Posted by: orcaweb | June 11, 2009

27 May Blog Update: An absolutely stunning day in the Bay of Biscay

Wednesday 27th of May will surely go down as one of this Wildlife Officer’s best days in the Bay of Biscay; it was absolute magic.

The morning started off like any other, I got up reasonably early to do some watching before my morning presentation. It was all quiet until pretty much dot on 9 o’clock when we sighted our first blow on the horizon – distant but most likely a Fin Whale. By the time I had to leave the deck we had seen a total of 5 blows, passengers at the bow had seen a whale close by, a possible minke whale had been seen off the back and a distant group of common dolphins had skipped past.

The sightings continued despite the fact I was down in the main bar with a pod of Striped Dolphins distracting everyone listening patiently to me!

A pod of Common Dolphins leap past

A pod of Common Dolphins leap past

That afternoon the helideck was packed with passengers all hoping to see some whales or dolphins, and they were not disappointed as hundreds of dolphins came leaping past, rippling across the calm sunny ocean and giving everyone more than enough exercise as we crossed from side to side each time the shout went up. But it wasn’t just dolphins, half way through the afternoon someone shouted ‘whale’. We were all stunned when a very young Sperm Whale surfaced close to the boat and then lifted its tail clear of the water as it headed into the depths. It’s not unusual to see Sperm Whales in the Bay of Biscay, it is however unusual to see such a young Sperm Whale in this area with most staying with the females around the Spanish – Portuguese border and the Azores.

Giant of the Deep - A Sperm Whale surfaces alongside the Pont Aven

Giant of the Deep - A Sperm Whale surfaces alongside the Pont Aven

The sightings just kept coming and by the time we were within sight of the Spanish coast we had picked up another two distant Sperm Whales. With just an hour or so of whale watching time left, a large Sperm Whale surfaced close to the boat, poking the end of its head right out of the water as delighted passengers and crew watched from all over the boat. The day ended with a final flourish as a mixed group of Common and Striped Dolphins leapt high out of the ship’s wake.

It had been a stunning day, but for me it was the excited chatter of passengers talking about what they had seen and the grinning faces that really made the day magic!


ORCA Wildlife Officer Pont Aven



  1. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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