Here we go again!

From July 1st on we will sail out again to the whales and dolphins. We are looking forward to welcoming you soon and wish you already now a relaxing holiday. You will find information about the necessary hygiene and safety measures under observation tours.

See you soon in Tarifa, Katharina Heyer and the firmm team

Pilot whales chased away the Orcas

by firmm Team

Tour 9.00 - 11.00 am
On the first trip of the day, immediately after crossing the canal, we found a family of pilot whales accompanied by 30 striped dolphins hunting towards the north. We followed the pilot whales west for a while until in the distance we saw a bigger group of pilot whales swimming South towards Morocco. This is very unusual behavior, as they normally swim East-West, not North-South from Europe to Africa--there was something special going on! Perhaps there were Orcas nearby? We followed the hunting Pilot whales and after a while I saw the blow of 5 Orcas swimming leisurely along the cost. What happened next was rare; two Pilot whale families consisting of around 20 and 30 animals respectively, led by Zack Zack, a Pilot whale well documented in the straight, swam at high speed towards the Orcas, which fled South towards Morocco.

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Photos above: The Pilot whales arrive. On the left picture Zack Zack in the front (Photos: KH)

The hunt started at N35°65.060 W05°32.335 and ended at N35°54.200 W05°32.764! That means that the Pilot whales chased the Orcas about 2 miles and out of their territory. This shows us that the channel between N35°56.000 and W35°54.000 obviously belongs to the pilot whales, although they share this channel with the bottlenose dolphins, which often remain there as well.

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Photo above: The frightened Orcas buzzed off (Photos: KH)

Once the Orcas were well out of the territory of the Pilot whales, they stopped their pursuit, so we were able to follow the Orcas for a while along the Moroccan coastal water, and I was relieved that the coastguards didn't show up...

-KH-

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