Newcastle to Bergen (Monday 21st – Thursday 24th July 2008)
Another explosive start to a journey but not in the same way as the previous trip. There were no immediate sightings but wow the swell was big! We had a bit of a rocky night and I am not just talking about the disco, but the following morning all was peaceful and quiet again.
Coming back from Bergen I announced a deck watch. I had a crowd of over 20 people join me on deck 10 right at the top of the boat. I started discussing the species we would hopefully see in that particular region: harbour porpoises and white-tailed eagles to name a couple. As I was speaking I had the feeling that it was not me or my trusty bird book people were looking at but something behind me? Then a few fingers were raised to a point and a young girl piped up ‘what’s that?’ As I spun around, can you believe that there, right in front of us, was a juvenile white-tailed eagle. No more words were needed to fire up my newly recruited spotters as they spread themselves around the top deck.
As well as the deck watch I had an activity session where the blubber glove made another appearance. It was a great session as every chair in the room was filled with a child either doing puzzles, learning about food chains, colouring, or in the case of the blubber experiment just getting one hand (and me) wet. A hit every time.
The weather changed again and by the time we reached Stavanger it was not just nice – it was glorious. We did not just have passengers looking for wildlife on deck, the sunbathers were out in force too! Later on that evening conditions were perfect for sightings so there was an air of expectance back on the top deck. Although I didn’t spot anything myself I had three individuals come and explain their sightings of the evening. I was pleased to see a crew member come up to me and report that he had spotted a dolphin.
When Grethe and I first got on board I have to admit that there was slight dubiousness about what we and ORCA were trying to achieve and it is fab that now not only are crew letting us know what they see (and that they have actually started to look out for things) but some of them have even attended my presentations. Another passenger sighting was of a possible minke whale and, extraordinarily enough, the other description was of a very large black and white animal with an extremely large dorsal fin…… surely not and Orca? I can’t wait to get back to Stavanger tomorrow now! Full steam ahead captain!