Posted by: orcaweb | March 26, 2014

Week 1 of being a Wildlife Officer- Dolphins and Beaked Whales!

And so it begins, the start of the new ORCA wildlife season onboard Brittany Ferries’ Cap Finistere. The week began with all the new Wildlife Officers (WO’s) onboard for a roundtrip from Portsmouth to Bilbao. Also joining us were Catherine Bowley, Lucy Babey and Lisle Gwynn (Lucy and Lisle both Wildlife Officers from previous years).

On the look out for whales and dolphins

On the look out for whales and dolphins

The first week has been an interesting mix of trying to figure out our way around the ship, meeting lots of the French Crew and best of all, our first sightings! In one day we had over 60 Common and Striped Dolphins, and 6 mysterious but wonderful Cuvier’s Beaked Whales.

Cuvier's Beaked Whale

Cuvier’s Beaked Whale

Common Dolphins

Common Dolphins

Soon, the training week had ended as quickly as it started, and we found ourselves sadly saying goodbye to our fellow WO’s while the two of us remained on the ferry for our first shift as official WO’s. We had a great send off from Catherine and Lucy who waved us off as we sailed out of Portsmouth.

Byeeee!! -Sailing out of Portsmouth

Byeeee!! -Sailing out of Portsmouth

Unfortunately, the days that followed were not quite as calm as the training week. In fact, on multiple occasions the outside decks were closed and so instead, we took to talking to passengers who joined us behind the screens on deck 10. With the continued bad weather, passengers stopped joining us outside. We saw many species of seabird including Razorbills who are far less graceful than the much larger gannets, as they rapidly beat their wings above the water. Despite the bad weather, our perseverance paid off as 3 lovely bottlenose dolphins popped up to say hello, lifting our spirits immensely.



Concluding our first week as WO’s, we are keeping our fingers crossed for better weather and hopefully many more sightings to come!

Kerry and Ruth



  1. Hi Ruth, hope you saw lots of whales on your latest crossing. Could you send the wader image we spoke about to and I will try and ID it. My friends are sailing from Portsmouth on the 9th May and I have told them about you.

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