Pink flamingo glory in the sky and a small slip of the tongue with happy end

by firmm Team

Text: Jessica Baum, photos: firmm

On the 12 o'clock boat on August 21st 2014, we were lucky to observe rare guests in the Strait of Gibraltar. Shortly after we left the port of Tarifa, the passengers and I could hear the voice of Katharina Heyer through the microphone telling us that we are able to see Flamingos in the sky! A really unique and especially rare sight, because unfortunately these animals can not anymore be seen very often at the most southern point of continental Europe.


But this shouldn't remain the only surprise for our guests. Shortly after our encounter with the Flamingos, we met Pilot Whales. The Pilot Whales are normally rather calm contemporaries in the morning, because they are are hunting for squid during the night. Therefore during daytime they tend to swim leisurely on the surface, trying to sleep. But this time the animals behaved differently. They were very playful, they swam voluntarily to our boat “Spirit”. Even some young animals could be observed in the group. The animals turned on their backs to show us their bellies with the beautiful, white pattern that stands out clearly from the rest of their predominantly black bodies. Some Pilot Whales were even “spy hopping”. Thereby the animals put their heads nearly vertically out of the water to better observe the happenings around them!

Pilot whale showing belly Floating on his back Calf 

We met one more group that was also coming to our boat. Katharina announced through the microphone “There the Orcas are coming!” Of course all of the guests, including me, ran immediately to our ship's bow, because Orcas are a really big sensation, especially on a two hour trip. Normally we sight the Orcas – with some luck – only on our three hour tours, since we need to go out further into the Atlantic Ocean to find them, because they are staying in the area of the fisherman.

For one moment I thought “Hmm… Strange. These are still the Pilot Whales!” But Katharina noted already her small mishap and informed the guests that she had made a mistake.

Already spoken out, it certainly would be the perfect end of this trip to really meet the Orcas. To find them, we would need to go far more south.

Actually we aren't allowed to drive to this area, because it's part of Moroccan territory. But Katharina had specifically asked Tanger Traffic via radio for permission and in fact the effort was worth it. Just a little bit further the Orcas waited for us. All of the guests were thrilled to bits, as it is definitely something very special to observe these graceful animals in the wild.

Young and old  

After we accompanied the Orcas for a while, we unfortunately had to drive back to Tarifa at about 1.30 p.m., as in our search for Orcas we went far away from our home port. A really great trip that certainly will be remembered by everybody!

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