ORCA Mid Season Round up

September 15, 2017

Five months into this year’s ORCA wildlife season onboard King Seaways, Wildlife Officers Lucy McLeod and Julia Kestler have a lot to tell you. Both of them have enjoyed this season so far tremendously and this is largely due to the lovely passengers they have met onboard every day, and of course the fantastic wildlife spotted.


white-beaked dolphin


The Wildlife Officer programme has been a huge success so far. Lucy and Julia were able to engage with more than 15 000 passengers travelling between Newcastle and Amsterdam, and together with guests onboard they spotted more than 300 whales and dolphins in the North Sea. In addition to this they have enjoyed the fantastic bird life, and delivered plenty of informative and interactive presentations about this wonderful wildlife in the wildlife centre onboard.


Calm seas gannet


Passengers have learned all about the whales, dolphins and other animals that you can observe in the North Sea, and seen some amazing artefacts – such as a model of a skull from a bottlenose dolphin, harbour porpoise or grey seal, as well as a sperm whale tooth that weighs almost 1 kg! ‘Harry’ – our real life harbour porpoise model, about 1.5 m long has been a huge hit too!


Presentation (2)


Out on the observation deck Lucy and Julia have helped passengers spot and identify a range of different animals. So far this season they have spotted more than 300 whales and dolphins, including around 200 harbour porpoises, 35 white-beaked dolphins, 6 minke whales as well as other dolphins and seals. At the moment it is peak season for dolphins and minke whales, as they migrate north along the English coast towards their feeding grounds over summer. So if you are travelling on King Seaways any time soon, keep an eye out for these amazing whales!





One of the highlights of this season was the ORCA Ocean Watch period. From 29th July to 6th August trained bridge crews recorded their whale and dolphin sightings – next to ORCA Marine Mammal Surveyors (volunteers who conduct marine mammal surveys) and Wildlife Officers who were also out in force to gather as much data on whales and dolphins as possible during this concentrated time period as well as to raise awareness about these wonderful animals. As one of many partners, DFDS contributed to this year’s Ocean Watch and made it possible for us to learn more about the fantastic wildlife in the sea.




So far this year the wildlife season onboard King Seaways has been great. If you are travelling with the ferry and would like to experience some whale, dolphin and bird watching whilst sailing towards your destination Newcastle or Amsterdam, the observation deck 8.5 is the place to be! Both Lucy and Julia are looking forward to welcoming you there as well as in the ORCA centre on deck 9.



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