Posted by: orcaweb | April 25, 2012

First Fin Whale, and lots more!

Before I begin, I would just like to congratulate and welcome Zak to the team, and onboard! Zak will be the wildlife officer onboard Cap Finistere for the next two weeks as I depart for home after a great three and a half weeks on board!

Trip 7: Portsmouth – Santander & Santander – Portsmouth

Great to see a pod of Common Dolphins ride the wake of the ship for a few minutes before we arrived into Santander, where a few Common Terns were fishing in the Port.

A Black Kite, a slightly duller version of the Red Kite we get back home in the UK, soared over the dunes as we left the port…


A few hours into the bay and things really went crazy, in a good way! My first Fin Whales of the season blew in the distance…


The blow of a Sperm Whale was also spotted, as well as a nice pod of Common Dolphins as well!


Trip 8: Portsmouth – Bilbao & Bilbao – Portsmouth

As the ship pulled out of Portsmouth, the sea was at its calmest yet. Perfect for spotting the UK’s smallest and most common cetacean, the Harbour Porpoise. And would you believe it, two popped up right outside the window at the back of the ship!! Awesome! (I had missed them by the time I had my camera).


By the time the sun had risen the next day, we were well into the bay, where, once again, things got really wild! Another mighty Fin Whale, the second largest animal on the planet!


Followed by some wonderfully charismatic Common Dolphins…


Followed by a spectacular performance from, what looks like, a type of Beaked Whale, as it leapt from the surface, clearing its entire body, before crashing back down into the sea quite far off into the distance three or four times! (The pictures are heavy crops!)




After this excitement, we had a pod of Striped Dolphins pass the ship; the passengers today really did get lucky!

And to satisfy the birders on board, a Whimbrel passed the ship, probably as it migrates from Africa, along our coasts Northwards, to Northern Europe to breed for the summer!


All in all, probably the best day whale watching so far!!

Trip 9: Portsmouth – Roscoff – Bilbao & Bilbao – Portsmouth

Tough sea conditions made the experience difficult as we headed past Brittany and into the Bay. But the dedication paid off, as the largest pod of Common Dolphins so far, probably up to 40 individuals, literally popped up everywhere! I didn’t know where to look! Check out the little calf in the middle here, cute or what!


And another shot of some Common Dolphins, one day I will get a photo to do these guys justice! Awesome animals that can swim at speeds of up to 30mph!


Another good trip at sea, despite some wet and windy conditions!

Trip 10: Portsmouth – Santander & Santander – Portsmouth

Welcome aboard Zak! Unfortunately the weather was not ideal, but we coped well and managed to spot a pod of Common Dolphins.

Plus, there were more Terns in the port of Santander…


And a wonderful Gannet to finish my last trip on board for two weeks!

Good luck Zak, fingers crossed for lots more exciting spots!! See you in two weeks time!



  1. Brilliant Photos,Thank You.Cant wait to go back on board when the weather improves!

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