With our North Sea Wildlife Officer Programme for 2018 kicking off tomorrow, we take a look back on a wonderful 2017 to whet the appetite before the season starts!
2017 saw the tenth anniversary of ORCA's partnership with DFDS, and we certainly celebrated in style throughout the season!
The year started with a bang, with a North Sea Lectures event that featured BBC wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan. The event, which was attended by over 200 people, saw passengers board KING Seaways for a day of fun and facts, focussing on the diverse and exciting wildlife of the North Sea.
Once the season got underway in earnest, our wildlife officers Julia Kestler and Lucy McLeod began the exciting job of talking to some of the hundreds of thousands of passengers crossing the North Sea throughout the year, based in ORCA's wonderful wildlife centre in the heart of the ship.
Those lucky enough to join the team were treated to lectures, activities and daily deck watches to try and spot wildlife including minke whales, white-beaked dolphins and harbour porpoises, as well as seabirds of all varieties.
Not everything in 2017 was based at sea, however. ORCA and DFDS were excited to announce an incredible new discovery in the North Sea - the northern tusked porpoise! This elusive creature was photographed for the first time, and pictures were released to the public to much excitement.... On April Fool's Day! Despite the entire story being an elaborate prank, we were able to highlight the amazing habitat of the North Sea and shine a light on our important work with DFDS (as well as having a good chuckle at the same time!).
All in all, we met more passengers and saw more marine life than ever before, with tens of thousands of passengers visiting our centre and hundreds of animal recorded during the six month season. We're delighted to be continuing our work with DFDS in 2018 and we hope for an even bigger splash this year!