Apr19

Back to Biscay!

Categories // Bay of Biscay Wildlife Officer

This week our Wildlife Officers on Brittany Ferries Cap Finistère have been joined on deck by lots of enthusiastic passengers looking out for whales and dolphins!

Hello! Heather reporting after another wonderful week on board the Cap Finistere. I am delighted to be back working with ORCA and Brittany Ferries for my second season, after having such a fantastic time last summer on the Pont Aven.

Having just finished my second week on board, I have been treated to a fantastic start to the season. It would take something incredibly special of course to match the incredible orca sighting from last week, but we always keep our eyes open for anything!

You can always rely on the Bay of Biscay to showcase a wealth of stunning marine life, and this week was no exception. We are starting to see larger dolphin pods, with more and more dolphins grouping together to travel, feed and play. It’s been fabulous to see such big pods, particularly of common and striped dolphins, porpoising out of the water to come and greet the ship.

common & striped dolphins

While all our dolphins this week were energetic and playful, some kept their distance from leaping gracefully from the water, silhouetted against the horizon. These frantic fins kept our eyes alert for their distant splashing and in a few cases very much testing our ID skills!

Striped dolphins

One of our best sightings of the week was actually from inside our cabin as we prepared for our presentation! With no less than 50 common dolphins, we spotted them easily in the clear, calm water. With a mad dash we leapt to the window and watched in awe as the dolphins jumped and dived, visible as they twisted and turned under the water beneath us. Ever the professionals, we also swiftly opened up the data logger to record the sighting too!

Wildlife Officer Sam counting dolphins

As always, we were delighted to be joined by so many interested passengers out on deck. On our watches, we love meeting new people and talking to them over the hours. Even with no dolphin or whale sightings for sometimes several hours, the time flies by. I love seeing the enthusiasm so many people have for our whales and dolphins, with passengers running over from the port side- the dog walking area- to report their sightings to us. One such passenger described a sighting of what could only be a Cuvier’s beaked whale, so while we are jealous, we are delighted for all those who saw this magnificent animal, apparently very close to the ship!

I am also continually uplifted to hear so many people on board talking about the issue of marine plastics, which is very close to the hearts of all of us here at ORCA. I love hearing stories from passengers, sharing advice on how to live our lives with less reliance on plastics. A topic for a future blog perhaps!

Beautiful common dolphin

Along with Laura, I will be on board for the whole summer season, so I cannot wait to see what we spot over the next several months! Watch this space!

Heather – ORCA Wildlife Officer