At the end of the last blog I briefly mentioned our new marine litter sculpture was to be unveiled in the ORCA Wildlife Centre on-board the DFDS King Seaways. So please meet ‘Debris’ the Marine Litter Porpoise.
This is a unique piece of art created by an environmental marine artist, writer, teacher and TV presenter Izzy Moreau. Debris the harbour porpoise has been created with marine litter from the North East and IJmuiden coastlines collected by volunteers and wildlife officers as part of the Your Seas education programme.
For the launch, Wildlife Officers Rachael Forster and Kerry Heseltine were joined by Captain Karsten Jeppensen, Max Foster (DFDS UK Passenger Director), Stephen House (DFDS North Seas Campaign Manager), artist Izzy Moreau, and others including some of those who assisted with the many beach cleans during spring 2016.
Max Foster says “We are pleased to have this new installation for the ORCA wildlife centre for this year’s season. The time and effort that has gone in to its creation is testament to how people in the local area value their beaches and the sea.”
On Friday evening as we departed Amsterdam, I was very pleasantly surprised when I got outside to find mirror flat water! Within minutes of stepping outside the first harbour porpoise was spotted. Just after this I was sure I had seen a grey seal, however upon closer inspection of my photos it turned out to be a black backed gull very far in the distance!
We weren’t disappointed for long though, in the space of just under two hours we saw a total of 10 harbour porpoise and three unidentified dolphins! Along with hundreds of black backed gulls who were casually bobbing on the water until our ship came along and sent them all squawking into the air!
Having had no luck on Saturday morning, I popped back outside just before we pulled into Newcastle port and was very happy to see three bottlenose dolphins playing just outside the breakwater! I started snapping away and the passengers out on deck were very happy to see the dolphins, unfortunately I suddenly realised I had left the memory card for the camera in the computer from when I had just been copying yesterday’s photos onto it! To say I was slightly miffed would be an understatement! On the bright side… lots of passengers got to see them!
Thinking I’dhad my run of good luck for the week I was treated to another wonderfully calm day leaving Ijmuiden on Sunday evening and myself and passengers were treated to a sight of three unidentified dolphins, a harbour porpoise and a grey seal who all popped up for a few moments. These were the last of my cetacean sightings this week, on Monday morning however I spotted a teeny tiny looking shorebird. Upon inspection of a passenger’s photo (who had a much better zoom lens than I) it was discovered to be a goldcrest. I was also informed by the same passenger that a peregrine falcon had been flying around the ship! Although I must have missed him!
All in all this week has been a wonderful week with a total of 14 harbour porpoise, 3 bottlenose dolphins, 6 unidentified dolphins and 1 grey seal, many of which were also spotted by excited passengers!
If you would like to make a donation to help fund the fantastic work that ORCA do, or to become a member and train to become a Marine Mammal Surveyor to help us to collect our vital scientific data, then please visit our website for more information!
I am handing over to Rachael for a week, so shall see you all in a week.