Posted by: orcaweb | August 20, 2010

When you least expect it.

So, I have just come back from my first trip in the Bay for a fortnight. From my last few crossings and what Lisle advised me before I left, I was expecting activity in the morning crossing of the Bay and not much in the afternoon. Well, the morning going in to Santander yielded 3 distant views of common dolphin and nothing else. With a slightly worried mind, I descended to my cabin to think about where the fabled peak in cetaceans had gone.

On our return journey, things looked much better. At 16:00 with Santander still in sight, we had two cuvier’s beaked whale about 800 metres off the starboard – just close enough for everyone to get a view of them. At 16:30, I descended to prepare for the afternoon presentation with a happier heart. At the start of the presentation, I did the usual ‘look out for cetaceans whilst I talk’ remark so that we had the chance of seeing anything that went behind us. Whilst I was describing the amazing fin whale, one of the passengers said ‘I can see something out near the horizon.’ After a bit of a search with the binoculars, I picked up a huge blow about 15 miles behind us (large rorqual, yes – possible fin whale). The blow was big enough for most of the people at the presentation to spot it, even at such a distance. We had 3 pods of common dolphin that afternoon and in the evening at 19:30 a wonderful sighting of about 50 pilot whales only 100 meters from the boat. The final unexpected sight was a basking shark about 500 meters from the boat at 09:00 yesterday, in the middle of the English Channel.

Richard – Wildlife Officer

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