Welcome to Stuart Line Cruises’ July Newsletter!

July’s edition will include a round-up of the following highlights from this glorious month as well as details of what to look out for in the next few weeks:

  • Private Charter 
  • #2minutebeachclean
  • The National Trust
  • Upcoming Special Events
Whatever floats your boat!


Captain Jake and his Crew set sail from Exmouth at around 15:00, in order to arrive into Torquay Marina for 17:00. Having decorated the boat according to the Bride and Groom’s wishes on the way down, we were greeted by the caterer, saxophonist and DJ, with whom we had arranged to meet on the pontoon. Having helped them all onto Pride of Exmouth with their gear, we were able to get ready for the imminent arrival of our wedding guests. Despite drizzly weather conditions, the excited party arrived in fine spirits, further elated once aboard, by the prompt provision of a delightful glass of summer Pimm’s and uplifting live Jazz from the Saxophonist.

Departing from Torquay Marina at 18:00, we sailed around Torbay among an abundance of coastal wildlife including Gannets, Seals and Porpoises at Berry Head. The BBQ was served on the upper deck as the guests merrily chatted – some remaining up and others heading downstairs. 

At the end of the feast, the tables and chairs were moved to the sides of the saloon, making way for a spacious dance floor. The prosecco for the toast was handed to the guests at 20:00 and after the speeches and the cutting of the beautiful wedding cake, the DJ hit the decks with ‘Despacito’, accompanied once again by the lilting dulcet tones of the improvising Saxophonist, for the first dance. It was exactly how the Bride and Groom wanted it to be and when they could no longer resist, the guests eagerly joined them on the dance floor, ready to party the night away!  

The local cheese selection, paired with fine ruby port was served at 21:30, by which time some appetites had been sufficiently rebuilt and we returned to harbour for 22:30!

The excitable guests disembarked and once the Bride and Groom had said their farewells, they thanked Jake and his team sincerely, for making their wedding reception “everything we had hoped for and more”. 

Stuart Line Cruises are highly experienced in offering a wide range of private charter packages for anniversaries, birthday parties, corporate events and so on but it has been a real joy and a great privilege for us to have hosted four wonderful wedding receptions aboard Pride of Exmouth throughout July alone.

Our flagship vessel, Pride of Exmouth, continues to exhibit excellent versatility since her major refit in 2017, comfortably accommodating large groups, a wide range of catering options and live music. We are extremely fortunate to be able to land at a number of local marinas, harbours and ports, meaning that we are by no means restricted in terms of location. Her open top deck boasts uninterrupted views over our glorious East and South Devon Coastal surroundings whilst the covered lower saloon ensures complete shelter from the Great British Summer!

Whatever your requirements are afloat – from catering and music to overall event management, Stuart Line Cruises are highly experienced in ensuring the most perfectly unique party.  


We are so proud to call this home. Our glorious golden beach, with not a single piece of plastic or rubbish in sight. 

The 2 minute beach clean is an extremely simple initiative, founded in 2009. It’s easy and everyone can get involved; simply take 2 minutes out of your day to pick up litter at the beach. That’s it! Of course, there’s more to it than just simply picking up someone else’s forgotten fish and chips bag or plastic bottle, it’s about recognising social responsibility and encouraging the people who live beside, visit and love the beach to take responsibility for their patch.

I was absolutely delighted as I walked along the seafront to work one morning this week (I know right, my morning commute is literally a walk along the beach – jealous, aren’t you?!), to see these new bins (one for non-recyclables and one for mixed recyclables) and a litter picker neatly placed at the bottom of the steps. Of course it is important to acknowledge that personal safety must prevail – I would never encourage people to pick up litter with their bare hands but with this nifty litter picker it is safe and easy! 

Unfortunately (or rather fortunately really), as you can see from my photos, there was absolutely no litter anywhere in sight on this particular morning, meaning that I was unable to take part on this occasion but I look forward to doing so in the future!

Here’s to people having great ideas and putting them into practice! And here’s to one of the cleanest beaches I’ve ever seen!  


The National Trust and the Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast is England’s only Natural World Heritage Site and has been voted by UNESCO to be one of the most historically significant in the world, alongside the likes of The Great Barrier Reef, The Grand Canyon and The Great Wall of China – to name but a few! The dramatic coastline spans 95 miles, displaying some 185 million years of the Earth’s history and is considered by geologists and geomorphologists to be one of the most significant teaching and research sites in the entire world.

Aside from the fascinating history, it is absolutely mindbogglingly beautiful, over-run with incredible coastal wildlife AND the oldest end, comprised of 250 million year old Triassic rock, is right on our doorstep! Safe to say, we consider ourselves pretty damn lucky and it is a great privilege for us to be able to showcase this precious coastline to passengers from an entirely unique perspective, on a regular basis throughout the Summer months. 

We have recently enjoyed our biannual Jurassic Coast Cruises from Lyme Regis, organised and run by The National Trust. This is classed as one of our ‘Special Events’ and it is always a treat for us to operate from Lyme Regis as this is not a regular departure point for us. The weather was fine and as usual, the cruises were completely full, with a lengthy waiting list for those who didn’t get round to booking far enough in advance. The National Trust provided an expert commentator, who’s local geological knowledge was second to none and the on-board atmosphere was most enjoyable, with an abundance of hot and cold drinks, Devon Cream Teas and award-winning ‘Purbeck’ ice cream to satisfy the sense – how very apt!   

Upcoming Special Events 
Teignmouth Carnival Cruise – Thursday 1st August

Gather your family and friends to set sail from Exmouth Marina at 6.00pm, sailing along the stunning South Devon coastline, into the River Teign and right into the midst of the carnival festivities of Teignmouth!

Historically, carnivals date back hundreds of years to the Catholic region in Italy. A tradition was created where a wild costume festival would be held just before the first day of Lent when Catholics were to abstain from eating meat.  These festivals were called ‘Carnevale’ meaning ‘to put away the meat’. As time passed, carnivals in Italy became quite famous and began to spread.  As other Europeans countries began to take root in further parts of the world, they took with them their tradition of celebrating carnival!

Devon is no exception to this! Teignmouth Carnival Week is the highlight event of the summer in Teignmouth, a whole week-long celebration that is fun for all the family!

The festival is packed with family friendly events and entertainment across the town, with the highlight being the Carnival procession through the streets.  There are children’s workshops, entertainers, demonstrations, live music, stalls and heaps of family friendly fun all adding to the popularity of one of the Summer highlights in Devon!

As we land in Teignmouth, you will be able to make your way to watch the carnival procession through the town which generally starts at around 7.00pm.  After that there is then plenty of time for you to explore and enjoy the carnival atmosphere that emanates all around!

Once we have had our fill, we then board the boat again to set sail for home.  This is when we are treated to the best view of the fabulous and extravagant firework display from the boat – what a great way to end a spectacular day!

Sailing aboard our Pride of Exmouth, you can choose from seating on our outdoor upper deck which has plenty of fresh air and atmosphere or our indoor heated saloon with huge windows for great viewing!  There is a fully licensed bar on board serving a choice of local ales and gin, alongside a range of hot and cold refreshments and snacks.


Exeter Canal Cruises

Exeter Ship Canal spans 6 miles from Turf Lock right up into the heart of Exeter City Centre and is the oldest working ship canal in Europe, originally commissioned in 1566. 

Our popular Exeter Canal Cruise leaves our home waters of the River Exe at Turf Lock – the start of the Exeter Ship Canal and first pound lock to be built on any British waterway. The vessel meanders through reeds, under the main M5 Motorway bridge and as we glide further along the canal we soon bring traffic to a standstill as one of Exeter’s main roads comes to a halt, with the Countess Wear Swing Bridge ceremoniously opening to allow our passage through.  Designed to allow large vessels to pass, it is rarely used now but is kept busy with the 36,000 vehicles that use the bridge every day!

Depending on your departure point you will either arrive at the seaside town of Exmouth or Exeter’s Historic Quayside.

Exmouth is one of the oldest and most picturesque seaside towns in Devon with two miles of golden sandy beaches  The Marina, seafront and town centre have plenty of cafes and restaurants serving a wide range of delicious local produce, along with shops and entertainment venues.

Exeter Quay is one of the most beautiful parts of the city with its unique architecture and mix of historic and contemporary design. There are plenty of antique shops, boutiques and a range of cafes, restaurants and bars for you to enjoy some great food whilst soaking up the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the Quay. Exeter Cathedral is also easily accessible, which is well worth a visit if you have the time.

Friday 26th July (Exmouth to Exeter) – FULL
Friday 26th July (Exeter to Exmouth) – ALMOST FULL

Monday 23rd September (Exmouth to Exeter) – FULL
Monday 23rd September (Exeter to Exmouth) – FULL

Dates for 2020 are now online, with bookings already being made, so book early in order to avoid disappointment! 

Live Band Nights

Live music in Exmouth reaches a whole new level with our Band Night Boat Trips!

These gigs are perfect for everyone who loves the South West local music scene but wants to mix it up in our totally unique venue! Sailing on our Pride of Exmouth, you can ditch the pub and have the boat all to yourselves – dancing and singing the night away to your favourite local bands!

Loaded with a fully stocked and competitively priced bar, serving a range of local ales, gin and more, we set sail at 7.30pm surrounded by stunning views and beautiful sunsets before returning you ashore for 10.30pm! 

Saturday 27th July – Reckless – FULL
Saturday 10th August – Carnaby Street – FULL
Friday 27th September – Reggaskas – SPACES REMAINING 
Friday 6th December – Reflex 80 – SPACES REMAINING 
Friday 20th December – Filta – ALMOST FULL

We hope that you have enjoyed reading this month’s edition and look forward to seeing you again soon! 

With Best Wishes, 

From the Stuarts 

Welcome to Stuart Line Cruises’ June Newsletter!

June’s newsletter will include a round-up of the following highlights from the month of June as well as details of what to look out for in the next few weeks:

  • Summer Solstice
  • Upcoming Special Events
  • Devon in a Day
Summer Solstice 

Friday 21st June marked the longest day of the year and officially the start of the summer season for us folk living north of the equator and it was truly a beautiful day here in Exmouth from dawn until dusk.
In a moment of possible madness on Thursday evening, I decided to set my alarm for 4am, in order to set out on the Stuart Line tender to catch the sunrise from Pride of Exmouth’s mooring at the mouth of the River Exe – of course, I was hoping for a half-decent photograph on my somewhat amateur mobile phone. Very rarely am I up and about at this time and there was something immensely calming in the air; many people report to feel a strong sense of spirituality at the rising of the sun on the Summer Solstice and although I am not particularly religious or ‘spiritually-minded’, I found the experience to be profoundly peaceful, with only the gentle crashing of the waves on Dawlish Warren and a few early birds singing their morning songs for company.

Along our golden seafront I could see two rowing boats, which I soon recognised to be some keen members of the Exmouth Gig Rowing Club making their way out to sea, no doubt in the hope of the best vantage point. This was reassuring, making me feel slightly less mad – I wasn’t the only one!
As dawn started to break I could see that there was quite a lot of cloud cover but this only added to the beauty of the sky as the sun started to break through over Exmouth. I managed to snap somewhere in the region of 100 photos, many of which were frankly rubbish but a select few I deemed good enough to send in to ITV News West Country, having heard earlier in the week that they were asking for people across the region to send in their photos, depicting what they were up to on this special morning.
I returned back to the Marina at about 6am, by which time several familiar local fishermen were along the quayside getting their gear ready and loaded up for a day at sea – this was of course a very ‘normal’ time for them to have started work but they were quick to crack a joke, over-exaggeratedly tapping their wrists to remind me that Stuart Line are not usually up and about at this time. Tony and his Crew of ‘Becky of Ladram’ enquired ‘what on earth are you doing up at this time?’ – presumably unaware that in my other life I am a registered nurse and very well accustomed to being up and all hours but still, it was comforting to know that they cared!

Once home I switched on the ITV West Country News in eager anticipation to see if my photo made the cut but after about 30 minutes, gave up and went back to bed! I’m sure you can imagine my delight at the 6pm news that evening though, when Ian and Philippa Stuart phoned to tell me that they had seen my photo of Pride of Exmouth, spread across their TV screen!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this little snippet of my morning – it was so special, it would have been selfish to have kept it to myself. Perhaps next year we should offer a Summer Solstice Sunrise Cruise? Food for thought but in the meantime, here’s a very well-known poem from the one and only…
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
(Sonnet 18, by William Shakespeare)


Upcoming Special Events

  • Countess Wear Evening Cruise – Wednesday 3rd July

Spend an idyllic summer’s night relaxing and watching the sunset from the water on our Countess Wear Evening Cruise.
There are only a few times a year when, on the highest of tides, we can sail the full navigable length of the river, past Topsham and right up to Countess Wear, so this really is a special treat.

  • Silver Bullet Band – Friday 5th July

Live music in Exmouth reaches a whole new level with our Band Night Boat Trips! These gigs are perfect for everyone who loves the South West local music scene but wants to mix it up in our totally unique venue! Sailing on our Pride of Exmouth, you can ditch the pub and have the boat all to yourselves – dancing and singing the night away to your favourite local bands!
Silver Bullet is the rock, pop, soul and blues band that takes the music almost as seriously as they take the fun! With hits from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond, their music has incredible energy and amazing harmonies – perfect for everyone to sing along!
Loaded with a fully stocked and competitively priced bar, we set sail at 7:30pm surrounded by stunning views and hopefully a beautiful sunset, before returning you ashore for 10:30pm.

Countess wear Evening Cruise
Silver Bullet Band Night Cruise
 Devon in a Day

Devon is a vast county with a plethora of activities and attractions which continue to draw domestic and international tourists throughout the year. Clearly, this is a major contributing factor towards keeping small businesses like ourselves alive and we hope that this is something which will continue to grow. We are all aware of global warming and the urgent need to act now in order to prevent further damage to our precious planet and environment to a point of disrepair. I strongly believe that increased domestic travel and a reduction in usage of excessive air travel is something to be highly commended – the good news is that so much of our glorious county is so easily accessible by public transport, meaning that there really is no excuse to pile in the car at every opportunity.
It was an honour for us to be selected by the guys at Dawlish Beach Cams to take part in ‘Devon in a Day’, alongside Devon’s Top Attractions and Great Western Railway. This was a great fun day, with Dawlish Beach Cams setting off at the crack of dawn and travelling across the entire county and back, using the vast railway network to demonstrating its versatility. We hopped on the train with World of Country Life for the leg between Exeter St David’s and Exmouth to be interviewed as we travelled on the ‘Avocet Line’ alongside the stunning Exe Estuary. This gave us the opportunity to explain how Stuart Line Cruises promotes and facilitates a more eco-friendly approach to tourism, encouraging people to go car-free with day cruises along the East and South Devon coastlines and by working collaboratively the GWR network, offering Round Robin Cruises to Topsham and one-way Exeter Canal Cruises, promoting use of the train for the return journey.
We are looking forward to being able to see the finished video and will be sure to share it with you.

Welcome to Stuart Line Cruises’ May Newsletter!

May has been a wonderfully exciting month with our first Exeter Canal Cruise of the year, among several other special events and looking ahead, we are hugely excited for the commencement of our weekly day trips to the glorious English Riviera and the upcoming Exmouth Festival. 

May’s newsletter will include a round-up of the following highlights from the month of May as well as details of what to look out for in the next few weeks:

  • Exeter Canal Cruise
  • Torquay and Brixham Day Cruise
  • Upcoming Special Events 
Exeter Canal Cruise

Did you know, Exeter Ship Canal is one of the oldest artificial waterways in the UK and is the oldest working ship canal in Europe? 

Our wonderfully unique one-way cruises meander along the winding canal at a relaxed pace through times gone by, passing locks, a swing bridge, a road bridge and ever-changing luscious green countryside. There are only a small handful of dates to select from throughout the year and what with their rave reviews, it’s no wonder that these charmingly historic cruises are always over-subscribed. 

Our first of 2019 did not disappoint; with Pride of Exmouth at full comfort capacity, we set sail from Exmouth at 11:00 and headed up the River Exe. One of the many reasons for offering limited dates, is owed to the requirement for very specific tide times, allowing us to manoeuvre in and out of the canal at Turf Lock and our passengers certainly appreciated this rationale when Captain Jake told them the reading on the depth sounder! The weather was fine and the on board atmosphere was friendly, relaxed and jolly – traditional Devon Cream Teas were bountiful and we arrived in the heart of Exeter Quay by 13:30. 

The homeward straight was just as quaint and the weather remained in our favour. As always, the Exeter City Council crew were brilliantly cheery and helpful, enabling us to sail through the locks and bridges with ease – thank you very much to them.

Torquay or Brixham Day Trip 

Hurrah! We are so excited to officially kick-start our summer season with the commencement of our weekly day trips to the glorious English Riviera this week! 

This is undoubtedly one of the very best days out in Devon, with the chance to see lots of incredible coastal wildlife including seals, dolphins and peregrine falcons and the guarantee of a great destination as you hop ashore for either 3 hours in the bustling town of Torquay or 2 hours in the traditional fishing port of Brixham.  

This cruise is the most perfect way to explore these iconic South Devon towns without the hassle of driving your car and having to find somewhere to park – not to mention the immeasurable bonus of the stunning coastline along the way and the excellent value for money at only £12.50 for adults and £7.50 for children. 

Inevitably, these cruises are busiest during the summer holidays, so if you’re child-free, then make the most of the opportunity to go before the schools break up!

Find Out More and Book Online
Upcoming Special Events 
Exmouth Festival – 24th – 27th May

Imperial Recreation Ground
24th – 27th May 2019

Arguably one of the biggest FREE festivals in the South West, Exmouth Festival was established over 20 years ago and showcases the local music scene, family activities, shows and workshops of Exmouth. 

It is always wonderful for us to see our beloved town and in particular, the marina and seafront, bustling with families enjoying everything that we have to offer in this vibrant and unique part of the world.

We have a plethora of exciting cruises planned to coincide with this year’s May half term week, including Jurassic Coast Cruises, Round Robin Boat & Train Cruises to Topsham, Traditional Devon Cream Tea Cruises, an informative and educational Geology Day Cruise and a live Band Night on the Exe – so if you’re in the area for any of those, be sure to visit the festival too! 

If you would like to explore more of whats on at the festival, you can click the button below! 

What’s On?

Live Band Night – Eat The Rich – Saturday 25th May

Live music in Exmouth reaches a whole new level with our fantastic Live Band Nights! 

These gigs are perfect for everyone who loves the South West’s vibrant local music scene but wants to mix it up in our totally unique venue! Sailing on our Pride of Exmouth, you can ditch the pub and have the boat all to yourselves – dancing and singing the night away! 

Loaded with a fully stocked and competitively priced bar, we sail at 7.30pm from Exmouth, surrounded by stunning views and beautiful sunsets before returning you ashore for 10.30pm.

Eat the Rich are the South West’s Pirate Rock Band that are almost impossible to describe other than that!  An incredible band with infectious music that’s a crazy mix of covers, traditional tunes and original material that sometimes all happens in the same song – there’s no one else like them!

Tickets are selling fast, so click below to secure your place! 

Book Tickets Here

Fish and Fizz – Friday 7th June 

Carefully planned to coincide with National Fish & Chip Day 2019, we will be celebrating this Great British day in the best possible way – with the UK’s official BEST fish & chips and a delightful cruise, whilst you sip a refreshing glass of prosecco! Of course, we didn’t really need their national award for proof of how great they are (we have tried and tested them more than a few times over the years) but if you are yet to try Krispie’s famous fish & chips or indeed if you’re already a well-established lover, this is sure to be a wonderful cruise, not to be missed. 

Two family-run, multi-award-winning local businesses in collaboration for an unforgettable evening of true British splendor! 

Inevitably, tickets are selling fast but there are a few left, so if you haven’t got yours yet, you can do so by clicking the button below.

Find Out More and Book Online
Welcome to Stuart Line Cruises’ April Newsletter!

This month has seen the the official start of our summer season, with Jurassic Coast Cruises, Round Robin Cruises and some glorious weather to boot! 

April’s newsletter will include a round-up of the following highlights from this past month:

  • Pride of Exmouth Back in Action
  • Jurassic Coast Cruises
  • Bank Holiday Weekend
  • Upcoming Special Events

Pride of Exmouth back in Action!

As many of you will already know from March’s newsletter, our flagship vessel underwent a refit during March/April, during which routine maintenance and improvements were carried out – don’t worry though, nothing as drastic as 2017! She was hauled out of the water at Voyager Boatyard near Plymouth and kept under cover for two weeks, enabling us to repaint, as well as various other planned works. 

She was brought safely back to home waters by Captain Jake and his Crew and upon successful completion of Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) inspection and running trials, really hit the ground running – so to speak – with a very busy Easter Bank Holiday weekend! 


Jurassic Coast Cruises 

With Pride of Exmouth back in the swing of things, we are delighted to be running our famous Jurassic Coast Cruises again. The oldest end of the Jurassic Coast starts here in Exmouth and as England’s only natural World Heritage Site – voted by UNESCO to be the fourth most important in the world (after The Great Barrier Reef, The Grand Canyon and The Great Wall of China) – we feel that it is our great privilege to be able to share this natural wonder with our passengers. 

Some of you may have been aware of a dramatic landslide at Jacob’s Ladder in Sidmouth during the busy Easter weekend; gladly, nobody was hurt but this does present a stark reminder of the volatile and unforgiving nature of this fascinating but ever-changing coastline. It is extremely dangerous to be on the beaches beneath some stretches of the cliffs and having witnessed numerous landslides from the safety of our vessel over the years, we feel a responsibility to remind people to be extremely careful when choosing where to walk or sit. 


Bank Holiday Weekend 

What a weekend!

We were blessed with more glorious weather than we could have dreamed of and suspect this may have had something to do with being rather busy, with Jurassic Coast Cruises, River Exe Cruises, Cream Tea Cruises and Round Robin Cruises – oh and an 80’s Band Night thrown in the mix just to spice things up a bit! 

Although a tad exhausted by Monday night, we had brilliant fun and were reminded once again, of our true love for what we do! 


Upcoming Special Events 

Brixham Pirate Festival

Jump aboard Stuart Line Cruises and it’s anchors away to Brixham to have yourself a swashbuckling time at the 2019 Brixham Pirate Festival!

Setting sail from Exmouth, your adventure begins from the outset as we take on all the travel arrangements for you, so you can arrive ship-shape for both the first and the last day of this incredible celebration of all things pirate!

Come along in your full pirate finery and regalia to revel in the essence of the historic pirate town of Brixham.

Sailing at 10:00, returning approx. 17:00
Tickets £12.50 adults and £7.50 children

Book your tickets before they sell out!


Exeter Canal Cruise

This unique opportunity to cruise along the oldest working shipping canal in Europe, is offered only a handful of times per year. Travelling at a relaxing pace, sit back and soak up the scenery, watch the locks come to life and the swing bridge majestically open, before enjoying Exeter’s Historic Quayside or the traditional seaside town of Exmouth. 

This is a one-way trip where you can either board from Exmouth to travel up to Exeter or depart from Exeter to travel to Exmouth. For your return journey there are ample public transport links within a few minutes flat walk at both Exmouth and Exeter and our Crew will be happy to point the way!

Departs Exmouth at 11:00
Departs Exeter at 14:00

These cruises are always over-subscribed due to limited occurrence, so make sue you book early to avoid disappointment! 

Geology Day Cruise 

Our Geology Day Trip is an incredible all-day geology tour, sailing along one of the most breath-taking sections of the British Coastline.

With a leading Geologist on board, our geology field trips have a full commentary throughout, going into fantastic detail relating to rock formations and ever-changing heritage landscapes as we gently sail past.

Tides and weather will determine the specific route of this cruise, sailing either along England’s only natural World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast or along the stunning South Devon Coastline towards the English Riviera.

These cruises have very limited availability, with only two scheduled for this year – advanced booking is essential.  



A blustery afternoon with sunny periods and occasional showers for the last birdwatching cruise of the season. A Peregrine flew from the estuary past us to land on Exmouth church tower. Kite surfers were again busy offshore and only about 100 Brent Geese stayed put (more or less). A Grey Seal was hauled out on a pontoon near Dawlish Warren and the ‘resident’ Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood, as usual. We passed 2 immature drake Eiders off Starcross, while the third was out on a sandbank nearby. About 30 Red-breasted Mergansers and 20 Great Crested Grebes were scattered up the estuary. Small numbers of Sanderlings were on the fringes of the central sandbanks and also on the mudbanks nearer Topsham. 3 Greenshanks were off Powderham. Pintail were again around the mouth of the Clyst, 150-200 of them. About 500 roosting Golden Plover, some in breeding plumage, were on the mud off Turf, with 27 Knot nearby. Quite a few of the hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits were already in their orange breeding plumage, and one group contained the Ruff that has wintered at Bowling Green Marsh. At least one Bar-tailed Godwit was also in its brick-red summer finery. As we approached Topsham, we eventually saw Avocets, though barely 30 were left of the wintering flock.

Dave Smallshire

The penultimate guided birdwatching cruise today saw highlights from the Brent Geese putting in aerial displays near Turf Lock with at least 400 birds showing well. The pick of the birds today was 20+ Sanderling on sandbars north of Powderham Park area of the Estuary, in the same area produced 60+ Shelduck and near Exton station the Pintail flock was seen at a distance. The 300+ Golden Plover were still in the Turf Lock area and showed well before the weather closed in with the rain becoming heavier. Several hundred Black Tailed Godwits showed well with Bar Tailed Godwits and Dunlin in good numbers. Slavonian Grebe was off Starcross but was at a distance. Great Crested Grebe and Red Breasted Mergansers were showing well with a number of flybys pass the boat in the mid Estuary area. Greenshank and Redshank were seen around the River Kenn outfall. A Grey Seal put in a brief appearance near the Clyst confluence thrilling the visitors on board.  Avocet numbers are now drastically reduced with roughly 30 birds seen off  the Goat Walk area near Topsham and the Clyst confluence it does look like the warm weather two weeks ago triggered a mass exodus from the Exe Estuary back to their breeding grounds further east along our coast and possibly heading back to the Netherlands for the forth coming breeding season.

Derek Carter

A very wet and windy cruise today: not very spring-like at all! Kite surfers were having a great time off Exmouth, but had effectively cleared the area of birds. A Peregrine showed briefly around Exmouth church tower and the ‘resident’ Slavonian Grebe was near the wreck off Cockwood, where we saw the first of at least 30 Red-breasted Mergansers. Great Crested Grebes were present in good numbers, a group of 19 together contributing to a total of at least 26. The 3 immature drake Eiders were out on a sandbank near Starcross today and 4 Goldeneye were seen nearby. Several groups of Sanderlings were on the fringes of the central sandbanks, culminating in 25 together. At least 4 Greenshanks were off Powderham (and another later flew past us at Topsham). Perhaps 200 Pintail were again around the mouth of the Clyst. Brent Geese were grazing in fields near Turf, some of them heading that way from the estuary as we passed by, and a Grey Seal eyed us briefly. The mudbanks around Turf-Topsham held some 300 roosting Golden Plover, lots of feeding Dunlin and small numbers of Knot, Bar-tailed Godwits and Grey Plover. Most of the Black-tailed Godwits must have been feeding in the rain-sodden fields, as only about 100 were on the mud. As we approached Topsham, we got nice views of Avocets, though it seems that many have departed for breeding areas during the fine weather in recent weeks.

Dave Smallshire

Good Numbers of dark bellied Brent Geese today with these birds seen throughout the Estuary and 400+ downstream of Turf Lock. The Slavonian Grebe put in an appearance between Cockwood and Starcross with 10+ Great crested Grebe showing in both Summer and Winter plumage in mid section of the estuary. High point in this area and the River Kenn confluence where 5 Greenshank with good numbers of Redshank showed the comparison between the two. The Golden Plover flock was out on the mudflats opposite Turf Lock with small groups airborne above them. The numbers of overall bird count are reducing now as expected for this time of year with less Avocet numbers seen however small numbers put on a show with flying displays near Topsham along with Black Tailed Godwits, a few Bar Tailed Godwits and 200+ Dunlin showed well. Overall it was a good cruise today with the weather dry and clear visibility.

Derek Carter

Weather was set fair for the afternoon cruise with strong early spring sunshine.  A few birds on Pole Sands with 50+ Dark Bellied Brent Geese on show at the start. Nice views of  a Grey Seal on one of the Mussel vessels off Dawlish Warren. Red Breasted Mergansers put in an appearance throughout the Estuary and the same for Great Crested Grebe. Slovenian Grebe showed off Starcross and Good numbers of Gulls throughout with 1500+ off Exton. 200+ Avocets showed well between Turf Lock and Topsham with flights near the boat. 1000+ Lapwing flighty around this same area with 400+ Black Tailed Godwits. As the sun fell low in the sky the 800+ Golden plover looked more golden than usual and put on a fantastic display across the mudflats. Plenty of Black Tailed Godwits showed well near to Topsham along with a few Teal. The cruise back to Exmouth with the sun setting was enjoyed by all.

Derek Carter

A little chillier today than the mild days of late, mostly cloudy. A Grey Seal was close to Exmouth in the mouth of the estuary and another was hauled out on a pontoon off Dawlish Warren – it barely bothered to look up at us! The 3 immature drake Eiders were further upriver, off Starcross today. 3 Sanderlings were along the central sandbank fringe and we saw 5 Greenshanks, mostly off Powderham. A few Goldeneye (1 drake) were seen distantly in a channel towards Lympstone and about 20 Great Crested Grebes and maybe 30 Red-breasted Mergansers were scattered up the estuary, with over 200 Pintail again around the mouth of the Clyst. Grey Herons could be seen at their nests in the Turkey Oaks behind Starcross Yacht Club, and a Buzzard was flying near the Castle. Hundreds of Canada and then Brent Geese flew up from their grazing fields near Turf. The mudbanks around Turf-Topsham again held large numbers of waders, especially Black-tailed Godwits (1000?), Lapwings (1000?), Golden Plover (500?), Dunlin and Avocets affording us excellent views. Among them were smaller numbers of Bar-tailed Godwits, Knot and Grey Plover. A Sparrowhawk flew across the river at Topsham, where there were dozens of Teal mud in the gloopy mud. Gulls gathering to bathe and then rest on the mud included Lesser Black-backed and many Common Gulls. Perhaps a third Grey Seal spied us briefly off Starcross on the return, and the ‘resident’ Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood, although we couldn’t see it on the way out!

Dave Smallshire