Posted by: orcaweb | June 16, 2014

Porpoises, dolphins, and the pilot whales that never came…

These past two weeks as an intern have been amazing. To my extreme delight, I can now successfully tell the difference between a harbour porpoise and a white-beaked dolphin – and I can even identify some seabirds too!


This week’s been brilliant. I have successfully overcome my initially speechless excitement at seeing a porpoise and am now capable of shouting and pointing in the right direction. This weekend we were joined by the Dutch wildlife group, Delta Safari, and the extra pairs of eyes certainly made a difference! Sunday morning was an early start at 5 o’clock in the morning. We’d heard about pilot whales being sighted near Whitby and the opportunity was too good to pass up. After two and a half hours, we’d seen plenty of white-beaked dolphins and porpoises, but sadly, no pilot whales. The early start was definitely worth it though, for the amazing sunrise I got to witness, the wildlife I got to see and last but not least, the incredibly delicious English breakfast I got to eat afterwards! Unfortunately, my awesome breakfast was being consumed at the same time as a minke whale sighting. This sadly appears to be a recurring theme – after a 3-hour deck watch on Thursday morning I missed a pod of white-beaked dolphins surrounding the ship while I was taking a shower. I’m genuinely beginning to consider just giving up on sleep and food for the next two weeks.


White-Beaked Dolphins

White-Beaked Dolphins

Aside from my cursedly bad luck, life on board is wonderful. The crew are really friendly and to be honest, the ship has everything you could possibly need. In the past two weeks I’ve only gotten off once, and that was to go sightseeing. Despite the fact that there’s a certain routine to the way things are run, I never know what my day’s going to be like. The weather could be amazing and we could have loads of sightings, or we could have quite a rough day and not see any animals other than a few brave gannets. Either way, it’s the exhilaration I feel every time I see a porpoise and the matching excitement on the passengers’ faces that make every day here worthwhile.


Herring Gull Chick

Herring Gull Chick

In other news, there are two new additions to the herring gull family on the gangway in Ijmuiden! I think they’re adorable, don’t you?

Don’t forget you can follow all the latest news from ORCA on the website.  You can also support the charity by joining as a member for as little as £3 a month!

Thanks for reading!



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