Posted by: orcaweb | May 25, 2016

Sun, Sunfish, and Stripes

On Wednesday, Lucy and myself (Yolanda) boarded the Cap Finistere. After a presentation by Lucy, we headed up on deck for the first deck watch of the week. We didn’t see any whales or dolphins, but we saw various seabirds including lots of gannets, both adult and juvenile.


A gannet glides above the ship

Our sunrise deckwatch on Thursday more than made up for the lack of cetaceans the day before – we saw about 140 Common Dolphins! We also had our first sunfish sighting of the week. After a presentation, we went out on deck again, where we saw another 60 Common Dolphins, including several calves. This bought the total number of dolphins seen that day to over 200! Dozens of passengers joined us for each of our deck watches and saw these amazing animals, and lots of passengers also saw dolphins from the restaurant, the bar, and even their cabin windows!

Common dolphins

Common Dolphins


A sunfish enjoying the warm weather

On our Friday morning deckwatch, we were joined by a number of passengers and an adorable turnstone. We saw lots of other birds including Great Skuas, gannets, and gulls. We also spotted yet another sunfish swimming about 5 metres from the boat! In the evening, we hosted an ORCA quiz. 9 teams took part, and the champions, strangely named ‘the clueless’ went away with a USB speaker, a Toblerone, a pack of playing cards, and a cetacean poster.


Toto the turnstone

On Saturday, we had a fantastic deckwatch in which we saw dozens of Common and Striped Dolphins racing towards the ship. We also saw our first whales of the week – two Cuvier’s Beaked Whales, and four other unidentified whales. In the afternoon, we held a children’s activity, where we played lots of games and measured out the sizes of whales and dolphins. Everyone was amazed to learn how big a Blue Whale is, but by far the most exciting part of the children’s activity was when we looked out of the window and saw a pod of about 20 dolphins swimming towards the ship!

Breaching striped dolphins

Striped Dolphins breaching

On Sunday, we had another sunrise deckwatch as we sailed around the coast of France. Although we didn’t see any cetaceans, it was a lovely sunny morning and we had a fantastic view of the French coast. We also had a presentation and a quiz – congratulations to Sunday’s winners, who set a new record for the quiz!

Monday was a beautiful sunny day, and we had a fantastic sighting of a pod of common dolphins. The sea was a lot rougher on Tuesday, with lots of white water and spray. This made it a lot harder to spot whales and dolphins among all the waves and foam. However, we still saw several pods of Common Dolphins swimming towards the ship, breaching out of the water, and playing in the wake, making it a lovely end to the week.

2 common dolphins

Common Dolphins swimming towards the ship

If you would like to make a donation to help fund the fantastic work that ORCA do, or to become a member and train to become a Marine Mammal Surveyor to help us to collect our vital scientific data, then please visit our website for more information!

Cetacean love,



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