Orcas, porpoises and everything in between!

Categories // Bay of Biscay Wildlife Officer

Hear about the incredible sightings of the second week aboard Brittany Ferries Cap Finistere by Wildlife Officer Laura.

Hi I’m Laura, another one of the three Wildlife Officers on board the delightful Brittany Ferries’ Cap Finistere this summer. I’ve spent the past two weeks sailing back and forth between Portsmouth and Spain, looking out for whales and dolphins, and oh my….the Bay of Biscay did not disappoint!

Sam and Laura on a particularly cold deck watch

If you’ve been following our social media posts over the last week, you can’t possibly have missed hearing about our incredible orca sighting on Thursday morning, but if you did miss it, then let me be the first to tell you that WE SAW THREE ORCA!!!!!

A great shot of one of the orca we spotted on our way to BilbaoTwo of the orca sighted on Thursday

I personally have been to both Canada and New Zealand in pursuit of the orca, and failed miserably each time, so imagine my surprise when Heather shouts that she thinks she saw them on our deck watch! I knew it was possible to spot them in the Bay of Biscay, but they’ve never been recorded by ORCA so early in the season. I don’t mind telling you that I had a little cry of happiness when I saw them coming round the bow of the ship. They cruised past us on the starboard side and then we lost sight of them in the wake. Fortunately we had company during this sighting in the form of our champion cetacean spotter Matthew (pictured below), who helped us track the orca until we lost sight of them, and the bridge crew on board the ship who seemed to be as excited as us.

Our excited young passenger Matthew after he had seen orca on board the Cap Finistere

So yes, that amazing sighting pretty much set me up for a fantastic second week on board the ship. A little while after our orca encounter we also caught sight of a whale blow on the horizon (possibly a fin, sei, or sperm whale), and then a number of common and striped dolphins put on a show for us as we approached Bilbao.

And if that wasn’t enough, we were met with relatively flat seas as we came through the islands around Brittany; so flat in fact that we were able to spot harbour porpoises (a personal favourite of mine)!!!! Despite these funny little creatures being the most abundant cetacean in European waters, their low surfacing profile and dislike for ships meant seeing them was a great treat for us and the dedicated passengers on board.

Sadly my first two weeks on board the Cap Finistere have come to an end, but I’ll be back soon. Good luck to Heather and Sam this week. Hopefully they see a lot more!

ORCA Wildlife Officer – Bay of Biscay