Inflatable sea creatures will greet visitors to Portsmouth International Port

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VISITORS to Portsmouth’s International Port will be confronted by blow-up whales, sharks and dolphins next week.

The port’s terminal building will host 13 life-sized inflatable models of sea creatures, including a 42ft-long sperm whale suspended from the ceiling.

The models will mark the launch of the port’s Marine Wildlife Festival and will be on show for four days from next Wednesday.

Experts from marine wildlife charity Orca will give lessons to school groups about the ocean life that can be found on ferry crossings between Portsmouth and destinations in Spain and France.

Port manager Martin Putman said: ‘Since Brittany Ferries launched its whale watching mini cruises a few years ago we’ve become known as a gateway port for seeing whales, dolphins and other beautiful marine mammals.

‘Anyone heading off on holiday to Spain has the chance of a memorable encounter, and this incredible festival gives a great idea of what you might see.’

Orca community wildlife officer Anna Bunney said: ‘There’s no need to spend big money to see whales when it’s often an added bonus when travelling from Portsmouth International Port.

‘We’re delighted to be a part of the festival, bringing this rich variety of creatures to life inside the terminal building.’

The exhibition follows the launch of a Your Seas – People and Port programme which aims to spread awareness of sea life, and is open to the public.