A Fintastic Summer

Categories // Bay of Biscay

A Fintastic Summer

Read more about our Bay of Biscay wildlife officer, Heather's final experiences onboard the Cap Finistère.

Heather here checking in after another brilliant week on board. As this has been my final week of the season, I have been reminiscing about the last several months, and all the animals I have been so fortunate to have seen.

We have been delighted to see so many animals this week, from harbour porpoises, to striped and common dolphins and a multitude of different whales. I am even more pleased to have seen a Biscay first for me: a humpback whale! Surfacing close to the ship, Lauren and I first noticed the large, dense blow as the whale surfaced. Through the shouts of ‘whale!’ we watched closely through our binoculars as it swam gracefully through the water, rolling past us. We could clearly see the outline of the whale through the turquoise water, with its’ huge white pectoral fins reflecting the bright sunlight. Imagine our surprise! As it rolled we saw its dorsal fin break the surface, a distinct hump and a sure sign of a humpback! Humpback whales are not a common sight in the Bay of Biscay, so we were utterly delighted to see this amazing animal, and to get photos too. What a fantastic sighting!!

On the same day, my final Biscay crossing, we saw three groups of beaked whales, including Cuviers beaked whales, a breaching sei whale and many large fin whales. If that wasn’t enough, the weather continued to improve throughout the day, with the sun high in the sky and barely a whisper of wind. Into the evening, the unusually tranquil Biscay revealed dolphins and a distant pod of pilot whales breaking the surface of crystal calm waters as a final sighting farewell. It was a calm, peaceful ending to the day, and to my time on board.

Over this summer, I have seen so many animals, but as important as they are, these last months have been made by the people I have shared these sightings with. It has been a privilege to live and work with my amazing fellow wildlife officers, and we are all so glad to have met so many wonderful passengers. After returning for my second summer season in Biscay, it now feels very much like home. However, you have never seen it all, never heard the craziest story from a passenger or met enough like-minded, whale mad people, so I hope to return for a crossing again very soon. As I leave, I wish my colleagues well, especially Lauren in her final week on board. I wish her luck and lots of sightings, maybe there will be a sighting of the blue whale she is so desperate to spot! I look forward to hearing what is spotted in the last couple of weeks of the season!


Wildlife Officer Bay of Biscay