An update about our work at sea in 2021!
It’s been over a year since we’ve had an ORCA team out at sea collecting vital data on whales, dolphins and porpoises so the past couple of weeks have been very exciting with Marine Mammal Surveyors and Cruise Conservationist finally getting back out to inspire passengers and collect vital data on any marine mammals they see! And what’s even more exciting is that they will be using the brand new ORCA OceanWatchers app to collect their vital data (find out more here).
Marine Mammal Surveyors
Since 2007, teams of four Marine Mammal Surveyors have been invited on board Saga’s ships and since then we have built up a reputation for enhancing the enjoyment of guests trips and their understanding of marine wildlife through delivering presentations, running deck watches whilst surveying and generally being on hand to talk about any wildlife seen on the trips. Many guests book on specific cruises if they know an ORCA team is going to be on board.
We were delighted to be offered ORCA Survey Team places on board their ships, Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure for the 2021 season. Marine Mammal Surveyors will be travelling through UK waters, and hopefully later in the year will be lucky enough to visit Greenland, Iceland, The Mediterranean, Canary Islands and Portugal. Of course, the cruises will be slightly different to usual with social distancing practices on board and face coverings to be worn in all indoor areas.
Our first excited team set off on Sunday 27th June and had a fantastic cruise with sightings of bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises, seals and even Wally the Walrus whilst on a local tender taking guests ashore for an excursion on St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly! Our second team then set sail on Saturday 3rd July and have already had sightings of white-beaked dolphins!
Marine Mammal Surveyors will also be on board the following Saga cruises in 2021: (sailings correct at time of sending on 27th July 2021)
ORCA Cruise Conservationists are highly trained wildlife experts who deliver unforgettable wildlife experiences on board cruise ships across the world. These passionate and dedicated individuals work to showcase the incredible diversity of wildlife that can be spotted from the decks of cruise ships, helping guests on board learn more about the marine environment. They give us the opportunity to not only inspire people from all walks of life but also collect vital scientific data that can be used to help protect whales and dolphins around the globe.
Our first Cruise Conservationist boarded the P&O Cruises Britannia on Sunday 4th July and spent two weeks on board, sailing on four itineraries departing from Southampton and sailing along the South Coast. Common and bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises and minke whales were all recorded as well as an array of seabirds.
A Cruise Conservationist will also be on board P&O Cruises for the following itineraries:
Quickly following on from this, two Cruise Conservationists boarded the Fred.Olsen Borealis in Liverpool on Monday 5th July to explore the Hebrides, Isles of Scilly and Portsmouth, including the inaugural sailing of this fantastic new ship! They disembarked on Saturday 17th July after a fantastic trip having spotted over 1700 animals including minke whales, fin whales, hundreds of dolphins, eagles and even a breaching thresher shark! We are delighted to also have Cruise Conservationists joining the Borealis sister ship Bolette for her maiden voyage in August of this year. Details of all the Fred.Olsen sailings Cruise Conservationists will be joining can be seen below:
We also have a very exciting Cruise Conservationist programme launching in the next few months on the Norwegian coastal express with Hurtigruten and will be bringing you more news about this soon!
Our Marine Mammal Surveyors and Cruise Conservationists will be providing regular updates about their sailing and sightings, so be sure to keep an eye on our social media channels!