October, autumn storms and, in the middle, Orcas!
by firmm Team
Text: Christine Schmid, photos: firmm
Although we already had the odd autumn storm in October, the sightings were incredibly good on all the days we were able to head out on the boat. Sperm Whales, Pilot Whales, Bottlenose Dolphins, the little dolphins... everything you could dream of.
Then, on 28 October, our boat firmm-VISION left the harbour once again with summer temperatures and a mirror-smooth sea. Katharina and the crew had heard that the Orcas were close by. So they set course for the Orca area. Of course, our guests were still unaware of the surprise. They were all the more astonished when we only very briefly observed the small group of Pilot Whales that we met en route. Shortly afterwards, Striped Dolphins could be seen jumping in the bow wave of a large freighter, and just a few minutes later a whole pod of Striped Dolphins appeared and accompanied our boat for a good distance.
And suddenly they appeared: Orcas! It was a group of 11 animals, all females, juveniles and a newborn whose patch behind the eye was still completely yellow. They jumped and swam close to our boat for a long time.
On the way home, as if that wasn't enough excitement for one trip, 3 Sperm Whales appeared!
For the following trip, almost all the office staff joined us on the boat hoping that the Orcas would still be there.
This trip also got off to a promising start:
We saw the first Sperm Whale after just 15 minutes. It stayed on the surface for a long time before slowly diving down next to us. We were already moving on when he came to the surface again and showed us his impressive fluke for a second time. But then it finally disappeared into the depths of the strait.
And then we saw some huge leaps from afar. It was a large school of Bottlenose Dolphins that put on a real show for us. They swam in the bow, dived underneath us and the more distant animals jumped high into the air.
Now we were already passing the Moroccan fishing boats, one of them had a tuna on the line. But the Orcas were nowhere to be seen. We searched for a while, but then finally headed back. The Orcas had apparently eaten their fill and had moved back into the Atlantic.
On the way back, we encountered a large group of Striped and Common Dolphins, Pilot Whales and, to top it all off, a Sperm Whale. In the end, there were no Orcas on this trip, but 5 species at once is something we don't see every day!