This week I have welcomed Rebecca our 2nd Wildlife Guide Trainee placement. Welcome on-board Rebecca! I hope you enjoy your time with us on the DFSDS King Seaways. Unfortunately the weather was not playing ball when Rebecca first arrived. So to add to the day at the end of last week that we could not survey because of bad weather, it has been 5 full days of not being able to get outside and spot the wonderful animals we are here to see.
Instead of spotting animals we have spent most of our time inside the ORCA Wildlife Centre on deck 9 of the ship inspiring people of all ages during the half term holidays, with a wide array of marine themed games, activities and presentations.
One of our newest things to see in the Wildlife Centre is our lobster pot and ghost fishing gear display which gets people talking as soon as they walk through the door of the centre; children and adults alike! Even in some cases playing a game of trying to free the animals trapped inside (harder than it looks)! It gets people talking and thinking about our marine world.
After 5 days of not getting outside to survey we were very glad on Saturday morning to wake up to calm waters and no fog on the way in to IJmuiden and this fortunately has continued through to today! Our first day back outside, however, did not give us much to look at (even the birds were few and far between) just a couple of gannets and a small flock of guillemots.
On the Sunday however we had a much better day, not only was the water even calmer, but in the morning we were treated to a couple of bottlenose dolphins right at the bow of the ship and 3 small cetaceans (unfortunately such a fleeting glimpse meant we were unable to get a positive identification on these).
These dolphins were spotted by multiple passengers enjoying the outside decks including Arien who spent both the evening and morning out on deck trying to spot her first dolphins! She also pledged her small change to help in the protection of our marine wildlife.
Our final sail in to Newcastle this morning gave us lovely calm waters. And although as Wildlife Officers the only animal sighting we saw was a single grey seal as we arrived at the breakwaters, there had been a few more exciting sightings seen by a particularly early rising passenger who made it outside before my alarm had gone off! He had spotted not only 2 harbour porpoise and a grey seal but also a minke whale about 3km in front of the ship at approximately 6:30 this morning! Even if we didn’t spot it, this makes a wonderful end to a week.
I hope the weather holds off for you this week Rachael & Rebecca.
Have a wonderful week!