Review sponsored animals 2022
by firmm Team
Text: Katharina Heyer, photos: firmm
We were pleased that the 25th season lasted 7 months once again and also didn't bring us too much wind. Apart from an 11-day heavy period of Levante, the season went very well. In June we even experienced a time with extremely large families of Pilot Whales. 30-40 animals in several groups with a strikingly large number of young were not uncommon.
Lolly is always easily recognisable thanks to her white fungus on her dorsal fin. She is still well taken care of in a larger group of about 20 Bottlenose Dolphins. She also came close to the boat from time to time. For the first time in the middle of April.
Baby Leila is the name of the first new-born we see every year. On 20.6. it was tiny but already quite perky. Of course, it was always at its mother's side.
Puzzle was also often seen in a group of more than 20 Bottlenose Dolphins. We saw her again for the first time on 24.4. She often disappeared under the boat in the blink of an eye!
White Cap is still closely bonded to her little one, who in the meantime has also been seen a little further away from his mother more often. These two are in the same family as Lolly. They have been spotted over two dozen times.
Salto made his first jump in the middle of April and continued to cause many surprises throughout the summer. With his incredibly high jumps, he is in a class of his own!
Gorro is even easy to spot at a great distance thanks to his flat, straight dorsal fin. When he comes closer to the boat, we are always amazed at his size.
Ponce, with his strikingly high dorsal fin, is also very large. He seems to stay faithful to his partner Sierra, because they always move not far from each other. They were first seen on 13.4.
Sierra, the slightly smaller female, often comes to the boat so that her toothed dorsal fin is clearly visible. She is more trusting than Ponce, but still stays close to him. She has been seen almost 30 times.
Baby Hook is one of the longest known Pilot Whales, together with her whole family. Triángula and her, which should already be a few years old by now, always swam with her. The latter two seem to remain small animals. From mid-April onwards, she was sighted several times each month.
Edu, a loyal companion in this group is easy to observe. He always stays close to his family at an appropriate distance. From 16.4. on we sighted him several times every month.
Pedro is the largest in this family and easily recognisable with his very large dorsal fin. He likes to come to the boat and amazes us with his impressive size.
Fernando, still easily recognisable from afar by the shape of his noticeable dorsal fin. As in the years before, he moves as the assumed leader in a group of 3 males. We saw him almost 40 times from 14.4. onwards.
Dientes was consistently seen with Fernando once again this summer. He is also surprisingly large. This group of 3 always dives for an exceptionally long time before they are usually appear once again somewhere far ahead.
Baby Tony, as we baptise the first newborn baby Pilot Whale, delighted us for the first time on 11.4. He was so cute as he gasped for air and had to be lifted to the surface again and again by his mother. During the season, however, he quickly became a little runaway who loved to come to the boat and swim underneath.
Franzfin with the distinct notches on his dorsal fin came very close to the boat for the first time on 16.4. He can only be identified clearly from close up. He is a very large, stately male.
Johnny was very shy, which could have been due to a new injury. He was only sighted a few times, once on the 30.08.
Nina and Oli have remained faithful to each other. They were always observed together. For the first time on 8.4. and then many more times.
Nina, the friendly female, is easily recognisable by the small hook on her dorsal fin. She always moves in a family of 4-6 Pilot Whales.
Oliver, a very large male, often swims at the head of his family. He is one of the largest in the Strait of Gibraltar and is easily recognised from a distance thanks to his striking curved fin.
Vicenta with the well healed injuries on her back has become a mother. We saw her at the beginning of May, and from the 28.7. onwards she was accompanied by her young. She moves well protected in a large family of 7-14 animals.
Willy with his striking fin was not often seen. But when he was in the area, he came trustingly close to the boat. He is easy to recognise.
We saw Pomares for the first time on 15.4. He is an exceptionally large Pilot Whale and still moves in the same group of 5-9 animals as last year. Punto, who owes his name to a white spot on his back, was a new member of the same family.
Sonja was seen very often and mostly with Dani. However, she also changed families from time to time. On two days she could be seen with Gorbatschow, who had a head injury. She often came close to the boat and her notch on the dorsal fin was clearly visible.
Rikki, the older female, we observed regularly from May onwards. With her injury behind her fin, she can be seen from far away. However, she also has the courage to come close to the boat together with her large family.
Drakula came to the boat very often starting in April. He is a proud male and had a fishing line on his tail fluke for a while from May onwards. His toothed dorsal fin makes him easily recognisable to everyone.
We have given names to a few more easily recognisable Pilot Whale males and added them to our list. When we see them again next year, we will also include them as sponsored animals.
Sperm Whale and Orcas
Observador,is the only Sperm Whale that comes swimming towards our boat to then dive majestically in front of our eyes. He did us this favour on 6.6. It is every time unbelievable how close he comes to the boat and even our boat crew holds their breath!
We saw the first Orcas only on 25.07. and then only on 14 more trips. Surprisingly, "our" well-known Orcas, namely Camorro, Baby Wilson and the Matriarchin were not among them, but mainly females with young. We hope, of course, that they are doing well and will come back to the Strait of Gibraltar next season.
Lucia, the beloved mother of Estrella and Manuela, has unfortunately died of pulmonary oedema, as Portuguese scientists from the Algarve have reported. We hope that the two young ones are doing well and that we will be able to see them again next year after all.