Good conditions and flat seas treat the North Sea as our Wildlife Officer Alex's first week comes to a close.
Hello everyone, here is my second blog post as my first shift on the North Sea draws to a close. In answer to my last blog about poor weather and lack of sightings, the North Sea responded in earnest on Wednesday evening with hardly any ripples on the surface and cloudy skies making it excellent spotting conditions. The flat seas allowed us to have great sightings throughout the evening, with a total of 20 harbour porpoise by the end, only coming back inside when it got too dark for us to see anymore. Big shout out to Max, a young lad from the UK who stayed out with me for the whole deck watch, even though as I realized by the end he had been wearing only shorts and a hoody the whole time and was absolutely freezing. He said it was well worth it to see all of those animals.
Good conditions continued through to the weekend, with regular sightings of harbour porpoise and seals. We even had a stunning full moon and great sunsets to boot. The forecast looked particularly good for Saturday morning so I got up extra early, managing to point a porpoise and seal out to other early birds catching the sunrise. Among the other sightings for that deck watch we were accompanied by a kestrel for about half an hour following the boat and hovering around the bridge just above our heads. It was an amazing sight to watch it flying so close! Other bird species we have been spotting are red throated divers and puffins as well.
Inside the centre we have been busy with presentations and children’s activities, particular favourites being giant snakes and ladders and Pin the Tail on the Whale. New for this season we now have a set of tablets where the presentation is recorded with English, Dutch or German narrative. This is proving really popular, particularly with younger children who are still perfecting their English and for those who have reservations during the presentation times, allowing them to swing by later on in the evening and listen to the talk while watching the sunset. The large numbers of Dutch and German passengers is also letting me try and learn the names of these different animals in a different language. While I am starting to get the grasp of the words, I think my pronunciation is going to take a while to perfect!
I am going to be handing over to Rose now so she can start her second shift. I hope she gets calm seas and a whole load of cetacean sightings!
ORCA Wildlife Officer - North Sea