Windy seas and killer whales

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Windy seas and killer whales

A once in a lifetime encounter with a killer whale gives our North Sea Wildlife Officers a week to remember

Hello again!

Oh my word! A killer whale was seen from the bridge on Saturday by the ORCA Marine Mammal Survey team on board the DFDS KING Seaways for the weekend. This is the FIRST sighting of an orca on our route! This is very exciting as they have been seen elsewhere in the North Sea however, there has never been a sighting on the route in over 10 years of surveying.

Unfortunately, after a beautiful calm morning sailing into port on Sunday, during which I spotted two harbour porpoises, the weather took a turn for the worst and our evening crossing was wet with the swell also picking up. This did not make for good spotting conditions and though the rain had stopped by morning the seas were still stormy and no mammals were spotted from the observation deck.

The birds seemed to love the windier conditions; gliding and soaring on the wind. We even had a skua chasing some gulls. Although the wind dissuaded some passengers from joining me out on the observation deck, the large viewing windows in the warm and dry ORCA Wildlife Lounge still remain popular with passengers for spotting wildlife or just enjoying the beautiful view. One such passenger was rewarded and spotted a dolphin, possibly a white-beaked dolphin, fairly close to the ship.

Though Cira Arts was prepared to join me on the observation deck with a nice warm jacket unfortunately she and her family only made it to the ORCA Wildlife Lounge after the end of the Watch. She was still very happy to do some spotting with the mounted binoculars in the lounge and then enjoyed exploring the ORCA Wildlife Lounge in search of the answers to the ORCA Kids Quiz on the Wildlife of the North Sea.

Kelly will be back on board tomorrow and I wish her happy sailing with calm seas and many sightings. Check in again next week as she you will update you on the Wildlife of the North Sea.


North Sea Wildlife Officer