Jun19

A fantastic first week in the English Channel!

Categories // English Channel Wildlife Officer

A fantastic first week in the English Channel!

Our brand new Wildlife Officer programme with DFDS has launched! Find out about Maeva's first week on board! 

Hello Everyone,

I officially finished my first week as a Wildlife Officer on board the DFDS ferries from Dieppe to Newhaven (Seven Sisters and Cote D’Albatre). As this is a new ORCA programme, I feel honoured to be the one working on this crossing! I will be going back and forth across the English Channel for the next seven weeks - odds are if you are taking this route over the summer, you will run into me, so don’t hesitate to come and join me!

The crossing takes about 4-hours, which gives me time to meet and greet passengers, do presentations about the incredible wildlife of the English Channel and of course, do a deck watch to spot wildlife.  As most of the passengers are English speakers, I run the presentations in English but I will be giving presentations for French speakers as well very soon! I am amazed by the feedback that I have received so far, many people have come up to me and told me “to keep up the good work!”. It feels great to actually see the sparkles in their eyes when I mention a fun fact about blue whales and why the work we are doing is so important!

We had ideal weather conditions on the very first day of the season, the sea was very calm with a Beaufort State close to 1 (calm with very small ripples). At the Newhaven port, there was a number of herring gulls welcoming us into the harbour. They fly alongside the ferry, using the wind to go up and down. it almost looks like a parade.

On the way back to Dieppe, the sea conditions were near to perfect, with a beautiful sunset and the sea approaching a state 0 on the Beaufort Scale – mirror calm.  I was watching a group of circling gannets when 3 harbour porpoises appeared on the port side.  They were switching and changing direction in the water – they were feeding!  Then, we saw some larger marine mammals on the starboard side, jumping out of the water - 4 common dolphins in the sunset! I could not have asked for a better way to finish my first day!  A group of eager passengers also joined us for our first fantastic sightings of the season.

Since this is a new route, I also have to meet with the crew and officers on both ferries. As they have two-week on, two-week off rota, I am collaborating with 4 different captains, 4 business leaders and four different crew members. Despite what you might think, it is actually thrilling to be working with so many faces, I am learning about each of their routines and it makes each crossing very special! Plus, they really make me feel welcome on board. On Friday I got to dine at the Officer’s Mess as they were very interested to learn more about cetaceans and myself. It was as great icebreaker!

All in all, great first week! Can’t wait to embark tomorrow for week number 2!

Maeva

Wildlife Officer – English Channel