Posted by: orcaweb | September 8, 2014

Breaching Minkes and Porpoise Superpods!!!

Well, my penultimate week on board has been fantastic!  In total, I’ve seen a whopping 6 minke whales and 302 harbour porpoises – I think that’s a new record!

The weather has been amazing all week, with the sea state never going above a gentle 3 (small white caps).  I can’t really pinpoint a specific highlight for me this week as it’s all be just amazing. 

One morning, when approaching Newcastle, there were suddenly lots of small splashes around the boat.  There were literally porpoises everywhere – it was a porpoise superpod!!  I started to fill out the observation form for every small group, but then realised this was next to impossible.  Pod after pod appearing from the horizon, and confusingly acting like dolphins – breaching, splashing and just looking like they were having so much fun.  Out on deck, pointed hands were facing in every direction as I tried to keep track of how many I had seen.  In total, I saw around 200!!  All in the space of 10 minutes.  I’d never seen anything like it……until a couple of days later the same happened in around about the same spot! This time, 50 individuals were seen.

 IMG_0806 (2) IMG_0826 IMG_0874 IMG_0882 IMG_0906 IMG_0907   IMG_0946

Photo: Porpoises everywhere!! (You should know by now I’m not that great at photographing them!)

I’ve seen a minke whale EVERY SINGLE approach or depart from Newcastle this week (well, apart from one evening when it was so foggy that I couldn’t see past my hand).  Most excitingly, I saw one breaching!!!!  I’ve waited all summer to see it and FINALLY….It was a sea state 3, so quite a lot of small waves crashing around the boat.  I don’t know why, but one splash in particular caught my eye, and as I looked in my binoculars I saw a huge, dark, torpedo shaped ‘thing’ hurling itself into the air and crashing into the water – it was a minke!  It was about 2km away, but with binoculars you could see this clearly and s/he breached 7 times.  I was so excited I could hardly speak….5 minutes later, when I had just got my composure back, another minke surfaced 30m from the boat – I managed a small scream, something that sounded like “WHALE!” and a point, which caught the attention of passengers who saw the huge whale just as it disappeared back into the water and behind the ship.  What a morning!


Bird Highlights have included a sooty shearwater, 6 great skuas and an arctic skua…and hundreds of beautiful gannets!

Fingers crossed the weather stays nice next week, which will sadly be my last week onboard DFDS King Seaways.

Thanks for reading!



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