Posted by: orcaweb | September 12, 2011

Stormy seas and minke whales.

After a fantastic start to my two weeks on board, we had a few days of quite stormy weather, with high winds and quite a lot of swell! So for a few days I was stuck inside and didn’t see much in the way of wildlife. However it has calmed down a bit since, and I was lucky enough to spot a minke whale as it surfaced on the morning of the 10th September. This was just over an hour outside of Tynemouth. The minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) is the smallest of the rorqual whales, reaching about 9-10m in length, and is the only large whale species that is commonly spotted in the North Sea. They can be quite difficult to spot, as their blow is quite small, and can only be seen in very calm conditions. Although they are usually solitary animals, they sometimes travel in pairs, and large groups of them can be seen in areas where there is an abundance of food. In the Northern Hemisphere, minkes feed on small schooling fish (such as capelin, herring, pollack and cod) and also on krill. Unfortunately, having forgotten to pack my camera, I was unable to attempt to photograph this particular whale. However I did get some nice snaps of the varying weather we have had recently using my phone camera!

This is now my last few days on the King Seaways, as I hand over to Richard on Wednesday. Apparently we are expecting some stormy weather, but I am still hoping for a bit of calm sea and some good sightings before I leave.

Happy wildlife spotting!

Isabelle

ORCA Wildlife Officer

DFDS King Seaways

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