Posted by: orcaweb | August 10, 2011

Fin-tastic

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since our last blog so I thought I’d get everyone up to date with the sightings and news from the Bay of Biscay onboard the Cap Finistere.

Last time I wrote this blog Ivo and myself had a great few days watching Fin Whales including individuals that got very close to the ship. After this trip we both headed down to Santander. On the following morning, Thursday the 28thof July, we had another fantastic day. We had many sighting of pods of dolphins feeding in the distances with tuna leaping clear of the smooth surface waters. The journey out of Santander was also packed full of sightings. Tuna were still jumping around wildly as we left the Spanish coast although the dolphins seemed to have moved away. A couple of hours from Santander we started to see the blows of Fin Whales erupting high out of the water. As we continued north we saw more and more of these blows as well as the wonderful animals beneath. Some appeared on their own and others in small but condensed pods. Trying to keep up to date with the sightings became difficult as Fin Whales seemed to surround the ship throughout the afternoon. We were still sighting the animals, accompanied by by the odd dolphin, as the sun went down. In total we saw at least twenty five of these magnificent giants.

Fin Whale. Photo taken by Richard Bull

I left the ship in Portsmouth the following day, leaving Ivo to continue throughout the weekend. He had a great couple of days seeing more Fin Whales and pods of Common Dolphin.

I returned to the ship earlier this week and I’ve had some excellent sightings. Despite fairly choppy conditions, Common and Striped Dolphins have been spotted diving under the ship and playing in its wake. Today has been wonderful. I left Bilbao early this morning and was greeted by a beaked whale gently swimming behind the ship. Unfortunately this animal was in the distance so identifying the species was not possible. Later in the day I caught a quick glimpse of a grey-brown speckled shark near the calm surface. Sadly I’m not a shark expert but I believe this was either a starry smoothhound or Atlantic sharpnose shark. Many different species of sharks are found in European waters but these two seem to share the markings of the individual that I saw as well as being a similar size. After this several Fin Whales were spotted in the distance. Many interested passengers have informed me that they have seen many of these whales today from various locations of the ship. Now as the sun goes down Common Dolphins keep flirting with the ship playfully jumping along her side. A great sight with the sun setting behind them.

Hope you’re all enjoying the blogs. I’ll make sure to write another soon. Until then please check out ORCA’s website and see how you can spot and help protect whales and dolphins at www.orcaweb.org.uk.

Have fun and keep whale watching.

Mike

Whale and Dolphin Officer

Cap Finistere

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Responses

  1. My family and I were aboard the Cap Finistere from Bilbao to Portsmouth on the 16/08/11. Your talk Mike really made our crossing as we were hooked on seeing how many dolphins/whales we could spot. It was a very calm crossing and we were fortunate to see many dolphins both near and far,plus the sight of the beaked whales in the distance at the start of your talk,perfect timing! Keep up the good work and thankyou!
    The Mathieson family(Alton,Hants)


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