It has been 4 weeks since first arriving onboard the King Seaways, which means I have now come to the end of my placement. This final week has undoubtedly finished on a high. The seas have mainly remained calm through the week, resulting in sightings on almost every deck watch. The conditions also made it easier to point out these amazing animals to passengers that were out on deck with us.
We were greeted at the start of the week with sightings of white-beaked dolphins and harbour porpoises. As the week progressed, I was joined out on deck with a family returning home that was determined to stay out as they did not manage to see anything on their outward journey due to the rough weather. Their commitment was rewarded with the appearance of a common dolphin. The family were overjoyed to learn that they saw a species that is not normally seen from this ship.
As the week drew to a close, an ORCA survey team came onboard to join me on my final crossing to IJmuiden and we all hoped that the calm seas that prevailed throughout the week would remain. That was certainly true for the evening of the departure from Newcastle and I was out on deck as normal. I was joined by 2 German families and about half way into that deck watch, after a 2 month absence, a minke whale surfaced about 300 metres ahead of the ship. That was a truly amazing sight and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to see that. There was also a report the next morning, from a very excited passenger, about possibly seeing a minke whale in the area around sunset. Have these whales returned to the area?
Unfortunately for the survey team, the good weather and calm seas has finally come to an end on the departure from Ijmuiden. They had to finish surveying earlier than planned in the evening out though, on the bright side, they were able to spend some time in the ORCA Centre and was rewarded with a presentation from Kerry.
My last deck watch only lasted about 20 minutes as the weather got the better of us. The rain grew increasingly heavier and the visibility was down to about 1km. Instead Kerry and I went up to the bridge to get the survey team to sign up for the make a small change initiative.
I have had an amazing time onboard the King Seaways and will definitely miss the routines, the wonderful opportunities and most of all the people. Everyone has been immensely welcoming and it was a privilege to be a part of the crew during that intense but short period. Perhaps someday I will have the opportunity to return to the King.