The team met in the terminal and we quickly boarded the DFDS Princess Seaways. We were all excited to get started. We grabbed a quick dinner in the crew mess, before heading up to the bridge. Whilst waiting to be escorted to the bridge the team spotted a single harbour porpoise. Unfortunately, on arriving to the bridge, we were greeted with a thick fog reducing our visibility to just 800 metres, which is deemed only just survey-able. Despite the weather conditions, the sea state was at a 2 with a moderate swell. After 45 minutes, it soon became impossible to survey as the fog came in to the bow and we had to abandon the survey.
We awoke bright and early on Saturday morning, hoping for a more productive day. The seas had improved overnight, with a sea state 2, which decreased to a sea state 1 over the morning. We were soon rewarded with a single sighting of a harbour porpoise. Despite the calm seas, we had no further cetacean sightings.
The team boarded the bus to Amsterdam and had an enjoyable few hours wandering around the city, exploring outdoor markets and spending the afternoon cruising around the canals of Amsterdam. The sea state remained as a 1-2 as we left Ijmuiden, and we were accompanied by various gulls, cormorants and gannets. With the abundance of bird activity, the excitement was building. We didn’t have to wait long before we were rewarded with a sighting of a harbour porpoise. The evening continued to be productive with numerous harbour porpoises sighted and an unidentified dolphin.
We awoke to enjoy our final transect back into Newcastle. The sea state had risen to 3 but with minimal swell, we remained hopeful. Despite the concentration and hard work of the team, there were no further sightings.
I would like to thank my hard working team for all their efforts and special thanks to Captain Danial Vang, Chief Officer Michael Jakobsen and the rest of the DFDS Princess Seaways crew for all their help and allowing us to conduct this survey.
Harbour Porpoise x 12
Unidentified Dolphin x 1
Bird sightings: (land and sea)
Herring Gull, Kittiwake, Cormorants, Gannets, Great Black Backed Gull, Fulmar, Common Scoter, Common Sandpiper (on deck), Egyptian Goose, Carrion Crow, Greylag Goose, Mallard, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Coot, Lapwing, Pheasant, Purple Heron, Starling, Black Headed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Shelduck, Magpie, Tufted Duck.