Posted by: orcaweb | June 21, 2014

Dolphins, dolphins, dolphins…and a magnificent minke whale!

Well, what a great two weeks it’s been!  Rachel (our wonderful Wildlife Officer trainee) filled you in on last week’s sightings.  But what about this week?

Let’s start with the best sighting that I’ve had (so far!) this year.  On Friday morning, after a few days of rough weather, we were rewarded with a mirror flat, calm sea as we approached Newcastle.  After waiting for over an hour, I suddenly saw something straight ahead.  It was big!  The deck was packed, so I didn’t want to shout “whale!” and it turn out to be a log, so I calmly said “I think I might have just seen a whale….”.  As I fumbled for the camera and got it into position, I mumbled to myself “please come up again, please come up again”…and then a magnificent minke whale surfaced about 70m in front of the boat.  Rachel and I both let out howls of delight!  I then realised that in my excitement, I forgot to press the shutter button on the camera!  The excitement was just too much, and we have both not stop smiling since.

The white beaked dolphins have also put on a show this week – we’ve seen over 80!  They’ve been lunge feeding (with large groups of gannets circling above them and diving, trying to get a free meal), breaching dozens of times in a row, very fast swimming and generally just creating a huge splash (thank you dolphins – it makes it easy to spot you from far away!).  It’s just been fantastic.

 

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Photos: North Sea White Beaked Dolphins (Credit: Michael Deryckeie)

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Photo: Some very far away white beaked dolphins – note the big splash and the large number of gannets above!

Wallsend St Peter’s School have also been on board for an ORCA mini cruise (you too can come on one of these!).  Unfortunately, the weather was quite rough for most of their crossing, but sure enough, two white beaked dolphins saved the day on the return leg by jumping right out of the water about 50m from the ship.

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Fingers crossed for more great sightings for the rest of the summer.

Thanks for reading!

Anna

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