Posted by: orcaweb | May 21, 2012

Sunfish, Stripes and Sunsets

Trip 20: Portsmouth – Bilbao & Bilbao – Portsmouth

What a fantastic sunset in the English Channel. The sun sank below the horizon, leaving the blue sky broken by streaks of thin cloud stained golden orange, with pale pinks and purples, as this part of the Earth rotated away from the sun, and we sailed into the darkness of the night.


Sea state stayed pretty much around 4 / 5 throughout the day in the Bay, but we still managed to spot two pairs of Beaked Whales (unfortunately no photos!) as well as a pod of around 20 Common Dolphin.


A Grey Wagtail, with its bright yellow underside, joined the ship and stayed with us for around 4 hours before we got into Bilbao, providing some nice background noise with its sweet tinny call.


As we crossed the Channel a Fulmar, a close relative of the Albatross, took off next to the ship. They have large tubular nostrils on their bills, used for excreting excess salt from the saltwater they drink.


Trip 21: Portsmouth – Roscoff – Bilbao & Bilbao – Portsmouth

The majority of the day was spent around the Brittany coast and in the north of the Bay, where plenty of Sunfish were swimming at the surface.


After a day filled with loads of Sunfish sightings, the sun set over the Bay.


The next morning we were in Bilbao. Always a good place to be – it means we get to be spending the majority of the day, in the best part of the Bay. And yes, you’ve guessed it – lots of Dolphins!


And a pod of what I thought to be Common dolphins, turned out, on closer inspection, to be a mix of Common AND Striped Dolphins. Awesome.



Another successful day in the Bay, despite some high winds and a fair swell making it a little bit more difficult. Got to love a good bit of sea spray in the face!



Trip 22: Portsmouth – Santander & Santander – Portsmouth

Sea conditions remained pretty tough for whale watching throughout the Bay, but for those that braved the high winds, their efforts certainly paid off! Lots of Dolphins on this trip, from small pods of four…


To much larger pods, probably in their 20’s ! Here are six of another pod, note the juvenile at the back!



The Dolphins never cease to amaze me, great to see, especially as reliably as we have been! Superb stuff in the past two weeks, fingers crossed for Zak as he takes over for the next two weeks – hopefully he will get some more cracking sightings, bringing you the latest and greatest from the Bay of Biscay!

Until next time,




  1. Enjoyed reading about your trip, Great Photos.Thank You Tom
    From Karen

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