Gry Maritha’s stalwart crew have added another string to their bow – being trained as marine mammal surveyors for charity ORCA.
The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has a long history of working with ORCA, with marine mammal surveyors conducting surveys for whales, dolphins and porpoises on board Scillonian III since 2009.
But while Scillonian III sails to the Isles of Scilly from March to November, our freight ship Gry Maritha sails these waters year-round, providing a valuable opportunity for the crew to collect data about the wildlife they encounter.
The ORCA team provided a bes
poke, interactive training course for the Gry crew, where they learnt how to identify the many species of whale, dolphin and porpoise sighted in the Celtic Seas, and how to interpret these sightings into collecting meaningful data, using the charity’s OceanWatchers app.
They also enjoyed exchanging stories of the wonderful whale and dolphin sightings the crew have had in the past.
The crew has already provided a large amount of data and are looking forward to even more throughout the year. The information they collect will complement ORCA’s Marine Mammal Surveyor data to help further understanding of the abundance and distribution of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the Celtic Seas so they can be adequately protected in the future.
Justin White, a Navigating Officer on Gry Maritha, said: “Thanks to ORCA, I’ve become part of its mission and recently started using the bespoke app. Within seconds of opening my first survey at sea on the ORCA app, my watchkeeping lookout alerted me to dolphins swimming towards us.
“From this point, I realised how easy it is to record each sighting, so you can maintain a lookout and quickly be ready for the next potential sighting. I like how my past surveys remain visible to look back at, and the list of species, including detailed descriptions, is nicely laid out.
“The ORCA team has created a brilliant app and allowed me, a wildlife conservation novice, to positively contribute towards the protection of whales and dolphins. Thank you, ORCA. Keep up the good work.”
ORCA has thanked the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company for its valuable contributions to ORCA’s conservation efforts.
We would like to extend our thanks to the Isles of Scilly team for their valuable contributions to ORCA’s conservation efforts.
Anyone can get involved in ORCA’s conservation work by taking part in the OceanWatchers programme.
The programme is designed so that everyone can collect data about whales and dolphins in a flexible way, enabling even more people to become an integral part of ORCA’s conservation work.