Harbour porpoise seen between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly

18th May 2015

Library Photograph - Risso's dolphin (Stephen Marsh) can be seen on this route.

When the ORCA Survey Team entered the bridge the crew of the Scillonian III told us that things had been very quiet recently, with very few sightings and harbour porpoise being the only cetacean seen. However, with a sea state of 3-4 the chances of spotting harbour porpoise were slim, but the team were still optimistic and were not disappointed. As we set off we soon noticed some bird activity ahead of the ship and this produced our first, and only, sighting on the outward journey, two harbour porpoise.

When arriving on St Mary's I decided to walk to the eastern side of the island to see if I could see any cetaceans from shore and was soon treated to four harbour porpoise and a grey seal feeding just offshore for one and a half hours.

The return transect was equally quiet with only a single harbour porpoise seen on the approach to Penzance.

Many thanks to the crew of the Scillonian III for making us feel welcome and to the ORCA Survey Team for an enjoyable survey.

Total sightings:

Harbour porpoise  3 whilst on survey and 4 from land

Grey seal  1

Birds seen at sea:

Manx shearwater

Great skua





Find out how you can get invovled with ORCA and train to be a Marine Mammal Surveyor.