With life size Orca whales floating above their heads and a fifty foot Blue Whale to meet, it was a magical morning for a class of local school children at Portsmouth International Port last month.
The inflatable models were part of the Marine Wildlife Festival which was opened by TV wildlife presenter, Nigel Marven. The display celebrated the diversity of marine life in the seas that surround the South Coast and on ferry routes to France and Spain from Portsmouth International Port.
Thirty children from Cottage Grove Primary School were lucky to get a special lesson from Nigel Marven, who, as well as presenting much loved wildlife programmes, is a patron of local marine charity ORCA. Education officers from ORCA were also on hand to help guide the eight and nine year olds around the display that had over fifteen impressive life sized models of whales, dolphins, porpoises, sharks and turtles.
The Marine Wildlife Festival was the first special event held at Portsmouth International Port since the arrival of new Port Director, Mike Sellers. Mike, accompanied by Portsmouth Lord Mayor Councillor, David Fuller, joined the primary school children for the official opening of the three day event.
Mike Sellers said, “With the help of our customers, Portsmouth International Port has developed a reputation as a gateway to whale watching adventures with ferries heading to Spain from Portsmouth crossing through the Bay of Biscay, one of the most important habitats on the planet for whales, dolphins and porpoises. This incredible exhibition helps show passengers and locals exactly what is living in our seas and, perhaps most importantly, what we all must do to protect them.”
Over three hundred school children visited the “Whale Workshops” during the three day festival. The experts from ORCA taught them all about the wide variety of creatures living in waters not far from their homes.
Anna Bunney, ORCA Education Co-ordinator, said, “We know from our work onboard Brittany Ferries services from Portsmouth to Spain and France that passengers love spotting these magnificent animals in the wild. This exhibition really is the next best thing, and gives us a chance to highlight how lucky we are to be surrounded by such a rich variety of cetaceans and other creatures.”
See for yourself in the video below: