Posted by: orcaweb | June 1, 2009

My last voyage

Its the 29th May 2009 and I have embarked on my last voyage on the Dana Sirena for the present time. I did an early morning deck-watch again (6.30am). The sea conditions were perfect and it didn’t take me long to see my 1st Harbour Porpoise. I also saw a Fulmar. Other interesting items I spotted were balloons and a TV set floating in the sea! As a wildlife officer I look out for these things as all WO officers cover the issue of the ever increasing problem of marine litter during our on-board presentations. Helium filled balloons which have been released from private or public functions or events may rise to high altitudes and then they are carried by wind and air currents and may end up ditching in the sea. These latex or foil balloons may end up being ingested by cetaceans, turtles or sea-birds who mistake them for food. Effectively these items block their digestive systems preventing them from feeding and ultimately they starve. If you want more information on this issue visit the following link:-

Its the 30th May and I’m out on deck again early morning this time I see 2 Harbour Porpoise, a Tern, a Gannet and a few kittiwakes. Later that morning my group of wildlife mini-cruisers visited the bridge of the ship. This always proves popular with our guests. We kept a close lookout for cetaceans and sure enough some of them had a quick glimpse of what was almost certainly a Harbour Porpoise which surfaced just ahead of the bow (front) of the ship.

Later that day on arrival in Esbjerg Denmark I took 4 DFDS Seaways/ORCA mini-cruisers over to the island of Fano and we had a short circular walk. We saw (and heard) a few singing skylarks which was very pleasant. Skylarks have gone down in numbers in Britain in recent years. Whenever I hear the song of a Skylark I think of that beautiful poem by Percy Shelley:-

” Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!

Bird thou never wert,

That from heaven or near it

Pourest thy full heart

In profuse strains of unpremeditated art”

We all enjoyed the song of the Skylark on that day! We also saw 2 Common Redshank perched on fence posts, something which they often do. We also heard a Chiffchaff and and the “Little bit of bread and no cheese” song of the cock Yellowhammer. We saw Small Copper and a few Painted Lady butterflies. Masses of these migrant Painted Lady butterflies have been seen in Britain (and presumably Europe) recently. They started their journey in North Africa. For more details on this extraordinary influx of butterflies visit the website  of the British based organisation ‘Butterfly Conservation’.

31st May.

I bid farewell to our guest wildlife mini-cruisers. Reflecting on my experiences on board the Dana Sirena as a wildlife officer I have found it both rewarding and challenging. Its been a joy to meet so many fantastic people from all over Europe. ORCA’s (Organisation Cetacea) partnership with DFDS Seaways is proving an immense success and has proved very popular with all on board ship. Together we can inspire and enthuse people about whales and dolphins and the marine eco-system in order to ensure its continuing bio-diversity well into the future.

Do come and join us on a wildlife mini-cruise across the North Sea. Who knows I may be your wildlife officer!

Elfyn Pugh

WO on the Dana Sirena


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