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Weather: Seals and dolphins off the east coast

After the high emotions of England's World Cup exit, a little reminder of the joy and beauty in our part of the world.

Thanks to Curtis Padley for emailing the Filey seal pictures to

And a big thanks also for @thefarnes for tweeting the dolphin video to @Ross_Hutchinson

  1. Ross Hutchinson

Seal pups released back into the wild

The north east has some of the most impressive seal colonies in the country, but this year, thanks to stormy weather, many have found themselves in trouble.

Ross has been following the progress of two who were lucky enough to be found and rescued.

You know spring is here when...

.. the puffins return to the Farne Islands.

The popular characters have started to arrive on Inner Farne for their breeding season.

But they weren't the only exciting guests off the east coast today:


Diver dies off the coast of Northumberland

The Farne Islands (library picture) Credit: PA (library image)

A diver has died after being reported missing off the coast of Northumberland.

Just before 2pm on Sunday police were told of a missing diver near the Farne Islands.

Emergency services began searching for the diver when she disappeared after surfacing alone without her diving partner just after 11am.

The Coastguard helicopter, life boats from Seahouses and coast guard rescue teams helped with the search.

At around 2.30pm the diver was found and later pronounced dead at the scene.

A spokesperson for the Coastguard said the diver was unresponsive to the CPR treatment.

They said:

We believe we last saw her just after 11 this morning and she went back down again.

That was the spark that caused the search.

She lost her dive buddy.

– Coastguard spokesperson

A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said:

A woman who was diving just off the coast of the Farne Islands went missing at approximately 11.00am this morning.

The Coastguard launched a search of the area and at 2.30pm the diver was located, she received medical attention at the scene but unfortunately passed away a short time later.

– Northumbria Police spokesperson

Scuba diver gets up close and personal with Farne Islands seal

The winning photograph, taken off the coast of the Farne Islands Credit: Craig Ward

A scuba diver from has won national recognition for his photography after coming up close and personal with a grey seal.

The image of the seal, taken off the coast of Northumberland, was highly commended in the British Sub-Aqua Club’s (BSAC) nationwide Great British Diving photo competition.

The photo was taken by Craig Ward while on a diving trip in the Farne Islands, off the coast of Northumberland:

We had surfaced and we were waiting for the boat which you can see in the photo to come and pick us up.

About eight seals started circling us and I started taking some photos. One swam right up a lobster line and started chewing on the camera lens. It was a fantastic moment.

– Craig Ward

North East divers win award for Northumberland wreck work

Nicola Faulks and her partner Simon Smith, of Tyneside SAC.

Two scuba divers have won a top award after getting closer to solving a 300-year-old maritime mystery, hidden under the sea off the North East coast.

Modern day technology, like 3D imaging, is being used by the British Sub Aqua Club, which has spent decades researching an area known as the 'Gun Rocks Cannon Site' close to the Farne Islands.

Their work has lead to the discovery of what's thought to be an 18th century Dutch vessel. The Gateshead based club has won the coveted British Sub-Aqua Club’s (BSAC) 2015 Wreck Award for their work.

The name of the ship remains a mystery, and so does her story.

Robson Green when he dived with Tyneside SAC at the Gun Rocks project

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time diving at the Gun Rocks Cannon Site with members of Tyneside Sub Aqua Club. I am sure they thoroughly deserve their success having won BSAC’s 2015 Wreck Award.

I’m certain their hard work will continue as they try to solve more of the mysteries of the Gun Rocks wreck.

I wish club members well and hope to have the opportunity to dive with them again at some point in the future as they continue their mission to get to the bottom of this centuries old mystery.”

– Robson Green, who dived the site with Tyneside SAC members while making an episode of his successful TV series Tales from Northumberland
Underwater images and video showing dives on the Gun Rocks project Credit: Supplied by Wessex Archaeology which took the photos on behalf of Historic England (Crown Copyright)

“We simply do not know what the name of the ship was.

And there is nothing left of the vessel which would have been made of wood. Being in relatively shallow water it will have been pounded by the sea over many years and basically disintegrated.

We believe it was a Dutch vessel that was carrying cannons back to Holland for recycling. It would seem likely it was blown off course and floundered on Gun Rocks. There are six cannons at one site, thirteen at another.

There were Swedish and Dutch cannons on board.

The exciting development now, is that at a heritage ordnance conference in September 2015 a cannon expert, on seeing some of the 3D photogrammetry models, tentatively voiced opinion that some of the cannons may be of English origin, which wouldn’t quite tie in with our current theories.

So we are already planning new dives this year and will continue working hard to discover all we can about this important wreck site.”

– Tyneside SAC Club Diving Officer, Nic Faulks

Pictures: First seal pup of the year born on Farne Islands

The first seal pup of the year has been born on the Farne Islands off the Northumberland Coast, marking the start of this year’s annual seal count by the Islands’ resident rangers.

The seals only leave the colony when they've moulted their white fur Credit: National Trust
  • Every year over 1,500 pups are born on the islands
  • They have an estimated population of 5,000 seals
  • Rangers spend three months each autumn counting the seals
  • Breedings starts in mid-September and most pups are born in October and November
Mother and child catch the autumn sun Credit: National Trust

A typical day for the rangers involves landing on the seal colonies to monitor the birth of the pups. Once born, they’re sprayed with a harmless dye to indicate the week they are born, which allows the Rangers to keep an accurate count. The job is not as easy as it sounds, as protective mother seals can become aggressive when the rangers get too close.

Credit: National Trust

The public can visit the island - and its seals - by making a short boat trip from Seahouses.

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