Posted by: orcaweb | July 27, 2011

Start of the Summer?

Hi everybody,

It has been an interesting fortnight on the Cap Finistere with some wild weather and great whale and dolphin sightings. I started with a trip to Bilbao which was relatively quiet but I did get a great sighting of a mother Cuvier’s beaked whale and her calf near the Spanish coast. The white head of the mother clearly breached several times before the animals drifted away. Then came the rough seas. I experienced my roughest night at sea which actually wasn’t too bad. The main problems were the lack of sleep due to boxes and shoes flying across the floor and finding that my bathroom cabinet had flung open throwing my stuff into the toilet (luckily my toothbrush survived!).

Map of all pods sighted from Friday the 15th of July to Wednesday the 27th of July. CB – Cuvier’s beaked whale, CD – common dolphin, FW – fin whale, LS – pilot whale SD – striped dolphin, UD – unidentified dolphin and W? – whale blow (probably fin whale).

 Ivo joined me when I arrived back at Portsmouth last Sunday. The seas continued to be less than ideal limiting whale and dolphins sightings and the ship was often surrounded by a thick covering of smoke-grey fog. In fact we saw nothing until Thursday morning when our luck changed we saw a baleen whale; a first for Ivo.

Ivo – “This amazing giant creature came within meters of the ship and we were almost looking straight down on the fin whale. This was an absolutely breath taking scene and in fact the largest living animal that I have ever seen and also the only animal we saw for the whole day.  On the following days we saw the blows of more distant fin whales and we were greeted by dozens of common and striped dolphins swimming along the ship’s white hull.  The weather hasn’t been making our job easy with the fog that was narrowing down visibility to only few meters. During that  week in the few occasions when we got few several hours free from the fog we have been rewarded with large mixed pods of common and striped dolphins dancing off the sides of the ship and the odd pilot whale.”

We are currently heading into the Bay of Biscay bound for Santander and will keep you all posted of any sightings. When we return Ivo will have a return trip to Spain and Nathan will take over for a week before I rejoin him.

Remember to check the twitter and facebook pages for more information and sightings from our teams in the Bay of Biscay and the North Sea.


Mike & Ivo

Whale and Dolphin Officers

Cap Finistere


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