Tag Archive for: Cecienne

Pilot Whales Cornwall

Pilot Whales – a surprise encounter

On a flat calm day this summer we encountered something very unexpected and amazing. Just ten miles south of Salcombe we encountered a pod of Pilot Whales.

Here’s a little edit. Take a look!


A perfect day…

The conditions were absolutely perfect. Glassy sea and no other boats in sight, just us. It was surreal.

 It was a huge pod. Wherever we looked there were fins and whales breaking surface. It’s hard to know why they were here. Their principal diet is squid, although they also eat cuttlefish, herring and other small fish when squid is unavailable. Maybe they had chanced on a shoal of herring, which are becoming increasingly common again off our south west coast.


 It was so unexpected, we weren’t ready for it, didn’t have filming equipment set up or anything. However the whales didn’t seem in a hurry to leave us. We got the equipment set up in record time, filming from the boat and the air with the Inspire drone. You can’t miss an opportunity like this.

pilot whales fins

We spent about half an hour with them, trying to make the most of the moment and since we were not in a rush to get back anyway. The whales also had their young with them. Overall, It was a magical encounter which we would be incredibly lucky to ever experience again!

a pod of pilot whales

And then another surprise encounter…

After finally leaving the whales and continuing on towards Falmouth, something caught my eye disturbing the flat calm sea. Surely it couldn’t be…? Throttling back on Cecienne we were just in time to watch a huge leatherback turtle slowly submerging. You can occasionally see leatherbacks in the Irish Sea in the summer, feeding on jellyfish that swarm there each year. The water around us was full of jellyfish, so obviously this one had made a slight detour up Channel as it grazed on the swarm.

What a day!

One of our niche skills is marine filming – filming at sea whether drone filming, boat to boat, or even underwater filming. Working with Princess Motor Yachts gives us a great opportunity to showcase these skills.

Princess Motor Yachts  are one of the UK’s foremost builders of luxury motor yachts. The statistics are impressive. According to Wikipedia, “Princess Yachts operates in 119 countries and employs over 2,600 people worldwide. Whilst their shipyards cover a combined area of over 1.1 million square feet.”

2018 French Rendezvous

Based in Plymouth, they have been a client we have been keen to work with. Particularly as I own a Princess boat – Cecienne – albeit the very smallest of their range. Over several years Fionn Crow and I have taken her from Africa to the Antarctic, and on those voyages have developed a considerable expertise in marine filming – an expertise that I am happy to say Princess have recognised.

Each year they arrange a cross-Channel adventure for Princess owners. Last year was from the Solent to Guernsey, an event that we filmed for them. So I was delighted when we were invited to film this year’s event – from The Solent to Cherbourg and then on to …

With my crew of Elliott Harrison and Reef Slack, we headed up to the Solent River, where we had an overnight mooring arranged for us. We arrived in good time for the skippers’ briefing by Jon Mendez, who had led last year’s Guernsey trip. Then an early night ready for an early morning departure.

The crossing

To get our drone footage, we ran ahead of the rest of the flotilla. Conditions were perfect for drone filming.Jon organised the boats into an arrowhead formation passin

Paddle Against Plastic Pollution

Paddleboarding from Cornwall to Isles of  Scilly for Surfers Against Sewage.

We will be support boat and film crew for this 32 mile Paddle Against Plastic Pollution.

The Ocean needs our help, so let’s try and turn the tide on Plastic Pollution.

Paddle Against Plastic Pollution

Paddle Against Plastic Pollution

A team of ten well known local surfers will be facing up to the challenge, being Mike Lacey, Sam Boex, Will Boex, Ben Skinner, Adam Griffiths, Emily Currie, Jayce Robinson, Alan Stokes, Rich Lacey, and Kelvin Batt.

All share the same passion for the beaches and ocean and have an inner drive to stop the plastic pollution that is plaguing them.

The Challenge

Isles of Scilly

The team are coming together to tackle this mammoth journey on paddle boards which O’Shea have kindly sponsored for the task. Nice one O’Shea! The aim is to raise £5000 for Surfers Against Sewage so they may continue their fantastic work campaigning to keep our oceans and beaches clean.

Weather permitting the crossing will take place around 18 – 20th September. The team will certainly need both tides and wind on their side…

The route – leaving Porthcurno at dawn the team will initially hug the Cornish coast. Then it’s out into the open ocean, heading for the Runnelstone Buoy to avoid the strong currents and tide race along that stretch of sea. By the time the first smudge of Scilly’s eastern Islands appears on the horizon there will be some extremely tired paddlers!

The Problem

Plastic Pollution

Here are some crazy facts and figures to get your heads around why we need to act and act fast!

100 million marine animals die every year due to our plastic contamination of the oceans

Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. That’s more than one million bags every minute.

50% of the plastic that we use, we use only once, and then throw away

Nothing that we use for just two minutes should pollute the ocean for 500 YEARS!

Just Giving

Mike has a Just Giving Page

There’s also a video you should watch that has been made for this project. Click here for video

Our part in the project will be the easy one. We’ll be using our Princess 39 Cecienne – recently returned from a voyage to St. Petersburg in Russia, – as support and safety boat for the team and as a platform to gather footage including drone footage of the trip.

Come on folks, it’s a great cause and a vital issue. Please go to Mike’s Just Giving page and make a generous pledge!

Do something positive about plastic pollution…


Click here for a short video of us swimming with Mike Lacey a few years ago watching him work

This is Secret Devon,

When MotorBoats and Yachting editor Hugo suggested I follow up my Secret Cornwall features with a similar project in Devon,  I wasn’t convinced I could find a sufficient number of hidden backwaters. 

Outside of the Solent, Devon has the largest quantity of boating centres on the south coast.

Plymouth, Salcombe, Dartmouth, Brixham, Torquay… Probably well over 10,000 boats are based along the county’s coastline. How in the height of summer was I going to find quiet locations where other boat owners didn’t venture?

Anyway, I regularly visit Devon and think that I know it pretty well. A quiet evening pint of Palmers on the terrace of Salcombe’s Ferry Inn before pizza at Captain Flint’s is one of my favourite weekend getaways, and over the years I’ve spent time in every harbour along the coast. I blithely assumed there would be no surprises. How wrong I was.

This is part one of a two-part series, accompanied by a seven-page article in this months edition of the magazine. Go check that out here:  be ready for the second.



For the post-production side of things, we kept it very basic, and just wanted the shots to do the talking for us. The only more advanced thing we did was the animated map. We created this using After Effects, with some simple animation tools and effects, just to demonstrate the precise locations that we were talking about.  This map will feature in all episodes.

Overall a great and unexpected journey and hope you guys enjoy this, and all of the upcoming Secret Devon films which will be released on the MS Amlin YouTube channel over the next couple of weeks.

Thanks for reading,

Norway: Part 3 MBY

Continue our journey to the Arctic Circle. Norway Part 3 is now available to watch. The next installment in the video series for Motor Boat and Yachting Magazine about our Norway trip last year…


Princess V39 Norway part 2 MBY

Norway Part 2 is available to watch now. A new video series for Motor Boat and Yachting Magazine about our Norway trip last year…

Norway Motor Boat & Yachting Magazine

Here’s the first of 4 videos accompanying articles in Motor Boat and Yachting Magazine about our Norway boat trip last year to the Arctic Circle.

Princess Motor Yatchs Princess V39

A short edit we did for Princess Motor Yachts showing some of Cecienne’s adventures from Africa to the Arctic Circle. Featuring the Princess V39.


MS Amlin Logo Treasure Islands

Here’s the second part of our short film – ‘Britain’s own Treasure Islands’. Taken for Haven Knox Johnston about boating in the Scillies, filmed last summer.