The season 2020 has ended

The summer holidays are over and Tarifa's streets have been empty since the beginning of September. We have therefore also closed down for this year.

Despite the short season we had many special sightings. We hope that the situation will become normal by the next season and can't wait to take you out to see the whales again from the 26th of March 2021 on.

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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