Posted by: orcaweb | September 2, 2013

Minke Whales and lazy Gannets

So this is my last full week onboard after a summer of incredible sightings and fascinating people.

Although the sightings of cetaceans are not as frequent as they were in the peak of summer, this week has still provided me with some firsts.

On Wednesday morning on the way into Newcastle the porpoises were there to greet me and the other passengers.
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After a few porpoise encounters everyone got to see what they had been waiting for…..a Minke Whale! (Which one young passenger took to calling a Winke Whale) This 10m long pike head whale surfaced twice with two long rolls at the calm sea surface.

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The commotion on the observation deck took a while to calm down after passengers who had spotted the whale told their slumbering companions what they had missed.
I got excited as I spotted a few congregations of gannets on the surface, thinking they may be gathering round a seal with a fish.
But I soon realised they were taking a break from the cold North Sea and were resting on floating debris.
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I spotted more gannets hovering around a piece of driftwood which at first glance resembles a dolphin.
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As usual by late morning the observation deck was full with passengers wanting to watch the ship entering the Tyne mouth. And they got more than they expected.
Another Minke Whale!!!
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This is the closest I have ever seen a Minke whale to the coast, you can clearly see the entrance to the Tyne mouth in the background. The ship was only about 10 minutes away from passing the harbour walls.
Another first for me this week was on Friday morning on the way into Newcastle when we passed through a large pod of around 30 porpoises feeding. They were difficult to photograph as they were not showing much of their bodies.
However a mother and a calf appeared close to the bow of the ship.
Porpoise2''C''BenJones

Porpoise''C''BenJones
By the end of the week I had seen over 40 porpoises 2 Minke Whales and 1 Harbour seal (despite the choppy sea surface on most days), which in my book is an awesome week.

Next Friday I will post my final blog.

Thanks for reading.
Ben.

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