Posted by: orcaweb | July 4, 2013

Striped, Common and Bottlenose Dolphins, Pilot Whales and a Cuvier’s Beaked Whale!!

Greetings, this was my first week on board the Cap Finistere and we had some fantastic sightings indeed!

27/6/13 Portsmouth – Bilbao

At 6am we were up on deck for the sunrise deck watch. It was beautifully sunny with a sea state of 2, so conditions were perfect for spotting cetaceans. Within an hour we saw our first Common Dolphin and a few moments later a small pod of Common Dolphins swam right beside the ship for several minutes. After this a pod of Striped Dolphins approached the ship, doing fabulous acrobatics and giving all of us up on deck a fantastic show.


Striped Dolphin

Following this we saw several other small pods of Common Dolphins prior to reaching Bilbao, which ended wonderful morning of sightings.

27/6/13 Bilbao – Portsmouth

After leaving Bilbao we were back up on deck eager to see more fantastic cetaceans, and we were not disappointed. Shortly into the journey a Common Dolphin was spotted and after a patient wait we were rewarded with a Cuvier’s Beaked Whale!!! The whale surfaced a few metres from the side of the ship, giving everyone on board a wonderfully close encounter. It remained on the surface for a couple of minutes, blowing and slowly swimming away before diving out of sight.


Cuvier’s Beaked Whale!

After this we saw several small pods of Common Dolphins, one of which included a mother and calf jumping together.


Common Dolphin mother and calf

29/6/13 Portsmouth – Santander

We were up on deck at 6am and soon saw 2 sunfish, but a couple of hours later we were beginning to ask “where are the dolphins?” and with that it all changed. On the horizon we watched a pod of Common Dolphins come towards us, which played alongside the ship for several minutes. As they disappeared another pod of Common Dolphins swam towards the ship and at the same moment 2 large Long-Finned Pilot Whales surfaced alongside the front of the ship! The Pilot Whales remained on the surface just for a few seconds before diving, which is sadly why we do not have a photo for you. Following this we saw many more pods of Common Dolphins, one of which was quite large, containing 16 individuals and by this time the deck was full of excited passengers. A large pod of Bottlenose Dolphins were spotted halfway to the horizon. These were casually swimming in the opposite direction, but due to their large size and big dorsal fins everyone got a great view of them. Almost at the same time we could see a pod of Striped Dolphins swimming and riding on the waves!


Pod of Bottlenose Dolphins


Striped Dolphins

After this we saw even more pods of Common Dolphins. In total over 150 Common Dolphins were sighted during the day!!!

30/6/13 Santander – Portsmouth

Following yesterdays success we excitedly went up on deck for the 6am deck watch, but sadly the weather was not on our side. There was thick fog, we couldn’t see more than 10 metres in front of us, so we only managed to spot 2 sunfish.

01/6/13 Portsmouth – Bilbao

We began our deck watch close to the north coast of France and quickly spotted a very large flock of diving gannets and over the next few hours we saw 29 sunfish.



It took a further few hours before we saw our first pod of Common Dolphins, but these were followed by a further 4 pods. One of the pods included 2 calves, which remained beside the ship for a short while playing in the waves. The day ended with a beautiful sunset.


Beautiful sunset


02/6/13 Bilbao – Portsmouth

Unfortunately the weather was not on our side today; sea state of 4, fog, rain and strong winds. We did however see 2 sunfish, 5 pods of Common Dolphins and many seabirds struggling against the wind, including gannets, shearwaters and fulmars.

Well I had a fantastic first week. Let’s hope the great sightings continue next week, stayed tuned to find out!

Lucy and Ana


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