Posted by: orcaweb | July 18, 2008

ORCA / DFDS Seaways Wildlife Officer Beth Hazell gets almost too close to a harbour porpoise on the MS Queen of Scandinavia

Guests onboard the DFDS ferry look out for porpoises
Guests onboard the DFDS ferry look out for porpoises

Hello and welcome to my blog!

 

Newcastle to Bergen (Tuesday 17th  – Friday 20th June).

 

What a start to a trip! As we departed Newcastle we were being escorted up the Tyne by black-backed gulls, herring gulls, terns, and kittiwakes and then, not long past the breakwater, we were joined by three gannets and a fulmar.  The further out we went the more gannets we saw and I remember having a really good feeling about this trip, thinking and to be honest expecting to see some great sights during the next three days.

 

As we got to about 2.5 hours out of Newcastle a fellow passenger noticed a lot of birds congregating in the distance.  I picked up my binoculars and saw gannets. I started to count and when I got to ten I realised that there were far more than I would be able to count in this swirling mass.  As we were watching through our binoculars we started to see the surface of the water bubble and I could actually see fish jumping out of the water.  In my experience diving gannets and leaping fish could mean that dolphins are about so I searched the surface water for anything that could hint to being a cetacean.  It looked to be quite frenzied out there and then I saw one, two, three, four dorsal fins but quite possibly there were more.  To top it all off even though there was a lot of low cloud, at every break we could see an amazing red sky.  What an end to the day.

Another day ends with an incredible Norwegian sunset!

The following morning was quite sedate but when we reached Stavanger we saw what are fast becoming familiar faces; the herons on the little island to port as we approach the harbour; the female eider with her two chicks, and the family of swans (two adults with three cygnets).

 

Later on that evening as I stood on deck with a couple of passengers just by pure chance I happened to look over the side.  In that split moment under the water I saw a mother and calf harbour porpoise swimming under the bow, their flukes rapidly beating and in seconds they were gone.  I realised again that no matter how much time you spend on deck looking systematically for any signs of wildlife, sometimes you just need a whole lot of luck and anyone can be lucky once in a while.

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