Tom looks back at his month on board the KING Seaways, inspiring passengers and looking out for whales and dolphins!
Hi everyone, Tom here again with my final blog post! My final week on board unfortunately started with a lot of poor weather. Choppy seas with large swell made for very difficult surveying conditions and scarce numbers of passengers joining us out on deck. This meant that although we didn’t speak to as many people, we had some very good conversations with passengers that were really keen on wildlife. As the week progressed we were lucky enough to get some good sightings of harbour porpoises despite the swell and winds, and with them being very splashy through the waves, they were nice and easy to point out to passengers. Towards the end of the week we headed out early for a deck watch as we came into Newcastle, due to the better forecast, and had nice sightings of more porpoise and a minke to add to the tally. It’s safe to say that after a month of surveying in the North Sea, getting sightings has not become any less exciting and in fact seeing and learning more about these animals has given me more of a passion for them than ever before!
The ship seems much quieter now than my first shift, due to the end of the summer holidays, and families with children seem to have been replaced by couples and youth groups. Whilst I do miss seeing children excited and inspired by wildlife, we’ve been having some really interesting and in depth conversations with adults about conservation issues and ORCAs work which I’ve really enjoyed.
My last few days onboard the KING Seaways have led me to look back on my weeks at sea, and what weeks they’ve been! It feels like a long time ago that I first met Alex, came onto the ship and found my feet working on board, but at the same time, it seems to have flown by and be coming to an end all too soon! Working and living on board a ship has been something I’ve really enjoyed as well as engaging with passengers and getting to talk about and observe cetaceans more than I have before! During the placement I’ve learnt a lot and furthered my skills too, particularly in giving presentations and communicating difficult issues to all different kinds of people, which is something that’ll definitely benefit me later in life. The placement has also helped me to learn more about the amazing and awe inspiring species in our oceans and fueled my want to gain a career in conservation. To help towards this goal, my next step is to start a master’s degree in Conservation and Biodiversity in the next few weeks which I’m really looking forward to, and I’m sure skills gained from the placement will be heavily used!
My time out in the North Sea and working with ORCA will always be something I look back on very fondly and have many happy memories from, of both incredible sightings or interesting conversations. All of these things make me very grateful for the placement and being able to work on board with a Wildlife Officer. I’ll be sad to be leaving it behind (and am sure Alex will be VERY sad to see me go) but t I’ll be taking so much with me too so I owe a big thanks to ORCA for the opportunity and great month!
ORCA Wildlife Officer Placement - The North Sea