Posted by: orcaweb | July 2, 2013

Fin Whales, Pilot Whales, Bottlenose, Striped and Common Dolphin!!

Hi, it’s Katrina again reporting for the last time aboard the Pont Aven

Portsmouth – Santander (26/06/2013)

This morning started foggy with visibility allowing us only to see half way to the horizon (around 1km), despite this sea state and swell were good for cetacean spotting. I was joined on deck by a gentleman called Dave who is a member of the Irish Dolphin & Whale Society, and a keen MMO (marine mammal observer). It was a slow start to the morning, with my only sightings being that of 6 sunfish. However, come 8 o’clock I was greeted by my first sighting of the day and my first ever sighting of Pilot Whales, 3 individuals in total. This set me up to expect great things from the rest of the day. The Pilot Whales were my only sightings for the dawn watch, but come 11 o’clock; after my talk, I was straight back out on deck and was very quickly greeted by the sight of 3 more Pilot Whales. Many of the passengers saw these to, making many of them very happy and keen to stay out and watch with us. Throughout the rest of the day on our way into Santander we saw 3 pods of Common Dolphins and 4 pods of Striped Dolphins. It was very quiet as we passed over the canyons with only the occasional dolphin sighting. Then out of nowhere, only 400-500m away from the ship there was a large whale the came up skimmed the surface making a small bushy blow before very quickly disappearing. I wouldn’t like to speculate what time of whale it was, but my fingers are crossed that it was a Sperm Whale.

Having a catchup with Dave, it seemed as though I missed the best bits whilst I was giving my talk. Whilst I was setting up the talk I noticed an extremely large group of dolphins coming intowards the ship. Dave took note that these were a mixed pod of both Common, Striped and Bottlenose Dolphins. Also at around 10.20 he had a sighting of 4 Fin Whales not far from the ship followed soon after by a large whale blow in the distance. All in all a great day of sightings.

Santander – Portsmouth (27/06/2013)

Up at 5 onto a very blustery deck. This didn’t deter myself or Dave who was still on board back into Plymouth. We had very few sightings on the way in though unfortunately, but they were still great to see. They consisted of a pod of Common Dolphins made up of 3 individuals and shortly afterwards another pod of dolphins (species unsure) made up of 5-6 individuals.

Cork – Roscoff (29/06/2013)

What a gorgeous sunny and warm day it was. Being up on deck was lovely, and all those out enjoying the sun were able to see some dolphins! We had 3 pods of Bottlenose Dolphins whilst leaving Cork Harbour, 1 pod just at the entrance and 2 within an hour of leaving the harbour.

Plymouth – Santander (01/07/2013)

5am out on deck, and 15mins into the watch I was greeted by the sight of 5 Common Dolphins coming into the bow of the ship. This was followed by 8-9 Pilot Whales surfacing very close to the ship!! They were absolutely beautiful to see, and we were able to watch them playing and breaching in the stern waves of the ship. A short time later I saw a pod of 3 large dolphins followed very quickly by a pod of 2 large dolphins. I’m not quite sure what species they were, my guess is Bottlenose Dolphins, but I’m not 100%.

10am and back out on deck, I had many passengers up on deck with me and I was praying something would show for them. Thank fully something did. We 2 pods on our way into Santander, one a very large mixed pod made up of both Common and Striped Dolphins with around 80-90 individuals in total, and another of 20 Common Dolphins.

Santander – Portsmouth (01/07/2013)

This afternoon out of Santander was relatively quiet compared to normal. Despite this we managed to see 6 pods of dolphins, 4 pods of Common Dolphins, 1 pod of Striped Dolphins and a pod of around 15 dolphins out at a distance (species unsure). The best part of the afternoon though was a sighting of a blow (possibly a Fin Whale) out towards the horizon. This was all I saw though on our way to Portsmouth, but the blow made a very good end to the end of my time aboard the Pont Aven.

Sorry there aren’t any pictures, will get some up as soon as possible!

Katrina – WO Pont Aven







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