On my first night back, I actually saw a minke whale’s blow!!! We were just leaving Newcastle, when suddenly a group of about 200 diving gannets caught my eye – a tell-tale sign that cetaceans are around! Did you know that gannets can dive up to 100km an hour from heights of up to 40m? Simply amazing. As soon as I had told all the passengers who were out on deck with us to keep their eyes on that spot (and got their hopes up!), low and behold, a huge minke whale surfaced amongst the gannets. The whale was obviously incredibly hyped up, as when it surfaced, I saw a very small blow, which is quite rare to see! The whale then surfaced another four times, and s/he was obviously feeding, as it was lunging really quickly out of the water. A great sighting and it got me so excited for the two weeks ahead.
But apart from this incredible sighting, it’s been a mixed bag of weather this week, starting off with force 8 storms! Once the storm had died down, we were blessed with calm seas, but frustratingly, thick fog too which hampered our efforts to find all the other minke whales that Sara has been spotting!
The calm weather has been sticking to the Ijmuiden side of the crossing, and we had one fantastic evening where we stayed out on deck until 10pm, and counted over 25 harbour porpoises.
Photo: North Sea sunset – it can’t get much better than this!
Photo: Gannet, aged about 1 1/2 years old!
It’s been hectic on, and off – board this week. Janine and I have been rushing around Newcastle delivering all sorts of events for the local community. We were invited to deliver a training course for the Big Watch Weekend (26th and 27th July – put it in your diary, folks) at the Hancock museum, which went really well. I trained up about 15 volunteers, who will be heading to the cliffs for the Big Watch Weekend to spot (and hopefully, identify) lots of cetaceans.
We also went to West Harton Churches Action Group to deliver some fun activities, including ‘Pin the Tail on the Whale’ and ‘Spot the Difference!’. It was great to inspire so many people about the fantastic wildlife of the North East.
Fingers crossed that the calm weather reaches the Newcastle side of the crossing this week….
Thanks for reading!