Sensational trip in October including surprise
by Katharina Heyer
October 11th should be a very special day. Despite heavy rain in the morning we decided to plan two trips around noon and in the afternoon. Already the first tour was very nice; we saw three different animal species: common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales. The bottlenose dolphins jumped and were very active. But none of us had any idea in which way this trip should be topped by the next one.
We left the harbour around 15.00 o'clock and already after about 20 minutes, still on the Spanish side of the Strait of Gibraltar, I had discovered several blows. I immediately thought that this could not be the blow of dolphins or pilot whales. It had to be something bigger, and it wasn't the area where pilot whales normally would be. As we got closer, my guess was confirmed. It was something bigger. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw three Orca mothers and their young ones.
Orcas in October? Since we hadn't seen them often this year, it was really a big surprise. The three little orcas were of different ages. One was just about a week old, we immediately called it Tina. The colour, which otherwise shines white in adult orcas, was still tinted orange in this small animal. This makes it easy to tell that it is only a few days old. The other calf was Jara, whom we had already seen this summer. The third in the bunch was probably Baby Wilson, but we can't confirm that for sure. The three swam behind their mothers towards the Atlantic Ocean. We could observe them for 45 minutes. The two older offspring even came curiously beside and under the boat. The excitement with the guests was great. But also our crew was very excited. Immediately the mobile phones were pulled out and countless photos were taken.
I thought about following the orcas towards the Atlantic because I suspected the males there. Unfortunately, the big tidal waves caused by the changing tides kept me from doing so.
Nevertheless we came back to Tarifa happy and content after two exciting hours.