[MARMAM] Whale watching travel option to the ECS Conference

Dylan Walker dylanhwalker at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Nov 30 18:13:42 PST 2006

Dear all,
  For those of you wishing to attend the 2007 European Cetacean Society Conference in San Sebastian, Spain, 22-25 April, you may be interested to know that whale watching operator ´The Company of Whales´ is offering a unique way of travelling from Northern Europe (beginning in the UK), to the Conference and back, on a whale watching cruise. The cruise will carry delegates between Portsmouth, on the south coast of the UK, to Bilbao, Spain, just one hour from the conference venue, returning after the conference has been completed.
  As well as travelling through one of Europe´s most prized whale watching destinations, the Bay of Biscay, there will also be the opportunity to receive cetacean survey training as part of a standardized survey undertaken throughout the cruise. For further information please read below. 
  Dylan Walker 
  There is only one way to travel to the European Cetacean Society Conference in 2007 – In The Company of Whales!
   For the first time ever, you can turn your journey to and from the ECS Conference into a whale watching adventure, by travelling across the Bay of Biscay from Portsmouth, UK, to Bilbao, Spain, just one hour’s coach journey from the conference venue in San Sebastian.
   So why not travel to the conference in style, with Biscay’s most experienced eco-tourism company, The Company of Whales, onboard P&O cruise-ferry ´Pride of Bilbao´ for a bargain price starting at just £140 per person return. Not only are these prices competitive when compared to other means of transport, but with The Company of Whales, you are likely to encounter between five and seven species of cetacean whilst travelling across some of the richest seas in Europe for whales, dolphins and porpoises.
   This really is the ultimate route to northern Spain, beginning at Portsmouth on the south coast of England, a city easily accessed from all over the UK and internationally from London; and ending at Bilbao on the north coast of Spain, where we will see you safely to the nearby coach station, just one hour’s journey from the conference itself. Most people leave the ECS Conference desperate to get out onto the water and see whales and dolphins in the wild again. But you could actually be doing just that!
  With over eleven years of experience of whale watching and research holidays in the Bay of Biscay, we at The Company of Whales have been fortunate enough to have had some outstanding trips during the month of April. These have included rare Sei Whales surface-feeding alongside Short-beaked Common Dolphins, five separate groups of Cuvier`s Beaked Whales in one day, and some of the largest pods of offshore Bottlenose Dolphins ever recorded in the region. Although the weather can be mixed, our 37,000-ton cruise ferry provides a remarkably stable platform and excellent viewing. 
  This is a fascinating time of year, with spring migration in full swing both above and below the surface. The most likely cetaceans are Harbour Porpoise, Short-beaked Common Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Striped Dolphin, Long-finned Piot Whale, Cuvier`s Beaked Whale and Minke Whale. However, larger whales such as Fin, Sei and Sperm Whale, as well as a whole host of other species are possible. This is also a great time to observe visual bird migration, with seabirds returning to their nesting colonies and land birds also heading north. Previous highlights have included Peregrine Falcon and Marsh Harrier,as well as numerous warblers, swallows, wagtails and thrushes. At sea,this is the best time to see flocks of dainty Little Gulls on passage, as well as a variety of petrels, skuas, shearwaters and Gannets. And to cap it all, you can end your day’s whale watching with all of the ship’s facilities at your disposal, starting with a nice hot shower in your cabin, and moving on
 to the choice of three reasonably-priced restaurants for dinner, before retiring to a favourite bar for relaxation and conversation with new and old friends and colleagues alike.
  Brief Itinerary
  Friday 20 April: Ship departs Portsmouth at 2115 hrs (local).
Saturday 21 April: All day whale watching in the Bay of Biscay.
Sunday 22 April: Arrive Bilbao at 0800 hrs (local). FREE transfer
to coach station. Coaches run every half an hour and the journey to San Sebastian is just one hour.
Sun 22 – Wed 25 April: ECS Conference.
Thur 26 – Fri 27 April: Free time to enjoy San Sebastian. Optional
excursions into the Pyrenees may be available depending on demand.
Saturday 28 April: Ship departs 1215 hrs (local). All afternoon
whale watching.
Sunday 29 April: All day whale watching in northern Biscay and
the English Channel. Arrive back at Portsmouth
approximately 1730 hrs (local).
  What’s included:
  • Three nights accommodation onboard Pride of Bilbao.
• Exclusive access to our whale-watching platform - the best place
to view onboard and exclusive to The Company of Whales!
• The services of our professional naturalist guide.
• The opportunity, should you desire, to take part in a marine
mammal survey and get to grips with a standard methodology.
• Free transport between Bilbao ferry port to Bilbao Coach Station,
for onward travel to San Sebastian and subsequent return.
  What’s not included:
  • Food and drink of any kind.
  RETURN FARE (dep. Portsmouth Fri 20 April return from Bilbao Sat 27 April)
£140 per person based on 2 people sharing an inside cabin
£150 per person based on 2 people sharing an outside cabin
£160 per person for single occupancy of an inside cabin
£200 per person for single occupancy of an outside cabin
  ONE-WAY FARE (dep. Portsmouth Fri 20 April OR Bilbao Sat 27 April)
£85 per person based on 2 people sharing an inside cabin
£95 per person (based on 2 people sharing an outside cabin
£105 per person for single occupancy of an inside cabin
£125 per person for single occupancy of an outside cabin
  SAIL ‘n’ FLY!
Short on time? Can’t commit to spending the week in San Sabastian? Not
a problem! Should you wish to sail / fly down to Bilbao and sail / fly home we can arrange your complete travel package! Bilbao is served by many major airlines with daily flights to the UK and across Europe. We hold our own ATOL license so you can book with us in complete confidence. 
   Please call us on +44 (0)1950 422483 for details or e mail us at www.companyofwhales.co.uk
Please note that this cruise is limited to a maximum of 30 passengers, so early booking is essential. To find out more, receive a free brochure or make a reservation, please contact us on +44 (0) 1950 422483 or e-mail us at info at shetlandwildlife.co.uk quoting ¨ECS Biscay Cruise¨.
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