Marine Wildlife Festival featuring ORCA and inflatable Orca!

5th Feb 2015

-Inflatable shark attack? Photo credit Thomas P Peschak SOSF

ORCA and Portsmouth International Port will be hosting a four day festival of games, 'Whale Workshops' and an exhibition of life size inflatable marine animals, for school groups around Portsmouth from Wednesday 11th  - Saturday 14th February.

 The biggest inflatable sea creature is a  42 feet long Sperm Whale but there will also be a basking shark children can stand alongside and even put their head in it's mouth!  All of the animals on display may be seen from ferries departing from Portsmouth Internatinal Port so other passengers in the port and members of the public are more than welcome to have a look around the exhibition before they depart on their journey.  

Also on display will be other examples of marine life commonly seen around the UK such as an 8m Minke Whale,  8m Basking Shark, 6m Pilot Whale, 6m Orca , 3m Orca Calf, 3m, Risso’s Dolphin, 3m Bottlenose Dolphin, 2m Common Dolphin, 2m Striped Dolphin, 1.5m Harbour Porpoise, 2m Grey Seal male, female & calf, and a 2m Leatherback Turtle.

Anna Bunney ORCA Community Wildlife Officer for the Your Seas People & Port project said, “People don’t fully appreciate how accessible a wide variety of species is right on our doorstep. There’s no need to spend big money to see whales when it’s often an added bonus when travelling from Portsmouth International Port. We’re delighted to be a part of the Marine Wildlife Festival, bringing this rich variety of creatures to life inside the terminal building.”

- School groups will hear an interactive presentation from Anna about whales and dolphins

Whale watching is becoming a popular holiday pastime, with people paying thousands for trips around the world. Yet few realise they can see a huge variety of whales and other species when sailing from Portsmouth to Spain as part of a holiday or other trip. This is because the ferries travel through the Bay of Biscay, which is a whale and dolphin hotspot thanks to the variety of depth ranging from 200 – 4,000 metres deep and the abundance of food that suits many different species. This includes the deep diving Sperm Whale and Cuvier’s Beaked Whale, making it a perfect spot for passengers to go looking for these magnificent creatures.

Martin Putman, Port Manager of Portsmouth International Port, said ‘Since Brittany Ferries launched its whale watching mini cruises a few years ago we’ve become known as a gateway port for seeing whales, dolphins and other beautiful marine mammals. Anyone heading off on holiday to Spain has the chance of a memorable encounter, and this incredible Marine Wildlife Festival gives a great idea of what you might see.”

There will be one more loveable whale also in attendance. Pip, Portsmouth International Port’s cuddly human sized mascot, will be making an appearance for photos with young children and families off on half term holidays.

For more information about the festival or to tell us about your visit, please contact Anna Bunney : anna.bunney@orcaweb.org.uk