This week we welcome Anika to the ORCA Team - our first North Sea Wildlife Officer Placement of 2019!
The last week on board of the King Seaways has been an interesting one, if you ask me. I (Anika) have joined Rose as the Wildlife Officer Placement and have already learned a lot about life on the ship, the wildlife that there is to see, and the beautiful ORCA lounge we are lucky to have, and which is perfect for watching sunsets when we are heading in the direction of Newcastle!
One thing I have learned for sure is that the job of a Wildlife Officer is very dependent on the weather. The last week has been quite windy and is has been incredibly hard to spot any mammals. Many times, the waves had big white caps on them, which made it difficult for us to see the difference between a wave and a whale, dolphin or porpoise surfacing. However, we have also been blessed with some nice calm morning seas near Newcastle, which were lovely to watch all the fascinating birds flying or floating around. When I came aboard the King, I knew almost nothing about these animals but after a crash course in the occurring species from Rose and practice during deck watch I am now well on my way of becoming an expert!
I love spotting puffins, with their small bodies and fast flapping wings; they just look so cute! The Gannets are so big and white, with their large black tipped wings, these were the first ones I could identify without having to use my binoculars.
But birds were not the main reason I joined Rose. I was really looking forward to also spotting some dolphins or maybe even whales. Unfortunately, like I mentioned before, the weather has not been on our side and neither has luck. In the last five days Rose has spotted two white-beaked dolphins, though I was too late to spot them. However, I got my revenge, when I was the first to spot a seal right in front of the bow of our ship! Both these sightings have helped strengthen my belief that there is definitely wildlife in our beautiful North Sea. I know they are there, and I am still keeping my hopes up that we will see some in the coming week.
Next to spotting wildlife, we are also interacting with the passengers on board. I am from the Netherlands and I love figuring out from what country passengers are and talking to them in the best suitable language, whether it be English, Dutch or maybe even a little bit of German. Whether it is telling them about our activities on the ship during meet and greet, when they are just coming in, or having an actual chat with them in our Wildlife Lounge or during the deck-watch. The enthusiasm and appreciation that most passengers show in our cause inspires me to keep doing what we are doing and reach as many people as possible. Because if we all contribute in our own way, we can make a difference for our oceans and conserve the species inhabiting them.
ORCA Wildlife Officer Placement – The North Sea