The end of my Wildlife Officer tail

Categories // Bay of Biscay

The end of my Wildlife Officer tail

As Trina's time on the Cap Finistère comes to an end she looks back at an amazing 3 months in the Bay of Biscay. 

The Cap Finistère, a ship I have come to form fond acquaintance with in the last three months, is making its standard back towards Portsmouth. When we arrive in port, the Cap will make its usual remarkably rapid turn around and journey back to sea, in discovery of all kinds of whale blows and mysteries.

Unfortunately, I will no longer be a part of solving such mysteries. For when the Cap Finistère leaves Portsmouth, I will be waving a handkerchief to the wind, as I watch the ship sail away for the very last time.

As I have never been a big fan of good byes, I have decided to soften my last blog by filling it with some whaley bad puns. So here we go…

It kind of blows that it’s the end of my three months in ORCA, but they really have been krilliant. I knew the Bay of Biscay was diverse, but it breached above and beyond my cetacean expectations.

Cap Wildlife Officer presentation

This week alone, we’ve seen fin whales, sunfish, Cuvier’s beaked whale, porpoise and common dolphins. I felt incredibly lucky to have so many species turn up to my leaving party. I can’t sei for sure whether it was intentional, but Emma and I have dolphinitey been treated to a mighty farewhale. I’m really going to miss shouting in unison ‘DOLPHINS’ whilst everyone flocks to the rails to watch the little show offs jump and dance.

Cap blog Common dolphins x2

But looking at whales and dolphins has not been our sole porpoise, we also set out to share our message and experiences with the travellers on board. Putting the puns aside for a second, we have got to meet some really cool and enthusiastic people, who will stand out in all kinds of weather hoping for a glimpse of something mighty, or simply a chat and some company.

This week we met a couple of particularly avid whale watchers called Jessica and Harrison, who joined us for both our children’s activity and deck watches. I must say, Harrison had a superior pair of eyes, he could see millions of whales which we just couldn’t spot. In fact, he actually claimed to discover a whole new species of whale, a combination of the fin, blue, beluga and minke whale called the Hodongasaura.

One particular luxury that comes with working on the Cap Finistère, is that we get to spend a few hours in Santander while we’re in port. As Emma likes to say, ‘it’s like a two-hour holiday.’ This week we used those two hours wisely. We set out on a team mission with Xander and Michelle to locate a beach and dutifully paddle.

Trina and Emma Cap blog

I mentioned at the start that I don’t particularly like goodbyes. But hopefully it doesn’t have to be. I’ve made some cool new friends; with both whales and humans alike and I really hope I continue to see more of them. This may be the end of my Wildlife Officer tail, but it is certainly not the end of my adventures. You’ll find that people who love whales tend to follow them all over on their own whale motivated migrations. I’ll be spending the rest of the summer working in Iceland as a whale watching guide, where hopefully I can spot some more gentle giants.

I have really loved working with ORCA. I feel so grateful to have been given the platform and opportunity to connect with so many people who care about the conservation of cetaceans. In a world that feels increasingly threatening for the amazing wildlife we have on this planet, it is both motivating and uplifting to find people who are determined to turn things around, desperate to see their first whale and excited to make a difference!

Katrinas final blog

Despite huge threats like fisheries, pollution, whaling and climate change looming over our oceans, I’ve found the deck of the Cap Finistère to be filled with a contagious positivity and optimism about the future of our whales and dolphins. I feel excited to have been a part of that!

I hope this positivity only grows as the summer goes on; with new whale enthusiasts joining the ORCA team on placement and the fin whales continuing to fill the sky with their blows in the magical waters of the Bay of Biscay.


ORCA Wildlife Officer – Bay of Biscay