Impressions of a course participant (Part 1)

by firmm Team

Levante, the stormy easterly wind does not allow us to leave the port of Tarifa. That's why it was decided to go out in the bay of Algeciras for our observation trip. The group is divided and allocated to different cars. I have the special pleasure to experience the winding road to Algeciras with the biologist Jörn. He does not miss any chance to comment other road users, or rather rivals and for sure he covers the distance in record time. My hand stuck to the handhold above the passenger's door does not relax until we reach the harbor.

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Photo above: Jörn on the boat (really relaxed) (Photo: Frank Haasenritter)

We have to wait a moment for the boat to arrive as it is being refueled, before we right away leave to explore the bay of Algeciras respectively Gibraltar. In the beginning we do not see anything on the surface, which does not matter much as this gives us time to look at the impressive rock of Gibraltar. Outside of the bay we then spot the first dolphins. The engine is running idle quietly humming and we are all very enthusiastic to see the first dolphins (Common Dolphins) which swim really fast along the boat and show up every now and then. This is a good foretaste of what we are about to see in the next days in an amazing variety.

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Photo above: Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis) in the Bay of Gibraltar (Photo: Frank Haasenritter)

After the dolphins are gone, we are navigating back towards the bay. Suddenly the captain shouts out loud and points to a spot next to a big containership where a sperm whale is breathing on the surface. There is no need to change our course as the whale is in a good range of sight. At the same time a boat of the local harbour police shows up, they obviously try to disturb the whale to get it moving out of the bay. The whale reacts right away. To dive down it bends its body and a moment later its huge tail fin appears for a few seconds before the colossus disappears in the depths of the ocean. Jörn is beside himself with rage because of the behaviour of the police. To quote his statements here, would give this website definitely an X-rated status.

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Photo above: The sperm whale is forced to dive down because of the police boat racing by. (Photos: Frank Haasenritter)

The sighting of that whale is registered and we start navigating towards the harbour. From there other whale watching boats are moving towards us and we can see that they have spotted a group of striped dolphins. Astonished I see one big whale watching boat moving with high speed towards those dolphins and crossing the group. The dolphins use the stern wave to surf and are lingering a while close to our boat.

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Photo above: jumping striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) in front of the massive harbour buildings in Algeciras (Photo: Frank Haasenritter)

A nice ending of the first tour, well not yet…… the way back to Tarifa with Jörn will be as thrilling as the way to get here.

-Frank Haasenritter-

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