Posted by: orcaweb | April 30, 2013

Going Dolphin Crazy!

Portsmouth – Santander (24/4/2013)

Today we had perfect conditions. We had a sea state of 2 increasing to 3 approaching Santander, clear skies and beautiful sunshine. I met some lovely people on my voyage today, Nigel in particular. He works for one of the Wildlife trusts in the UK and a very knowledgeable man indeed. We spent the majority of the day up on deck enjoying the sunshine, and we were tense with anticipation of what we would see. Our first encounter was with a whale blow around 1km from the ship. It was a small blow, but we were unable to distinguish which species it was from. This was then followed, nearly an hour later, by a large pod of Common Dolphins ranging between 150-200 individuals. This encounter brought a number of people up on deck to watch these beautiful creatures breaching and swimming towards the ship from all directions.

Only some 20 minutes later, just as we started to pass over the Canyons outside of Santander, Nigel spotted a medium sized whale under the surface of the water right next to and swimming away from the ship. It was brown in colour and looked like it had quite a bulbous head. This allowed us to think it was either a Cuvier’s Beaked Whale, or a Northern Bottlenose Whale.

Unfortunately we didn’t see anything else on our way into Santander. However, from talking to a couple later that evening it seemed as though we were on the wrong side of the ship, because they saw an extremely large whale (sounded like a fin whale) come up to the surface only 600m away!  


Santander – Plymouth (25/4/2013)

Dawn watch unfortunately had to get called off very quickly as thick fog came in and gave us very little chance to see anything past our own hands. However, come 12.30 the fog had cleared sufficiently enough for us to go back out on deck. Two ladies from Cornwall joined me. We were out there for nearly 2hrs before we spotted a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins of around 30 individuals. The dolphins were attracted to the ship and stayed long enough that those on the lower deck were able to see them playing around at the stern of the ship.


Cork – Roscoff (27/4/2013)

So today began very cold although very calm sea. After a 6.15 start we soon had to stop because once again sea fog came in and ruined any chance we had of seeing anything over the continental shelf in the north of the Bay.

This afternoon was a much better story. We left Cork at 4 o’clock this afternoon to bright sunshine, clear skies & a sea state of 1. Once we left the bay (an hour into the journey) we were met by 3 Common Dolphins. Within the next hour we were visited by four more pods. Three of the five groups were attracted to the ship, whilst the other two groups just passed by.


Roscoff – Plymouth (28/4/2013)

After leaving Roscoff at 8.30 we went quickly up on deck to see if we could see anything on our way to Plymouth. This journey takes us over the coastal zone an area ranging between 0-200m in depth. Unfortunately even though we stayed out on deck for three and a half hours we didn’t see anything.             

There were no sightings yesterday afternoon on the way out of Plymouth, but an eagle eyed passenger I spoke to said she saw a couple of dolphins pass her window, a couple hours after we left port, which I suspect were Bottlenose Dolphins.

This morning’s dawn watch resulted in two sightings of Common Dolphins, an hour after one another. However, this was all we saw before we got into Santander. Once leaving Santander, I had a few keen couples come up on deck with me. An hour in we saw a pod of what I believe to be Common Dolphins passing slowly by the ship showing only their dorsal fins. I stayed out on deck for another two hours before making my way indoors. Typically the next sighting I had, once again of Common Dolphins, was whilst I was eating my dinner looking out the window. This made me run back out on deck, but staying up there till 8pm resulted in nothing still. 


So that’s all for this week, stay tuned to hear what we see next week! 


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