Aug15

We were surrounded!

Categories // Bay of Biscay Wildlife Officer

We were surrounded!

Another week full of cetaceans and close encounters on board the Cap Finistere.

Well we’ve had another fantastic week on board the Brittany Ferries Cap Finistere. From lovely leaping dolphins, to shy little harbour porpoises and large rorqual whales, there has been no shortage of sightings this week.

We have been particularly excited to see so much life around the Brittany islands, Île de Sein and Île d’Ouessant. Normally we find these waters to be somewhat quieter, especially when comparing to the bustling Bay of Biscay. However, this week, we have been inundated with sightings in these shallow waters. We were first and foremost amazed by scenes not unlike something from an Alfred Hitchcock film, but indeed less sinister. From gannets of all ages and shearwaters in huge numbers to name but a couple of species all around us, we marvelled at the flocks of birds, diving and soaring around us. It was clear when we had passed a fantastic feeding ground, with the birds having ‘decorated’ the deck for us with apparent great enthusiasm. With lots of fish, visibly leaping from the water, we knew there would be cetaceans around.

Emily was delighted to have a fantastic view of harbour porpoises, even unusually bringing their little faces out of the water as if to check out the passing ship. Normally very shy, this was a delight to see. On the same trip, passengers and crew were treated to several acrobatic displays from common dolphins, often spotted from cabin windows and offering a unique form of lunch time entertainment for many. If that wasn’t yet enough we had a couple of minke whales also spotted, surfacing lazily off the starboard side.

It is clear from this week that our animals can turn up even when we least expect it, with several dolphin sightings interrupting presentations, much to the delight of everyone in the bar. We also spotted another one of our elusive ‘presentation whales’ which conveniently appeared as we were rounding up Saturday’s presentation. With one whale spotted already, passengers were keen to join us on deck and spot some more! We were all the more excited as we had heard that there was a fin whale spotted on one of our ORCA Sea Safaris, lunge feeding around the Brittany Islands. While we didn’t spot that particular animal, it’s incredible to think we really could spot anything, and anywhere!

Our final crossing this week proved our most productive, with fin whales near and far on both sides of the ship, passengers were lucky enough to see so many of these huge, majestic whales. We counted 19 just on the starboard side! We also saw two breaching beaked whales, which were leaping around for us, just as two fin whales cruised not 50 metres off the port side: we were surrounded!

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Wildlife Officer Bay of Biscay