Posted by: orcaweb | May 21, 2014

Porpoises Porpoising in the Sunset!!

At the beginning of this week, Julia and I were treated to calm, sunny weather!  One night really sticks out in my mind, and that was last Friday evening (the 16th May).  Although it looked rougher than expected on the way out of Ijmuiden, it soon calmed down to an amazing sea state zero.  We were very eager to spot some marine mammals.   We had seen 2 harbour porpoises on the approach to Ijmuiden that morning, so we knew they were around somewhere. 

Sure enough, after half an hour, we saw our first harbour porpoise.  And then the sightings didn’t stop – we were seeing porpoises every 10 to 20 minutes. Lots of passengers joined us out on deck and were thrilled to see their first cetaceans in the wild. 

As the sea was so calm, as the porpoises surfaced, you could even see the pale grey patch on their side and even catch a glimpse of them swimming underwater – brilliant!  A girl standing next to me was particularly excited and screamed as we saw three porpoises surface five times.  My favourite sighting of the evening was of a mother and calf.  The calf was, of course, much smaller than the mother and mirroring her every move.  As the sun set over the North Sea, we reflected on the evening and were discussing how lucky we were to have the beautiful North Sea as our ‘office’.

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We were also treated to a sighting of a grey seal being mobbed by Greater Black Backed Gulls the next morning.  The gulls were after the seal’s breakfast, but I’m pleased to say that the seal won!

The Herring Gulls on the gangway both at Ijmuiden and Newcastle are sitting on eggs, so expect some fluffy, awkward looking chicks sometime in the next month.  Herring gull eggs take about 26 days to hatch so watch this space!

It’s been great having Julia on board to help run our activities and also to have someone to talk to out on deck when no passengers fancied it.  Thank you, Julia, for all your hard work J

See you in two weeks!

Anna 

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