportunity and the experience of a lifestyle that is so different to my own was incredibly interesting and I have learnt such a lot. Now I’m thinking about going back to Lundy in the future once I have my underwater housing for my camera and diving with the seals and see the marine life closer as it seems to be a fantastically lively place.
The very early start to the trip began at 5:15 am when we all met up and clambered into the minibus. After a stop or two and a bit of a tense moment getting onto the ferry MS Oldenburg, we made our way across the Bristol Channel where we encountered one of my favourite species of cetacean, the common dolphin. I’ve had quite a lot of experience with them before on the way and in Spain a few years ago but having not seen them for a while, I was (I think) rather over excited to see them again!
I think I managed to get quite a lot of good footage of them leaping about around the ferry and prancing through it’s wake and I’m really pleased that I was able to practice filming them again, especially with it being what I want to do as part of my career. Now I’m really looking forward to going back up to the Moray Firth in Scotland to film the resident bottlenose dolphins there!
After the excitement of the dolphins, I took a few more photographs of the seals and the birds as we arrived in the Landing Bay of Lundy. Now, I’d heard that there was a little bit of a walk up to the village but this was something else- a quite steep uphill walk that seemed to go on forever. It might just be me being overdramatic about it but carrying the equipment up here was quite a difficult and painful experience but at least now I am a little bit more prepared for doing the same in the future- I definitely need to get used to this. Once at the top, we all made our way to where we would be staying for the next few days, a lovely place called The Barn.
Following a short introduction to Derek Green, the Lundy Ranger, and the
wildlife wardens we separated into our groups and went off to explore our surroundings and begin filming. I had originally planned for us to start off by filming the seals in the Landing Bay but after the long walk down none of us particularly wanted to head back down there for a while and so we walked in the opposite direction towards the north. It was an incredibly sunny day so straight away we were overheating and so we ended up sitting on some rocks overlooking the sea in order to feel the cool breeze and to get some good shots of the landscape and scenery. Although only a few of us were filming, with it being so warm and relaxing nobody seemed to mind and instead took in the views andpointed out various things for us to film. It would have been nice to have had everybody filming as at times I was a little bit worried that they were getting bored however I heard no complaints so as far as I knew it was going well.
That was until we hit the first and only injury of the trip- Rebecca Konig hit her head on a rock which subsequently began to bleed (her head, not the rock). At first, everybody was laughing as she was so careful at not damaging her camera but once we saw the blood and knew the extent of the injury, we all snapped into serious mode in order to make sure that she was alright. Unfortunately we were out of range for the walkie-talkies to work no matter how many times we tried and none of us had any mobile signal. It was a pain but we knew that this was the case and so Mirella Burgess and Rachel Davies ran off to get help whilst me and Jordan Declaire stayed behind to make sure that Rebecca was ok. For me this was really making sure that we kept her spirits up and distracting one man who came over to ask us whether we were cetacean watchers in order to prevent her getting any unwanted attention. In any other circumstances I would have been happy to
talk to this man as he had mentioned that they had seen some Minke whales just off the coast but at this time I had other things to think about.
Eventually, help came in the form of the wardens in a landrover along with Rachel and Mirella. After Rebecca’s wound was all cleaned up and the accident forms filled out, we decided that we’d perhaps had a little bit too much excitement for the day and headed back to The Barn to have a bit of food before heading out to the tavern for a few drinks. When we got there, to begin with we felt a bit like “the kids that nobody likes at school” (Rachel Davies, 2012) as we had managed to secure a rather large table in the middle of the room for when the rest of the group arrived. However, as there was only 5 of us on it at that stage it did look at bit like we were being avoided until slowly everybody else trickled through the doors.
I have to admit that I wasn’t really wanting a late night after only 2 hours sleep the night before but after the lights went out in the pub at 11 due to Lundy being powered by generators, it seemed to get a lot more exciting in a way and it gave me a surge of energy. In the end, we all went to bed at about half 2 and in hindsight this perhaps wasn’t the best with a full day of filming ahead but I do think that it gave everybody a chance to relax into the trip which could only have benefitted production.
Looking back, I do think that even from the first day on Lundy Island I learnt a lot about the importance of health and safety and I think perhaps we could have been a little bit more prepared. I am pleased with how we all dealt with the crisis though as nobody panicked and instead all stuck together to help each other.