Posted by: orcaweb | September 19, 2010

Fin whale migration

The fin whales appear to be moving south a little late this year. Usually the peak is recorded in the Bay during August. This year, however, August saw very few fin whales, and only now are we seeing them in any numbers. In the morning coming in to Santander, we saw four fin whales, between 07:00 and 09:30. These were the only cetaceans seen on the inbound journey. On our return in the afternoon, things really heated up! At 17:30 (right in the middle of the presentation) two fin whales were spotted right off the stern of the ship, in the starboard wake! All 50 passengers at the presentation had clear views of their blow, role and dorsal fin as the whales drifted passed. Upon my return the deck 10 after the presentation, several passengers informed me that they had seen eight fin whales on the port side, and one passenger showed me his photographs of two Cuvier’s beaked whales, that he also took during the presentation. As the afternoon drew into evening a further 13 fin whales were seen at varying distances to the horizon; the closest individual coming about 500 meters to the ship. Typically, my camera decided to jam, just as this individual rose from the depths! The only photo I was able to get was of an individual several miles away sending up a huge blow.

Of common dolphins, there were no sign in the Bay. This morning however, a small pod was spotted following a flock of gannets, as we past Guernsey. This was our first sighting this season of common dolphins in the English Channel.

Richard – Wildlife Officer

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