Jenna Silk and Anna Bunney will embark on this voyage with us to Iceland - we've asked them to share a bit about themselves, ORCA, and what guests may see on this particular cruise; and of couse the benefits of why Fred. Olsen have arranged for ORCA to be on board this special cruise. If you spot them out on deck please feel free to ask them any questions you may have, as they'll be delighted to share their extensive knowledge of this fascinating subject.
Who are ORCA?
ORCA are one of the UK’s leading marine conservation charities, training members of the public to be citizen scientists who monitor whales, dolphins and porpoises from ships across the world. ORCA Cruise Conservationists will be aboard Fred.Olsen's Boudicca for a voyage to Iceland in June 2019, showing guests on board the amazing wildlife they may encounter.
Why ORCA chose this cruise?
The itinerary on this particular cruise will take guests to known hotspots for sightings of various species of whale and dolphins, which is primarily due to the rich habitats found around Iceland. Being at colder latitudes, some species migrate to this area having bred in the warmer waters nearer to the equator, whilst others spend all year in this area. The mixture of the colder Arctic waters and the warmer waters from the north Atlantic means prey is abundant and this rich feeding makes it the perfect place for marine mammals.
Some of the species the team would hope to see on this trip include humpback whales, an iconic animal and instantly recognisable with its long pectoral fins and unmistakeable tail.
They also hope to see killer whales or orcas, the largest member of the dolphin family and an unparalleled predator. Finally, white-beaked dolphins, a species only found in a few areas, can be seen in the waters around Iceland.
ORCA believe that this time of year to cruise around Iceland is special because not only are a number of species found in larger numbers during this time of year, but they are also hoping they will get optimal conditions for whale watching to maximise the chances of spotting these sometimes elusive animals out at sea.
Jenna Silk, one of the Cruise Conservationists on-board, talks a little bit about her experience, and is also looking forward to the opportunity to engage with Fred. Olsen guests and teach them about the amazing wildlife on show in Iceland, as well as showing them these wonderful animals first hand in the wild, both give me an indescribable feeling of joy and excitement.
Jenna Silk, Cruise Conservationist
Jenna says, "I have been involved with ORCA since 2014 when I took part in an ORCA Marine Mammal Surveyor training course at my university in Cambridge when studying my degree in Zoology. Since then, my time at sea with ORCA has always been the highlight of my year, enabling me to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for whales, dolphins, and porpoises, with hundreds of passengers on board ships and ferries.
When on land, I work full time as a Rehoming Supervisor for an animal rehoming charity that helps find new homes for domestic pets. As much as I adore my day job, nothing can quite compare to the joy I've found in my work with ORCA; and the thrill of spotting the slightest splash, fin, or blow of a distant whale or dolphin, and watching as a deck full of passengers come alive and lose themselves in the excitement of watching the approaching animal in its natural environment".
Jenna goes on to say, "the best thing about being at sea is the chance it provides, the hope it brings, and the reward it gives. In the oceans vast expanse, where almost anything could be anywhere, there's always a 'chance' of the things you could see, this fills me with hope every time I step on deck with my binoculars in my hands. And what has me hooked, is being in the right place at just the right time, the paramount reward of seeing these highly mobile animals that often spend only a small portion of their time at the surface".
She continues, "I travelled a similar route to this trip just last summer, and had unforgettable sightings in abundance. Highlights were tail-slapping northern bottlenose whales, huge pods of acrobatic white-beaked dolphins, and the unforgettable moment of being waved to by a passing humpback whale. On this trip I expect to see many of these again, and hope to see the colossal blue whale (as I was unfortunate to miss one previously), but of course I wish to see my supreme favourite... killer whales"!
If you wish to follow the team on board's progress and findings during the sailing, please follow the hashtag #BoudiccaORCAcruise on social media. And keep an eye out for the post-cruise blog which will document and detail their findings.