May 1st 2008 Unique encounters that got under our skin
by firmm Team
Text: Katharina H. / firmm
On the day between two days of the usual winds, the Poniente (westerly) and Levante (east wind), we had fantastic weather with ideal conditions to go out for a trip.
And we really had wonderful sightings: It started with a family of Pilot Whales, which came up to the boat and entertained us with their games.
It seemed as if they liked to show us what Bottlenose Dolphins usually do -having fun- and amusing our guests on the Boat. They peeked out of the water and tried to splash the people, and stayed under the boat for a long time. They were very friendly; the mothers also approached and tried to teach their calves how to do proper spyhopping… It was fascinating to see their behaviour from such a short distance.
The Pilot Whales had our attention until a Sperm Whale appeared just 100 m away from the boat. He put his head unusually high out of the water with every blow, and I discovered a part of his body that looked like a big belly - it was a lateral bulge …
After that a second Sperm Whale breached just 500 m away from the other which suddenly disappeared. It was Quasimodo - a big and strong representative of his species, which we recognized by means of a kind of collar on his body.
The Bottlenose Dolphins joined us a short time after the Sperm Whales. Among the group we discovered Lolly with her calf close to her and her partner. They were swimming a long time in front of the boat and then followed us right next to the boat for a while. The water was crystal clear, so we could observe them under water as well.
It is always a pleasure to encounter the family of Pilot Whales with ZackZack, who is also always accompanied by her newborn calf. We saw ZackZack the first time in summer 2006, during the whole summer in 2007 and since April 2008 the first time with a calf.
The calf, which is very small, is always swimming very close to ZackZack and we could still see the stripes on his body that are caused by the contractions of the uterus during birth.
ZackZack got her name from Jörn at the same period when we saw a Pilot Whale named ZickZack in the Strait of Gibraltar who looked very similar.
We unfortunately couldn't find ZickZack since the end of 2006, after we discovered her continuously during 2006.
The same family of Pilot Whales was also accompanied by a group of Bottlenose Dolphins which entertained us with very high jumps.
After these great sightings everybody left the boat satisfied. When the participants entered the boat, all the different families and groups were on their own and didn't even speak the same language. But when they left it felt like a big and happy family!
The adventures with the whales and dolphins they had shared together seemed to unite them. This always fills me with joy and makes me grateful.