DFDS Seaways kindly welcomed ORCA Wildlife Officers on board the Princess Seaways for the first time this April. Eva and Amy boarded the ship from the North Shields terminal in Newcastle and greeted passengers on board before getting underway with the whale-y fun.
We started with some children’s activities before taking to the outdoor deck. We were joined by a throng of passengers all eager to spot some wildlife, and it wasn’t long before some dolphins made an appearance. Three pods of dolphins were sighted during the evening, along with countless northern gannets and guillemots. One passenger even managed to glimpse a seal not far from the UK coast, a sighting that slipped past both of us! We weren’t able to identify the dolphin species as each sighting was fleeting, but it was still extremely exciting to see fins in the North Sea.
Early the following morning we eagerly resumed our watch, spotting several harbour porpoises before arriving in Amsterdam. Again, the sightings were brief as the animals seemed to be busy foraging below the surface but we were thrilled to see Europe’s smallest cetacean so close to the coast of the Netherlands. Many of the passengers were pleasantly surprised to see marine mammals in the North Sea and we took great joy in helping people see the animals for themselves.
After a sunny day in Amsterdam we hosted our third deck watch, though unfortunately we had no confirmed cetacean sightings. We still had fun scouring the sea with our binoculars, and saw lots of bird life skimming the ocean’s surface, diving in to fish and soaring above the ship. Once we were finished we began some craft activities inside. The children played in the ball pool while the parents happily joined us for a paper craft master class while discussing whales and dolphins.
Early the next morning we stepped out on deck for our final deck watch but alas, saw nothing. The conditions were perfect, and it was fantastic to return to the UK in blazing sunshine. We had an absolute blast on the Princess Seaways and hope that the sightings and activities will continue throughout the rest of the summer!
- Amy & Eva