Survey Reports

2020-03-07 - Dover–Calais

Survey details

Survey route: Dover–Calais

Company: DFDS

Sea region: English Channel

Survey start date: 2020-03-07

Number of nights: Day sailing

Survey conditions

Highest Sea State: 5-Moderate waves

Lowest Sea State: 2-Small Wavelets

Best Weather Conditions: 1-No precipitation

Best Weather Conditions: 4-Fog/Mist

Best Sea Swell State: 2-Light (<0-1m)

Worst Sea Swell State: 2-Light (<0-1m)

Glare present during the survey?: 1-None

Survey sightings

Cetacean sightings:
3 Harbour Porpoise
2 Common Dolphin

Bird sightings: Guillemot
Peregrine Falcon
Lesser Black Backed Gull

Other animals: 1 Common Seal


We enjoyed watching the fulmar along with the gulls flying around the Dover Cliffs. On the way to the terminal a peregrine falcon flew past.

We were welcomed on the Bridge by Captain Gilbo. Chief Officer Giles Dieu is a very familiar and accommodating member of the Bridge Crew too, its always a pleasure to meet up with him.

We were swiftly on effort, the winds were light, the clouds overcast with a sea state 3 of a milky jade green, which provided good contrast for observing, so overall super conditions for the first survey of the season.

The bird activity was pretty quiet but we encountered kittiwake, gannet and a few guillemot, cormorant and lesser black backed gulls. Very close to Dover we saw at a distance a pair of ducks one with a black head and the other a white chest, so unable to identify them.

Shortly after the first changeover the recorder on her first ever survey experienced a Biscay moment!  Firstly came a probable common seal 70 or so meters crossing the bow. 2 minutes after that a possible harbour porpoise. 5 minutes after this 2 common dolphins. 4 minutes after that another harbour porpoise and then a further 10 minutes on another harbour porpoise. This was a great experience for recording the data on the paper sheets, with the highest number of sightings I have experienced on this route. There was also another sighting that Giles Deiu got onto that we missed. So who says it’s a quiet route!

The weather on the return leg had changed, with much stronger winds blowing south westerly upping the sea state to 5, causing striations across the waves and with precipitation of fog/mist impeding visibility which presented a more challenging possibility for sightings.

However, we had a great survey with a really good team.

Thank you to Captains Gilbo and Larrieu as well as the Bridge Crew of The Cotes Des Flandres for the privilege of allowing ORCA to survey from their magnificent Bridge.  Thank you also to the Volunteer Marine Mammal Surveyors.

Sightings Map

Survey team members

Team Leader: Cait Cochrane

Surveyors: Stuart Barnes- Emily Roebuck