A Successful Start for Easter
by firmm Team
Text: Katharina Heyer and Pia Ackermann
Just in time for Semana Santa the firmm Spirits inspections were successfully completed. Already a month ahead of the transfer of the boat from the winter shipyard in Barbate the crew had undertaken all major and minor improvements and brought the boat into top condition. Especially new are repairs to the bow: the opening in the front was quite damaged by scrambling passengers, so we built a strong and aesthetically pleasing new bow. This will also be beneficial and enjoyable for our course participants, who generally declare the bow as one of their favourite places … Wonderful that we already had guests onboard on the first day of the season.
A special surprise awaited Katharina on the upper deck: A specially inscribed chair! Diego and Eduardo could hardly wait to show their creation to Katharina. An affectionate gesture, which reflects the great team spirit within the current firmm-Team.
The first Trips
It began very promising: the pilot whales appeared in large schools with noticeably numerous calves. A great sign! This generation of calves is also curious, and their mothers let them come close to the boat. It is as if they were showing their calves the boat and letting them get acquainted to the foreign element. The whales have highly sensitive hearing and it seems almost impossible, that the whales can adapt to the enormous under water noise caused by the frequent ferries and cargo ships. The large number of juveniles lets us speculate though, that&60; adaptation to the altering habitat is occurring, to a certain extent.
Photo: Young Bottlenose Dolphin and Pilot whale Baby
We were delighted to spot Curro, the injured Pilot whale, as well as Zack Zack in good health. Furthermore a whole line of old friends presented themselves to us: Franzfin, Sierra, Guillermo, Nr. 117 and Marco.
Photos: Franzfin, Sierra, Guillermo, Marco
The bottlenose dolphins are as playful as ever. Here we also encountered many juveniles, a group of rather meddlesome teenagers. We are delighted that the bottlenose dolphins are present in large schools. On one trip we first came across a group of over 40 animals and soon after a second group with over 50 dolphins appeared!
Photo: Bottlenose Dolphin Show in front of the boat
The Fin whale is always an appreciative surprise, which we all enjoy! On two consecutive days we spotted two fin whales each time, who were swimming out of the Mediterranean Sea into the Atlantic Ocean with tremendous speed. Coincidentally a camera team from TV Española was on board for one of these trips, who knew how to value this rare encounter.
Photo: Fin whale
In Spain Semana Santa only lasts until and including Easter Sunday. Afterwards Tarifa becomes deserted within several hours. In the following night the “storm of the year” hit Tarifa. “In 12 years I have only once experienced a wind force of 10 Beaufort in winter, it is unbelievable,” says Katharina astonished. On Easter Sunday the storm became so strong, that basically nobody dared to leave their home. The evening before the “firmm Spirit” was brought into the safe harbour of Algeciras. Luckily the storm only lasted for one day and was already starting to lose force during the evening hours. Fortunately for us, that today we have access to dependable wind-forecasts!
The firmm-Team started off into the season 2010 with several promising trips. We are looking forward to numerous fantastic encounters with the quick and mighty residents of the Strait, of which we are delighted to report.