Humpback Whale sighted in the English Channel

9th Mar 2015

- Humpback Whale seen off the port side near Dover

A rare sighting of a Humpback Whale was made by the ORCA survey team on Thursday as the ship sailed near to Dover en route from Southampton to Norway.

The ORCA Wildlife Officer on board was Ruth Coxon who managed to capture several photos of the whale which show its dorsal hump and dorsal fin.  Ruth said, “It was seen on the Port site of the ship nearing Dover, we could even see England and France on either side of us and were very surprised to see it!  It did seem like a fairly small individual so we believe it to be a juvenile or calf. It looked like it was heading into the Channel - fingers crossed it finds its way to where it should be!”

The team, which comprises of Ruth, Team Leader Trudy Russell, Kerry Heseltine and Jackie Shaw are on a 16 night survey on board the Saga Pearl II. They have already had a busy few days of surveying with Harbour Porpoises, Common Dolphins and White-Beaked Dolphins being seen. 

Aside from the excitement of seeing a Humpback Whale, it is highly unusual to see one in the English Channel, so as a precaution the team have contacted the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, in case the whale is lost, unwell or at risk of stranding.

If you sight the whale close to the shore, please call BDMLR on RESCUE HOTLINE: 01825 765546 during office hours. (07787 433412 out of office hours).

If you would like to get involved with ORCA, you can train as a Marine Mammal Surveyor and join one of our surveys around the UK.  Find out more on our website:

- Humpback Whale - photos by Ruth Coxon