Curious sperm whale and pilot whale baby
by firmm Team
Text: Ann-Catherine Zürcher; Fotos: firmm
In spring they have high season in the Strait of Gibraltar - the sperm whales. With a size of up to 18 meters and a weight of up to 50 tons, they are the largest toothed whales and are among the best divers. During the boat trip on the 9th of June we met a particularly curious animal. It didn't take long for him to show us his unmistakable angled blow. As we watched from afar as he refilled his body with oxygen, we were very pleased and astonished to see him approaching us. What a rare and great spectacle. The sperm whale came close to the boat and showed himself to us. About in the middle of his head, an unmistakable, large scar was clearly visible. Due to the dark colour of the scar, it appears to be an older injury. Fortunately, the injury seems to have healed well. After a few minutes the time had come and the sperm whale showed us his remarkable fluke while diving down and as so often in this moment a delighted “ohhhhh" went through the observers on the boat.
However, the encounter with the curious sperm whale was not the only memorable experience during this trip. We were privileged to meet a pilot whale baby, who was at most one to two days old and had not yet developed the characteristic, round swimming style of pilot whales. New-born pilot whales are still a little bit clumsy when they need to draw breath. After stretching their heads out of the water, they do not dive in again round and elegantly as adult animals do, but land clumsily with a splat on the water surface. But it will only take a few days until the newly born learns to move and swim as smoothly and gracefully as the adult animals.