Hear Us

Trip 4 (February 2024)

For the first of our new set of visits, we travel with just four people and meet two who travelled earlier to the island, with the party consisting of Alan Dunn, Helen Tookey, Louise K. Wilson, Hannah Dargavel-Leafe, Kristina Nenova and Frankie Mazzotta. We travel from Heysham on this occasion, on the brand new Manxman ferry and take the traditional Bee Gees photo on arrival.

We set sail on Friday 2nd February, days after train strikes and wild storms, but arrive safely. On Saturday, we start with some underwater recordings at the coast in Douglas and catch up with Jacqui Keenan from the Blue Carbon Project and she joins us in lowering hydrophones into the cold water. We are met on the beach by Richard Selman, Ecosystem Policy Manager, who also does some recording and together we all plan future visits and chat about F-POD recordings, seagrass and further collaborations around the Nature Reserves and Manx Wildlife Trust. We pop in to Sounds Records and then head up to Ramsey to record around the harbour wall - Frankie possibly records the sound of a distant dolphin. The next day we head to Niarbyl where the limpets are much more audibale and active and as we move around, we're chatting with locals, hotel staff and taxi drivers about our project and their lives on the island.

Our last day starts down in Castletown before meeting Laura McCoy and Anthea Young at the Manx Museum to plan our May and July visits, talks and workshops. Inbetween all this, we're also down at the beach at 7am recording as the sun comes up and 7pm in a private cove near the Ferry Terminal and capturing the ferocious underwater torrents of noise as the ferries arrive and depart.

Alan Dunn (7 February 2024)

This trip was very productive to consciously collect and record habitats. I was interested to record and consider the range of shipping traffic - and suggested we record the Manxman ferry arrival from different positions in the Harbour - I recorded both with binaural and M/S stereo microphone, very different qualities of audio. How can 'contact-type hydrophone recordings and 'air' recordings be combined? The 'tiny' sounds of rockpools open up enquiry to hearing beyond the surface, the physics of sound heard underwater mean it is impossible to work out directionality, so it is difficult to 'find' the source.

Co-existence in the sea - i was interested to talk to a cold water swimmer (or wild simmer - or even just 'swimmer'!) and she pointed out a seal and the need to take care, especially if seals have pups in water. Interested to talk more with swimmers about their relationship with sea life/ immersion. Recording Helen reading Lowry at the coast - she is reading him reflecting on another place, her voice carried on the wind ... keen to continue these site-scientific readings. It makes Lowry present... and recording in darkness (at the bay near Douglas) - is challenging but the listening comes more intense and focussed.

Louise K. Wilson (14 February 2024)

I’ve been struck by the contrast of trying to record the slightest sound in a rock pool, straining to hear the wriggle of a sea snail or scratch of a limpet, with the almost deafening roar of ships engines. Often, I’ve found the act of listening in the rock pools — having struggled across slippery rocks on a windy, rugged coast — has taught me more about Isle of Man’s relation to the sea than the recordings I came away with. Following our conversation with the Manx Museum, I’d like to find some ship wrecks and record the colonisation of sea life on these silent vessels.

Hannah Dargavel-Leafe (15 February 2024)