Apr02

A Blog To Say Hello

Categories // North Sea Wildlife Officer

A Blog To Say Hello

Say hello to Rose, one of our 2019 North Sea Wildlife Officers! 

Hello! My name is Rose and I am one of the two new Wildlife Officers for ORCA onboard the DFDS King Seaways. Every night we cross the North Sea from Ijmuiden to Newcastle and spend the crossing either looking for, or talking about the wildlife that is here.

I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of ORCA, and can’t wait to share the journey of the next six months with you! I feel so lucky to have this incredible position; living, working, talking cetaceans for two weeks of every month AND being given the opportunity to discuss their conservation with people who are all interested! An incredible opportunity for any nature loving person, and one I am going to seize with both hands.

Alex, the other new North Sea Wildlife Officer, and I got two full days of training from ORCA’s Anna which passed in a whirlwind of getting lost on the labyrinth-like ship, practicing ID skills both in training and out on deck, learning how to use the GPS equipment and setting up the incredible ORCA wildlife lounge – the only room on board with a view out the front of the ship! It turned out to be a stroke of luck that there were three of us on deck, as on Thursday night as we had over 30 people out to join us, and, even more incredibly, 32 harbour porpoise sightings! My subsequent watches have been less dramatic but each has its own charm.

One deck watch, an event on board, meant that I watched the seas and a beautiful sunset alone for some of the hour. Some mornings the cold and the wind has put people off and though l can’t blame them, I haven’t for a moment wanted to join them back inside. But there have been beautiful lake-like waters – perfect for whale watching and I’ve had good company as we watched everything from gannets and razorbills to oystercatchers and even two arctic skuas. My first cetacean sighting was two porpoises, quite close to the ship. I cheered by myself and happily logged it, blissfully ignorant to the fact that I hadn’t connected the GPS properly … I’m learning fast which is helped by the fact that the passengers I am meeting are coming up with such interesting questions and new stories every day.

Wildlife centre

It is also a new experience to be a part of a ship’s crew. I’ve been lost a few times but there is always someone to help. In the crew mess there are so many languages and accents, so many different uniforms and jobs; it’s a world of its own. They all seem to know exactly what they are doing and where to go, and yet they have also all been where I am, the new one on the ship, and they remember. People smile at each other in the corridors, they joke around in the crew areas, and everyone seems to help everyone else. I really can’t wait for the rest of the season; more conversations with passengers, more beautiful birds at sunrise and, some more incredible moments with the cetaceans of the North Sea.

Bye for now!

Rose

ORCA Wildlife Officer - North Sea