It’s surprising how much damage a minke whale can cause. We were sailing from Newcastle on Thursday night and half way through my deck watch one appeared at the front of the ship. I was ecstatic (no, after 6 months the thrill still hasn’t worn off!) because I’d been secretly doubting I would see one again before leaving for the season. Upon instructing a large crowd of guests to run to the side of the ship, we sprinted to the deck doors. In our excitable state, a passenger forgot to push the button to open them electronically, and instead we smacked our faces off the glass doors causing a temporary pile up of passengers (those running behind me fell on top of me after my unexpected stop). We rearranged our disgruntled bodies – blood was running down my hand from cutting my finger and I helped pick up a little boy who had slipped on the wet deck. That minke had caused a severe whale jam.
Undeterred, we sprinted to the top deck in time to see the minke surface again before it disappeared into the blindingly bright water caused by the sunset. Taking a moment to recover from our whale-related injuries, we ran back downstairs where we watched 20 porpoise appear in half an hour. We also witnessed a great skua and gannet fighting beak-to-beak over a fish (the skua won). I’ve been so pleasantly surprised with how calm the waters have been this week in contrast to last week – what a difference it makes. I’ve been over the moon with the sightings for my last week on board – I’ve had a grand total of 1 minke whale, 3 white beaked dolphins and 90 porpoise sightings!
The ORCA centre has also been busy as usual, with the Wine and Whales evening lectures really proving popular with every seat in the room taken and guests really engaging with the lecture topics – an example of the feedback from comments cards below speaks for itself! I’m so sorry to be leaving – I wish this was a year round position and the cetaceans were here all winter! But who knows, maybe I’ll be around to help ORCA out next summer. I wish Ben the best of luck for his next 2 week shift and in doing the final run of ORCA activities as we come to a close for the season. I am now leaving the ship to have my final hand over with him and update him on this week’s sightings – I hope he has a great two weeks!
All the best,
Examples of recent feedback the ORCA centre has had on board the King Seaways:
Lecture about whales and dolphins was very interesting with an enormous impact. Thanks Sara!
Juke Falter-Bruinen 14/08/13
I spent an interesting evening listening to Sara Frost. It was a great, unexpected way to spend some of the evening on board. I really enjoyed the lecture that Sara Frost gave about the marine environment. She knows what she is talking about.
Mr. Fraser 22/08/13
ORCA lecture by Sara Frost was very informative and educational. Please keep supporting ORCA by allowing them a place on the ship.
Koende Yongh 22/08/13
ORCA – Sara Frost gave an excellent lecture, increasing awareness on this vital area of conservation. Great delivery from a well informed and very confident, competent young academic.
S. Bell 24/08/13