Wildlife Officer Programme
ORCA works closely with our partners Brittany Ferries and DFDS to put knowledgeable and enthusiastic Wildlife Officers onto crossings over the North-East Atlantic and North Sea. They engage with passengers, helping them to spot an incredible array of wildlife from the decks of the ferry, and they also give fascinating talks and run activities about the whales and dolphins that can be seen. They are on board from March until September every year, so if you’re travelling on one of these ferry routes, or if you just fancy an easy, cost effective whale watching trip, come on board and meet our Wildlife Officers.
North-East Atlantic (Bay of Biscay & English Channel)
- L-R Sophie Tuppen, Hazel Pittwood, Katie Richmond, Andy Gilbert and Jess Owen
ORCA has Wildlife Officers on board the Brittany Ferries’ Cap Finistère and Pont-Aven vessels which cross the Bay of Biscay (one of the top places on earth for whale and dolphin species diversity) between Portsmouth and Santander/Bilbao. The Bay of Biscay is home to several species of whales and dolphins, including the mighty fin whale, the second largest animal ever to have lived as well as the mysterious and elusive beaked whales. The underwater environment of the Bay provides a range of habitats and feeding conditions making it an ideal home for over 20 species of whales and dolphins.
Read about recent sightings and life on board by visiting the Wildlife Officer blog;
Hear about the Wildlife Officers from passengers:
"I heard the lecture from both girls on the way to and from Santander. An excellent presentation by both. I spent about 2 hours chatting to Lucy as we 'whale watched' and her enthusiasm was infectious. I could see Chantelle was equally so with other passengers. Please pass on my appreciation and commend them on their professionalism and great work they are undertaking."
- Chris Hood
"Just wanted to offer an official compliment to Hazel and Katie, ORCA Wildlife Officers on our recent (16th June 2017) trip from Portsmouth to Bilbao on the Brittany Ferries Cap Finisere. They were knowledgeable, friendly and thoroughly professional in their approach. They significantly enhanced our enjoyment of our crossing and we wanted to pass on our sincere thanks."
- Caroiline and Mark
Wildlife Officers are also positioned on board the DFDS King Seaways, which sails between Newcastle and Amsterdam. The North Sea is a unique habitat that is full of life, including marine mammals, birds, fish as well as a great diversity of invertebrates. Our Wildlife Officers give daily talks about the wildlife that can be seen and run our fantastic on-board Wildlife Centre, which is packed full of information about the North Sea and marine conservation. If you fancy spotting minke whales, white-beaked dolphins and harbour porpoises, this is the place for you.
- L-R North Sea Wildlife Officers Julia Kestler and Lucy McLeod
How to get involved
Come and meet our Wildlife Officers on board the Brittany Ferries’ Cap Finistère/Pont Aven and the DFDS King Seaways. For details of when our officers will be on board and how you can meet them, contact us.
If you're interested in becomming a Wildlife Officer, we recruit in December each year. Please keep an eye on our vacancies page.