Lexie Experiences Placement with a Porpoise Thanks to DFDS and Orca

Marine wildlife enthusiast Lexie Massie teamed up with whale and dolphin charity ORCA and ferry Company DFDS to help people learn about marine conservation.

Lexie, 20, from London, has just finished a placement as trainee wildlife officer on board DFDS’ King Seaways. During her four weeks on board she helped customers on the ferry, which operates sailings between Newcastle and Amsterdam, to spot whales, dolphins and porpoises.

She is one of four trainee wildlife officers completing a series of four week residential marine wildlife placements on the ship this year. The trainees are learning from full-time ORCA wildlife officers Lucy McLeod and Julia Kestler, who are permanently based on board between March and September and provide a programme of educational talks and wildlife watching sessions for customers who book DFDS’ marine wildlife mini cruise. The team also has an important scientific purpose, collecting data and monitoring the number and welfare of cetaceans in the North Sea during the daily crossings on the route.

DFDS has partnered with ORCA for ten years, helping the charity to complete a decade-long data study – their ‘State of European Cetaceans’ report - which provides valuable insight into the status of marine species around the UK coast, informing the creation of Marine Protected Areas and promoting changes to human activities occurring in their habitats. Since 2007, ORCA have conducted 52 marine life surveys on DFDS’ North Sea service from Newcastle to Amsterdam, recording the highest diversity of species in the North Sea during that time.

Lexie is in the final year of a Zoology degree at the University of Southampton and decided to apply for the placement after spotting the opportunity in a regular newsletter to Biological Science students. She said: “I studied Marine Vertebrates during my course last year and wanted the opportunity to learn more about these fantastic mammals in a more practical setting. I’m very interested in wildlife conservation and ecology and hope to work in this field in the future, so the placement looked like a fantastic chance to gain more insight into the career I want to pursue.

“I have had a fantastic four weeks on board and have learned so much from the ORCA team. I’ve progressed from being overwhelmed by all the new facts I learned during the presentation on my first evening on board to being able to give that same presentation myself to customers joining the ship. The real highlight of my trip was an evening during my second week where we were constantly spotting cetaceans, with more than 40 harbour porpoise seen on one day alone. We also saw lots of white-beaked-dolphins, which was very exciting!

“My favourite cetacean is the blue whale, simply due to its size. Although I didn’t see one during my placement, I hope my experience means I’ll have the opportunity to see one in the wild in the future. They’re a remarkable beast and the calves grow so quickly – putting on more weight in just one day than most humans do in their lifetime!”

During her placement on board with DFDS, Lexie and the team recorded sightings of more than 100 cetaceans, including harbour porpoise, minke whales and white beaked dolphins, plus a number of seals and different species of seabird.

For more information about marine wildlife mini cruises with DFDS visit www.dfds.co.uk/wildlife. To learn more about the ORCA wildlife programme and opportunities to volunteer with the charity visit www.orcaweb.org.uk.


For further press information, please contact:

Jo Kendall / Katie Raby / Stuart Fyfe

Rooster PR

T : +44 (0)20 3440 8930

E : DFDS@rooster.co.uk


About DFDS:

DFDS is Northern Europe’s largest integrated shipping and logistics company, with a network of around 30 routes and 50 freight and passenger ships.

In the UK, the company operates passenger ferry services on routes from Dover to Calais, Dover to Dunkirk, Newcastle to Amsterdam and Newhaven to Dieppe.

DFDS has been named the ‘World’s Leading Ferry Operator’ for the last five years (2011-15), as well as ‘Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator’ at the prestigious 2014 and 2015 World Travel Awards.

DFDS currently operates up to 54 sailings a day between Dover and France on its Dover-Dunkirk and Dover-Calais routes.

DFDS also offers two daily sailings between Newcastle and Amsterdam. In addition, the DFDS network includes a passenger and freight service between Newhaven to Dieppe, which has four daily sailings and is operated by Transmanche Ferries.

For further information about DFDS, or to find out about the latest sailing times, fares and offers across all routes from the UK, visit www.dfds.co.uk​.


We are Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator 2012-2019 & the World’s Leading Ferry Operator 2011-2018!​​