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.
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.
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...