Posted by: orcaweb | April 2, 2014

Common Dolphins everywhere, even in the Channel!

Wonderful weather for week 2:

Juvenile Gull off the coast of Santander

Juvenile Gull off the coast of Santander

Week two of working aboard Brittany Ferries’ Cap Finistere and we have had a great week of sightings for so early in the season. Particularly exciting moments were crossing over the Torrelevega and Santander canyons just off the coast of Spain.

Passengers spotting Cuvier's Beaked Whales

Passengers spotting Cuvier’s Beaked Whales

We have had an array of Cetaceans from Cuvier’s Beaked Whales, Bottlenose and Striped Dolphins all making an appearance, with the latter doing some fantastic acrobatics out the water.

Cuvier's Beaked Whales

Cuvier’s Beaked Whales

Striped Dolphin

Striped Dolphin

On Sunday afternoon as we sailed through the English Channel, we were treated to a spectacular display of Gannets plunge diving for fish. We knew something must have been driving these fish to the surface, so to no surprise moments later we witnessed a feeding frenzy of 30 Common Dolphins and over 50 gannets. The Common Dolphins had driven the fish to the surface and encircled them, keeping them from escaping the hungry mouths from every side.

The feeding frenzy

Feeding Frenzy

From the crew this week we have been having French lessons. Our favourite phrase being “croiser les doigts” meaning fingers crossed. As we find ourselves often saying ‘fingers crossed we will see something’ later, not only to passengers but also to crew when they ask if we have seen anything today. However, as we keep telling everyone, it is only March, and as we move into the summer, our sightings “croiser les doigts” are going to increase both in numbers of species, and numbers of individual animals.

Sunset over the Bay of Biscay

Sunset over the Bay of Biscay

The final day of our first trip turned into a day of constant Common Dolphins sightings. Within 5 minutes of getting outside, we were treated to a pod of 15 dolphins, and over the course of the next 5 hours, the passengers and ourselves were lucky to witness 8 separate pods of Common Dolphins including 2 mothers with their calves. This was especially exciting as the calves closely mimicked their mothers playing in the wake of the ferry. All afternoon we were kept on our toes wondering which direction they would appear from next.

Mother with her calf

Mother with her calf

We are going to pass you over to Amy and Katy now for the next two weeks on board Brittany Ferries’ Cap Finistere. We will be back on board on the 16th April in the hope of more sightings as we get closer to the peak summer months.
See you soon,

– Kerry and Ruth


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