Well it has been a very exciting week on board the King Seaways with some new and interesting sightings for me. When I got back on board I was really hoping for some good spots, with my last shift having been an almost total wash out due to the constantly choppy seas. I certainly was not to be disappointed, over the first weekend on the passengers and I were treated to sightings of both Harbour Porpoises and some wonderful White Beaked Dolphins. This was my first sighting of these 2.5 – 3m long cold water dolphins so naturally I was pretty excited, particularly as we got to see them jumping fully out of water at a close enough range to get a really good look.
So I was pretty happy with how the shift had kicked off but it would turn out that it had only just got started. On Monday I was joined on board by a group from St Peters primary school, who had come along with my ORCA colleague Alison the as part of a school trip to try and spot some and whales and dolphins and get a feel for what surveying entails. Unfortunately their first evening on board would be spent shrouded in mist making spotting much unlikely. The following morning as we approached the Netherlands, with much improved conditions, they would get their first sighting of a Harbour Porpoise. A cause for much excitement! The return trip however would prove to be incredibly special and by the time they made it back to North shields the group had spotted not only a further 11 harbour porpoises but also 2 mighty Minke Whales. This wasn’t just the highlight for St Peter’s school but for me also and led to lots of excited shouting, squealing (not in the least by Alison and myself) and rushing about the ship trying to get the best sightings possible
With the flat calm conditions staying throughout most of the rest of the week the sighting rate remained high with most deck watches including the arrival of numerous Gannets and 3 – 4 Harbour porpoises. On Saturday I was joined by a second group, this time a wildlife tour from Holland, who had come on board to take a visit over to the Farne Islands and hopefully spot some cetaceans on the way. Unfortunately once again the mist would come in, even denser than before leaving only 10 – 20m visibility around the ship. Not however before the eagle eyed group managed to spot some Harbour Porpoises and a group of 4 – 5 White Beaked Dolphins.
Since then the mist has remained and leaves me only wonder what might be out there? And whether I might see something again tomorrow
so until next time,
ORCA Wildlife Officer