Posted by: orcaweb | May 9, 2013

Pilot Whales, Bottlenose Dolphins and sneaky Beakies!

Bilbao- Portsmouth 02/05/2013

Today the day started early with me on deck 10 at 6 am to look out for whales and dolphins. Despite there being very few sightings last week, I was hopeful to see something knowing that I was in a good area for whale watching over pelagic waters and then and later over two large and deep canyons of about 2000 metres deep, near the northern continental shelf of Spain. The morning did not disappoint one bit, I could see again the elegant presence of Common Dolphins in the Bay of Biscay. Throughout the morning I could see some small groups of these agile cetaceans. On one occasion I sighted a female and her little baby that was inseparable traveling beside its mother. In total there were about 35 individuals. Also I saw two small Sunfish! During the afternoon the state of the sea was better (2 instead of 3, during the morning) A few minutes after arriving I saw a cetacean very close to the ship. Despite it being very fast and was only visible for a few seconds, I could see it was grayish and its body was robust and heavy. I couldn’t identify the animal but I think that it could be one species of beaked whales.  I was glad to see Common Dolphins again, a group of about 15 individuals that were riding on the ocean. During the rest of the afternoon I could see more Common Dolphins, very close to the ship!

Common Dolphins

Portsmouth- Santander 04/05/2013

At 6 am I was on deck for whale watching. For the first sighting I had to wait a few hours, but finally at about 9 am I saw a group of Pilot Whales that passed quietly not far from the ship. It was a group of about 10 or 12 individuals. The sea state was perfect for whale  watching, it was completely flat, and the water  was a vivid turquoise. The day was sunny and beautiful. The following sightings were some Bottlenose Dolphins, a group of about 7 individuals close to the ship. Later I saw Common Dolphins and soon afterwards another group of Bottlenose Dolphins! We could also see some Sunfish and different species of seabirds! The morning was the most entertaining, and I enjoyed talking with the passengers about my sightings, conservation and hearing their stories about encounters with whales and dolphins! During the evening before we arrived in Santander, I could see again a group of Bottlenose Dolphins that I think were around a school of fish. Also some passengers that I met in the morning told to me they saw a Fin Whale from the back of the ship but unfortunately I missed it! Maybe next time I will be luckier, but anyway I’m very happy for the passengers who could see that beautiful whale!

Portsmouth-Bilbao 06/05/2013

I started watching at 2 pm, by which point we were in northern France near the island of Ouessant. I could see many birds, including Guillemots, Cormorants, Gannets, various species of gulls … During the afternoon; I could see some pods of Common Dolphins that were coming towards the ship. By late afternoon, I also observed two sharks very close to the surface!

Bilbao-Portsmouth 07/05/2013

Today my whale watching started around 12:00 am. Shortly after arriving on deck I saw a group of 20-25 Common Dolphins riding the waves and coming towards the ship. The evening couldn’t have started better!  Later, with other passengers we saw something in the water but was not enough time for identify the animal! Judging from its main features like the body shape, size, colour, and the area in which we were, I think that it was some kind of beaked whale, but impossible to say exactly which it was! Later, I saw a group of Bottlenose Dolphins, about 15 and to end the day a group of Pilot Whales (9-12) relatively close to the ship so I could see perfectly the shape of the dorsal fin and the body. This group was quietly moving the water surface. Was an amazing view!

I have really enjoyed the last weeks aboard the Cap Finistere and I’m looking forward to my next sightings!


Ana Alaminos


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