Posted by: orcaweb | April 15, 2014

Beautiful bottlenose and sneaky beakies join us in the Bay of Biscay!

Bonjour and greetings from Brittany Ferries Pont Aven!! My name is Chantelle and I am the Wildlife Officer who has the pleasure of walking these decks looking out for whales and dolphins, and so far this week has been fantastic!

Sunrise on route to Plymouth

Sunrise on route to Plymouth


After a nervous first day joining the entertainments crew here on board, I had soon settled in and started to prepare for all of the great sightings to come. Sure enough, on Wednesday morning when the Pont Aven was approaching Santander, we were treated to some wonderful Cuvier’s Beaked Whale sightings, the first being a singular animal, followed by a group of three, of which one bore the unmistakeable scars of a male Cuvier’s. Also joining us on that day we had several groups of common dolphins, a whale blow on the horizon (which I would judge to be the majestic Fin Whale) and the odd looking sunfish.

Plymouth Harbour

Plymouth Harbour


I was incredibly happy that one of the younger passengers who had informed me that she wanted to become a Marine Biologist had her patience rewarded. Having spent several hours up on deck with me on the morning and having seen nothing, we were treated in the afternoon to a small pod of Common Dolphins just 50m away from the ship, one of them being a tiny calf. Who knows, we may have a future Wildlife Officer on our hands…

Yesterday as I was leaving Santander, one of the passengers and I were treated to an amazing sighting of 20 (what I’m fairly sure were) Bottlenose Dolphins. They were quite far off of the back of the ship, but I could see them perfectly through binoculars, throwing themselves up into the air, with their gunmetal grey bodies glittering in the sun. It was truly beautiful and awe-inspiring, and left me buzzing for the whole afternoon. We were also graced with the presence of some common and Striped Dolphins, with two striped leaping so close to the ship that the black stripe that runs down their side could be seen incredibly clearly.




However, it isn’t all just about the whales and dolphins! Some of the bird species I have seen include fulmars, storm petrels, great skua, guillemots and of course, the wonderful gannet.

So for now I shall leave you to commence on my second week on board the ship, so keep all appendages crossed for some great sightings.

Au revoir and all the best, WO Chantelle Barry



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