Impressions of a course participant (Part 2)

by firmm Team

Orca-sightings are definitely one of the highlights on a whale watching trip. The chances to observe them today are good, because other boats have seen them before. We steer a course for the Moroccan fishermen who have run out the fishing lines to catch the big red tunas. On the way there we encounter a big group of common dolphins. They are very playful and come close to the boat. After a short while we continue our trip. Upon arrival at our destination, we find some dozens of small wooden fishing boats, equipped with a weak outboard motor.
The scenery of a trip like that couldn't be much prettier. The foothills of the Moroccan Atlas Mountains lead here all the way to the ocean and impress with a gigantic cliff line.

With their line held in a glove protected hand and with their catch technique and physical power of mostly 3 men, you would not believe that the fishermen are able to handle a tuna with an average weight of 300kg and a combat strength not to be underestimated. Inevitably, memories of scenes from "the old men and the sea" come into my mind. One fishing boat advises us not to come too close to their boat because they had just began pulling up a tuna and they have to get it into the boat as fast as possible. Haste is necessary, as a family of Orcas has already detected the struggling tuna on the line. The Orcas keep diving down to incorporate the present "snack".

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Photo above: The Orcas scent the prey and prowl towards the small fishing boat (Photo: Frank Haasenritter)

The fishermen's desperation cannot be overlooked and the decreasing strength and weight of the tuna leads us to suspect that the catch, which is worth about 1500€, seems to be lost. Finally the big head of the tuna appears on the surface. The sad certainty of the loss can be seen, as they heave the frazzled body above the ship's side. Only a few rests of the reddish, tasty meat can be seen. Again I have to think about "the old men and the sea". With wild gestures and swearing they give rein to their desperation. The Orcas move on.


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Photo above: There is not much left of the big catch for the Moroccan fishermen. Even though there is some utilizable meat on the tuna's head, the frustration about the loss is legitimate and understandable. (Photos: Frank Haasenritter)

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Photo above: one man's mishap is another man's joy. While the guests from firmm® enjoy seeing the graceful Orcas, the fishermen are angry about their lost catch. (Photo: Frank Haasenritter)

For us it is time to head back to Tarifa. Soon after leaving the fishermen we encounter a group of pilot whales. I am surprised that they remain not far from the Orca family. Back in Tarifa we talk about our observations again and it is obvious that we will keep a lot of impressions.

-Frank Haasenritter-

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