Newcastle to Stavanger (10th – 12th August 2008)
When passengers board at the start of a trip they are greeted by some smartly dressed crew members and me. You can imagine my surprise when over the gangway threshold I saw a pair of familiar faces. Indiana Jones boy and his mum had come back for another trip because they had enjoyed their previous one so much and this time they had brought friends. For those that read my blog from 15th – 18th July you will know who I am talking about.
It was a relatively quiet trip but it was lovely to have so many people on deck with me to help me scour the sea surface. With this trip we only sailed to Stavanger and back but it did give us a longer time than usual in port and got me thinking about some other old friends. I used to see a swan family very regularly but hadn’t seen them for a long time. I was talking to another crew member about them and literally half an hour later who should turn up directly below the window? Mum, dad and the three cygnets. It was lovely to see them altogether still.
On the final morning I was joined on deck by a few staunch spotters but it was only gannets and a fulmar that we spotted early on. However at 8:50 am a minke whale popped up right at the starboard bow. By pure luck I was looking at the same spot and saw him rise out of the water and then sink just as rapidly out of sight. The whole thing happened so fast that the whale had disappeared by the time I shouted ‘minke’ and pointed to where he had materialised. Unfortunately nothing but ripples were left for the others to see.
An hour later, in exactly the same position on the starboard bow (had someone sellotaped fish to the side of the boat?!) two bottlenose dolphins appeared. As the bottlenoses splashed around it caught the attention of a couple more people which was great. They did not stick around though and just as quickly as they had appeared they were gone.
This trip will stick in my mind not for the sightings that we had but for the people that were on board. The feedback that we have received from many passengers since June has been more positive than I think we dared imagine. It is very reassuring and rewarding to know that passengers are benefiting from having ORCA onboard and that was shown not only because of the positive comments we get but now because we have passengers coming back for more.