Dreaming of the Bay of Biscay

Categories // Bay of Biscay Wildlife Officer

Kelly & Kate look back on their first week on board Brittany Ferries flagship.

And we’re back on board the Pont-Aven for another Wildlife Officer season – hurrah!

Pont-Aven ORCA Wildlife Officers, L-R - Kelly, Kate & Lucy

It has, however, been a quiet start to the Pont Aven Wildlife Officer season, with the Bay of Biscay having us at her mercy for our first trip to Santander. With strong winds, heavy swell and high sea states, we were unable to complete our deck watch, but still even in those rough conditions Kelly and I (Kate) were able to talk to passengers about the wonders of the Bay, even if we were swaying side to side when doing so! Even without seeing the glorious animals, people seem to be so inquisitive about what lies beneath, and as passionate as we are to see and protect them.

The rest of the journeys have been kinder to us. Through bracing the chilling winds and rain to glorious sunshine and near perfect conditions, we’ve stood on deck, determined to see those creatures the bay is so famous for, and through all of the changing weather conditions we were accompanied by gannets, who seemed as determine as we were to find those cetaceans.

From Roscoff to Plymouth, Portsmouth to Cork we had glimpses of dolphins and porpoises and a whale blow in the distance, and in all of these wonderful moments, we were clinging to the promise of the Bay of Biscay, and all of the creatures that had been hidden from us during the first crossing.

A friendly gannet keeping us company on our deck watchWildlife Officer Kelly on a misty day aboard the Pont Aven

We were rewarded for our dedication on Monday, when crossing the Bay of Biscay we sighted over 60 common dolphins and 3 whales, one of which we confirmed as a fin whale. There’s nothing quite like seeing that infamous blow on the horizon and wondering if you imagined it or whether your patience will be rewarded with a glimpse of one of the largest animals on the planet, the fin whale. Fantastically, we got to share the moment the fin whale surfaced with some dedicated passengers who braced the cold with us up on deck ten. Hopefully over the next few months there will be many more moments like this. We’ll be waiting!

ORCA Wildlife Officer – Bay of Biscay
Sunset over the English Channel