Posted by: orcaweb | July 18, 2008

ORCA / DFDS Seaways Wildlife Officer Grethe Hillersøy hits the jackpot – porpoises, dolphins and whales!!!

Hello and welcome to my blog!

 

Newcastle to Bergen (Monday 7th – Thursday 10th July 2008)

 

 

  To the right you can all admire the work of a very talented young artist from Norway, Ciag, who was really

Ciag, a very talented young artist from Norway, draws a cetacean!

Ciag, a very talented young artist from Norway, draws a cetacean!

interested in the wildlife. She has made a drawing of a cetacean species that occurs in the Atlantic, so I figured we could find out who is truly the best at identifying cetaceans! Does anyone know what species it is? Above it you can see the Queen of Scandinavia!

 

 

 

  On this journey I had 95 people all up coming to the talks that I had, so that was great! It was beautiful weather and lots of people outside on deck, and about 15 people spent most of their journey patiently out on deck with me while waiting to spot something exciting. Shortly after departure from Bergen a few of them actually saw a white-tailed sea eagle soaring over the boat, and they were very impressed. They then spotted a mother and calf porpoise. So that was a great start to the journey back to Newcastle.

 

  After departure from Stavanger I had another presentation, and when I came out on deck afterwards a fantastic view met me. There were thousands of fulmars flying all around and following the wake of the boat! It was beautiful weather and some of the fulmars were flying alongside the boat just 2 metres away from us and we could have a good look at the birds. We then spotted a big group of gannets diving into the water in the distance, and underneath we could discern the dorsal fins of porpoises or dolphins feeding from underneath! A few minutes later we spotted another group of dolphins or porpoises heading in the same direction as the others. A few minutes passed before we had our first sighting of a minke whale in the distance behind the boat! A while later we had our second sighting of a minke whale, also behind the boat. All this happened within one single hour and there were quite a few people outside to see it. None of the sightings were very close to the boat, but just seeing splashes and fins and birds everywhere was enough to make us all very happy!

A Minke Whale was one of many wildlife highlights for passengers onboard the 7-10 July DFDS cuise between Newcastle and Bergen

A Minke Whale was one of many wildlife highlights for passengers onboard the 7-10 July DFDS cuise between Newcastle and Bergen

  The next morning we got up to find that the weather was quite rough with big waves and lots of white caps. But I met up with the very enthusiastic guests outside, and we enjoyed watching beautiful diving gannets and fulmars. We could also hear the guillemots with their chicks calling to each other when they were on the water quite close to the boat! The weather calmed down once we got closer to the coast outside Newcastle, and we could see a trawler approaching. On one side of the boat there were lots of gannets diving into the water at an incredible speed, whereas on the other side there were white-beaked (probably) dolphins breaching out of the water. We could see the splashes very well, although only a few of us could see the actual dolphins through our binoculars! This was a great last trip to my two weeks on the boat! And one of the guests got so excited about the birds that we spotted that he was going to buy himself a bird book after this trip!

 

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