Posted by: orcaweb | July 13, 2016

When will the whales be back?

Hi everyone!

This is Will the wildlife officer placement for July. I’m now into the second week of my placement and have settled into life on-board DFDS King Seaways. My first week of deck watches proved to be successful with sightings of 13 harbour porpoises, 2 unidentified cetaceans, diving gannets and puffins. Following this I had high hopes for the week to come and was looking forward to spending more time on deck.

The second week started promisingly with sightings of 2 harbour porpoises and 4 white-beaked dolphins (9th July) however as the week continued the cetaceans and most of the birds disappeared. I was hoping this was just a combination of poor conditions and bad luck!

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A pair of harbour porpoises

Luckily things were going better back in the centre where I gave my first presentations about the wildlife of the North Sea and spent time talking to passengers about ORCA and the work we do. Adults and children alike continue to be interested in Deb our marine litter porpoise and several of them made a pledge as part of our ‘make a small change’ campaign to do their bit to help the environment.

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Monday of this week (11th July) also saw the official launch of the DFDS Beano comic. This involved 37 children and Dennis the Menace coming on-board the ship whilst we were docked in Newcastle. Rachael and Kerry took them out for a short deck watch and then onto the ORCA centre where they gave a quick presentation about whales and dolphins.

I’m now coming to the end of my second week and this morning (13th July) I woke up early so we could do a two hour deck watch on our way into Newcastle. After the last few days I wasn’t feeling very hopeful and I completed my hour without seeing anything. Kerry even went to the bridge just to double check if they had seen anything. On the one hand I was relieved to find out they hadn’t seen anything either, at least it wasn’t just me, but we were starting to become a bit concerned, where had everything gone?

Having swapped with Kerry as she took over the watch, I went and made us a cup of tea and then returned back to the deck. I was supposed to be inside starting this blog however my decision to hang around outside was rewarded when a passenger pointed towards a patch of white water off our starboard side. Kerry quickly snapped a few photos and we were able to identify 3 White-beaked Dolphins leaping clear of the water.

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Hopefully this sighting is a good omen for the week to come!

Will

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