Survey Reports

2018-09-02 - Plymouth-Roscoff

Survey details

Survey route: Plymouth-Roscoff

Company: Brittany Ferries

Sea region: English Channel

Survey start date: 2018-09-02

Number of nights: 1

A stock image of a common dolphin

Survey sightings

Cetacean sightings: N/A

Bird sightings: N/A

Other animals: N/A

2 September 2018: English Channel 

The ORCA survey team met at the Brittany Ferries Terminal and we embarked in darkness. Our evening crossing was calm and after a good night sleep we were ready to disembark and spend a few hours exploring Roscoff.

3 September 2018: Roscoff 

We took a leisurely stroll into town and on our way to the beach stopped at the Commonwealth War Grave. One war grave is located in the communal cemetery and the grave belonged to - Tout Frank William a Pilot from the Royal New Zealand Air Force who died in 1944 aged 26.

We continued our walk to the beach to find, the tide was coming in! Although our rock pooling was cut short, we enjoyed a stroll along the beautiful clean sandy beach and along the quayside spotting 15-spine stickleback and other small shoals of fish.

The 15-spine stickleback is the only stickleback species that live in the sea; most are freshwater species and they are generally found in shallow waters in depths down to 10 or 20 metres deep. These species will never be found in completely fresh water. Being a small fish, the sea stickleback does not hunt and instead will spend time scavenging through the shallows and will feed on any dead animal matter, tiny invertebrates or marine worms which it finds.

3 September 2018: English Channel - Sea State 1 - 3 with good visibility

As we arrived on the bridge we had our first sighting of common dolphins – amazing. Throughout our crossing, the sea state ranged between 1 – 3 with a light swell. The glare to port and mist on the horizon reduced our visibility at times. Within 10 minutes we had another sighting of common dolphins, shortly followed by a sighting of an unidentified dolphin and more common dolphins.

Our sightings of dolphins continued over the next hour, then out of nowhere a large body was sighted and disappeared just as quick as it appeared; given its size and description of the shape it was possibly a Minke whale.

The ORCA team had a total of 8 sightings consisting of:

Common dolphins 14

Unidentified dolphins 7

Unidentified whale (possibly Minke whale) 1

The ORCA survey team would like to thank Brittany Ferries, the Captain and crew of the Armorique for their warm welcome and continued support.  

Survey team members

Jayne Dobner (Team Leader), Tom Welsh, Maria Freel, Jock Gardner