Posted by: orcaweb | August 27, 2014

Lack of sightings but still having a great time!

Well, I must admit that sightings this week have been few and far between! But, true to form, this morning as we were approaching Newcastle on my last sailing, we had a great view of three porpoises which surfaced on the port side. It was a calf, with two adults on either side. One of the porpoises even jumped clear out of the water, giving us a great view of its pale underside and darker upper side, which is called counter-shading! Cetaceans have this to camouflage them – if they are swimming above a school of fish, then their pale tummies blend in with the sky above. If they are swimming below a school of fish, then their dark backs are the same colour as the sea bed. This makes the fish easy picking – clever, eh?

The lack of sightings this week has been purely down to the weather. The sea has been rough, with lots of white caps. This makes looking for whales and dolphins extremely difficult. There has also been a large swell of about 2m, which makes it even harder! Not ideal conditions at all. However, you can hardly beat the sighting that Sarah and I had last week of two minke whales in one evening, it was just fantastic. We really got to see how big these whales are as one surfaced almost against the boat! The animals are still out there, but we just need a calm sea to see them… Sarah’s spotting skills are top-notch, and she’s even been spotting those pesky porpoises in a sea state 4 – keep it up, Sarah! We counted 22 porpoises this week.

But we haven’t had a lack of things to keep us busy on board, with about 100 participants in our wildlife activities every evening, learning about whales and dolphins of the North Sea with us.

I hope the weather clears up for Sara’s last week onboard in 2014! Can you believe that the summer is nearly over already? It’s certainly gone very quickly for me!

Anna

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