Published: 00:00, 10 March 2015
| Updated: 10:42, 10 March 2015
There has been a rare sighting of a humpback whale off the Kent coast near Dover.
It was spotted by the ORCA survey team while on board the Saga Pearl II as it sailed east past the town.
The team were alerted to the presence of the large mammal by passengers who saw its distinctive long pectoral fins slapping the surface of the water.
Its hump and fin was sticking out of the water when the team managed to snap a few pictures.
Ruth Coxon, ORCA Wildlife Officer said: “It was seen on the Port side of the ship nearing Dover, we could even see England and France on either side of us and were very surprised to see it.
“It did seem like a fairly small individual so we believe it to be a juvenile or calf. It looked like it was heading into the Channel - fingers crossed it finds its way to where it should be.”
It is highly unusual to see a Humpback Whale in the English Channel, Ms Coxon explained.
As a precaution, the team contacted the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, in case it was lost, unwell or at risk of stranding.
The ORCA team also includes leader Trudy Russell, Kerry Hesltine and Jackie Shaw. They are on a 16-night survey on board the ship from Southampton to Norway.
The Marine Mammal Surveyor’s have already spotted Harbour Porpoises, Common Dolphins and White-Beaked Dolphins.
If you see the whale close to shore, call the British Diver Marine Life Rescue on the rescue hotline 01825 765546 or outside of office hours call 07787433412.
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