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Eclectic Penguin

Puffin' my way to the next cache... Geocoin!

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I guess I need to be a little more adventurous when I explore these threads! I thought "Puffin' " was written slang for "puffing" and that the coin would feature some sort of out-of-breath cacher. My education came when I searched for Eclectic Penguins, wondering if I could purchase or trade, and when I visited the website to purchase my glow-in-the-dark penguin, I saw the Puffins!

 

I saw Atlantic Puffins three years ago while my husband and I visited Acadia National Park in Maine (beautiful area, BTW). We took a puffin tour and were lucky enough to catch several good views of them before they ended their breeding season and flew off to wherever they go.

 

These are great coins, and I purchased on of each, as well as my penguin. I look forward to other pelagic bird coins, perhaps and albatross or a storm-petrel?! Anything to increase my "flock" of coins...

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I guess I need to be a little more adventurous when I explore these threads! I thought "Puffin' " was written slang for "puffing" and that the coin would feature some sort of out-of-breath cacher. My education came when I searched for Eclectic Penguins, wondering if I could purchase or trade, and when I visited the website to purchase my glow-in-the-dark penguin, I saw the Puffins!

 

I saw Atlantic Puffins three years ago while my husband and I visited Acadia National Park in Maine (beautiful area, BTW). We took a puffin tour and were lucky enough to catch several good views of them before they ended their breeding season and flew off to wherever they go.

 

These are great coins, and I purchased on of each, as well as my penguin. I look forward to other pelagic bird coins, perhaps and albatross or a storm-petrel?! Anything to increase my "flock" of coins...

 

Of course, the coin's title is a pun on the word Puffin and Puffing - and I think it works well!

 

My next coin is due for release sometime next week - though this coin is actually a group effort. This is the 2009 South Wales Geocachers Geocoin. I know that there's quite a bit of interest for this coin already - I'll announce its sale once it's available. A bit of a departure from my previous two avians, I think this also comes from my heart and I'm proud of the designs we came up with.

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=214535

 

I'm really looking forward to seeing the puffins within 3 miles of the island depicted on the coin this spring (not long now). Skomer island is a lot easier to get to than Skokholm island, but I felt Skokholm should be the one depicted not only because of the lighthouse but also for its important history in the study of marine bird life.

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I got mine a few days ago and they are wonderful! Thanks for all the hard work that went into them!

Blackfishorca

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I know I featured the island with its lighthouse on my Puffin coin, so...

 

I got my first unexpected personal glipmse of Skokholm island this afternoon while out caching in the Pembrokeshire area of South Wales. I know it's a blurry photo but as I'd featured it on my second personal coin I thought I'd share it with you guys!

 

skok01.jpg

 

Sorry to say, the little bump on the left and distant island is the lighthouse - I hope to get a better photo soon.

 

Not long after taking that unimaginitave photo I got this lovely sunset over the same headland!

 

I hope it's only a month away before I post pictures of puffins on Skomer Island (just round that headland) where they're so used to humans, you can literally sit within a yard or two of the birds as they hop and go about their business around you!

 

sunset.jpg

Edited by Eclectic Penguin

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Appologies if anyone's attempted to order a copper puffin in the last couple of days and found the cart had sold out of them. While stocks of the copper version are now quite low, they're not yet sold out - I'd fotgotten to ammend the cart based on the number I removed from the online cart to take to the South Wales event last weekend.

 

They're now back on there as are the nickel version and both South Wales 2009 coins.

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Did you get to go see the Puffins on Skokholm Island?

 

We got to see plenty of puffins on Skomer island on the last saturday in May this year - the absolute best time to see them as the chicks have just hatched and the puffins have nothing else on their minds but getting fish for the litte 'uns!

 

I arrived over 2 1/2 hours early (I was camping on the next hill along from the bay we salied from) and evewn then there were about 30 people standing in front of me! Only a few minutes after I arrived 2 other Geocaching teams arrived - Mollyjak and The Poacher Boys. We clocked off 3 caches during the day - 2 especially "placed" for this trip and an event arranged to celebrate us making it there (or to commiserate if we didn't)

 

sk01.jpg

 

Then, 1 and a half hours prior to the first sailing.

sk01a.jpg

 

By the time the alotted time for the first sailing was due, they whole day's sailing had long since sold out so I felt pleased that a sleepless night in a windswept tent was worth it!

 

The crossing was a little choppy but fine and exciting as we approached the island we could see literally hundreds of puffins and gulliemots swimming and flying in the little bay we were about to dock in. In deed, as we docked, it seemed they'd arranged a welcoming comittee just for us!

 

sk02.jpg

 

Although there were puffins to be seen on the South West coast of the island, had to walk right the way across the island to see the best viewing place for the puffins. At that time of the year, the bluebells were all in flower, and in some places the ground was blue rather than green!

 

sk03.jpg

 

As we were passing right by it, we detoured to the first Geocache of the day - the island's triangulation pillar bench mark. We don't have Benchmarking here in the UK, but a mobile virtual cache known as Ye Ole Survey Monuments (GC45CC) was moved to the island specifically for us (and subsequent visitors) to find.

 

sk04.jpg

 

The bird life on the island is amazing - even common birds would be fearless of human proximity - here a juvenile crow I think...

 

sk05.jpg

 

As we approached the north eastern edge of the island it was clear that this is where all the activity was and where most people were gravitating.

 

sk06.jpg

 

From here, you could look straight down into The Wick, probably the most prominent geographical feature on the island and it truly is spectacular in real life!

 

sk08.jpg

 

There were literally thousands of sea birds on the cliffs and in the air at any one time. This is also the siteof our second Geocache as it is now an Earthcache (actually the entire island is the Earthcache but you have to photograph this location as part of the conditions).

 

This is the nearest to a Geocache allowed on the island because, after discussing it with the wardens, practically any Geocache hiding position on the island is a potential home for a bird of one breed or another! They were very happy with it being an Earthcache though!

 

And here, the ground was litered with little holes which turned out to be the homes of the island's star attraction...

 

sk07.jpg

 

And they are marvelous birds indeed! What's more, you can get within a yard of one of these little creatures and they won't be flustered.

 

sk09.jpg

 

to be continued...

Edited by Eclectic Penguin

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While we were there, they were mostly silent, running around looking like little monks with their arms behind their backs when not flying, but when they do get vocal, be it a squabble with a neighbour or just a call, they sound like they're laughing, with their deep "Mwaww haww haww" calls.

 

sk10.jpg

 

sk11.jpg

 

Of course, I had to try to get the Geocoin photographed with the real thing. I did manage, but the coin came out of focus or the background was out of focus whichever setting I tried on the camera.

 

sk12.jpg

 

sk13.jpg

 

An intimate moment outside the burrow...

 

sk14.jpg

 

This next picture shows how close you can get to the burrows - indeed, there were some burrows in the footpath itself!

 

sk15.jpg

 

As we were climbing back down the steep path to the boat, I snapped this pair of snoozers.

 

sk16.jpg

 

Skokholm island, the one depicted on the coin itself was clearly visible as it is only a few miles south of Skomer. We opted to go to Skomer because they run several trips to Skomer a day and it was far cheaper. Skokholm is far wilder than the popular Skomer and they only run 3 public trips out there a year unless you plan to stay there for a week to study the birds (which can be done).

 

sk17.jpg

 

Once off the island, we had a few hours to wait for the event cache I'd arranged a few miles away in a nearby pub where we were joined by several other caching teams - mostly local and also by one of the UK's earliest Geocachers, John Stead who has been caching since April '01 when there were only a couple of caches in the entire UK - he happened to have booked the same pub months prior to us to celebrate a wedding anniversary so joined us for the event first and his family arrived just as we were leaving.

 

Although staying another night in the tent, the sunset from the campsite that evening made it worthwhile I think.

 

sk18.jpg

Edited by Eclectic Penguin

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I should add that if anyone is still interested in buying a puffin coin, they're almost completely sold out - only a handfull are now left of the nickel coin and copper has completely sold out apart from a single one left that's currently under auction on ebay.

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I missed when you posted the pictures. They are lovely and it looks like you had a fabulous time!

 

Not really - I was really slow in posting them and you replied within 6 hours of them going online :ph34r:

 

And yes - we had an absolutely fantastic day that I'll never forget, especially seeing puffins (and guillemots) for the first time close up . The weather was perfect - the only regret was forgetting to put sunscreen on my ears on the day...

 

I also didn't get a good photo of them with a beak full of sandeels (much to the good natured banter of my fellow cachers, one of which got some fantastic pictures of this).

 

My camera wasn't up to it but watching the puffins plop onto the sea (and even land) was funny. They got close to ground and seemed to just give up flying and plonk themselves down. However, having seen puffins flying too - you can't see the wings, they go so fast! I don't believe puffins believe in soaring... :ph34r:

 

The one photo I wasn't clear on was:

sk17.jpg

That is Skokolm, the one featured on the coin, and not a farewell image from Skomer. Taken from the obverse side of the island of the coin's imegary, the lighthouse can still be seen peeping up to the right sight of the image, all be it if it seems to be a small bump on the photo.

Edited by Eclectic Penguin

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I was just telling Trick or Treat today about how I want a picture of my Puffin coin with a real puffin in the background. I am so jealous of and happy for you at the same time - thank you so much for sharing!

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