Aug06

English Channel OceanWatch week

Categories // English Channel Wildlife Officer

English Channel OceanWatch week

Crossing in the English Channel may be quieter than other routes, but there is still always something interesting going on! 

Hello to you all!

We have just finished off ORCA OceanWatch week on-board DFDS Transmanche Ferries between Dieppe and Newhaven. And what a busy week it has been, but not necessarily in the way you imagine! As some of you know, we do not get as many sightings here in the English Channel as some do on other routes but it does not make the journey less interesting, in fact far from it!

We mostly encountered sea birds such as gannets, kittiwakes and fulmars accompanying us throughout the crossings, flying over the ferry. On the water, passengers have been shocked by the quantity of rubbish floating around, from fare balloons to plastic boxes. It truly gives an overall picture of how polluted the oceans are and how fast we should turn things around to save our planet. Many passengers were intrigued by the little “white object-like” elements on the water which are in fact exoskeleton of cuttlefish, drifting along the Channel. There was one common dolphin was spotted by crew on the Seven Sisters, whilst I was on the Cote d’Albarte, and they told me it had been seen jumping out of the water!

Those of you who were on board this week may also have noticed a drastic change in arrival and departure times due to the tides. In fact, the tide coefficient in the last few days was extremely high making the manoeuvres quite difficult. On Thursday afternoon for instance, the water was lowering fast and a slight delay in departure would have restrained us to stay in the Newhaven harbour for four additional hours, by the time the high tides came back in. It all came down to 10cm of water… it might not seem like it, but navigating in the English Channel can be more challenging than you think!

I want to finish by saying a big thank you all the parents and children out there who have attended my talks this week, and have been absolutely wonderful! Thank you for being patient, intrigued, curious and asking countless questions. You made my day by calling the narwhal a unicorn fish, by thinking the sunfish would be called the moonfish as it is named poisson lune in French, or by stating that gannets are called Fou de Bassan, literally translating Crazy bird from Bassan, because they dive way too fast and risk breaking their necks each time, and all your additional comments and funny answers! I hope I will get to hear many more.

See you all next week!     

Maeva