The first Orcas 2016
by firmm Team
Text: Christine / Fotos: firmm
Saturday, the 02nd of July 2016 I had an unexpected call from a colleague from the firmm-office. Excited they told me that one of our former captains had just spotted the first Orcas from his fishing boat near the Strait of Gibraltar. Of course I instantly hurried to the port, to join the “normal” 2-hour tour at 11.00 o’clock. We all had to hide our excitement, because the passengers didn’t have a clue. They had no idea that eventually we could see the first Orcas of the season.
It was a wonderful day, almost windless, sunny and with a calm sea. My colleague Brigitte and I were sitting in the sun in the front part of our new boat firmm-VISION and enjoyed the trip. After leaving the harbour our captain Antonio headed straight to the region where the Moroccan fishermen are near Cap Spartel, where we suspected the Orcas. After more or less 45 minutes we already reached the small Moroccan fisher boats, lying calmly in the water, fishing with their lines. But no trace of the Orcas, for that reason we went further in the direction of Tangier.
After only a few miles we saw far away the splashing of the first Orcas. As we approached slowly we saw three younger females, jumping now and then slightly out of the water, and then diving down once again for several minutes.
We observed them breathless for a while, as this was the first Orca-sighting of the year. After a while we spotted more Orcas, although further away and between a ferry and another boat. To not harass the animals, we waited patiently until the other boats moved away from the animals.
Then we approached this second group, and the joy was huge, when Katharina announced through the loudspeakers that one of the calves was “our” adoptive whale Baby Wilson.
The three calves jumped, breached and played constantly. They offered us a veritable show and it seemed as if they wanted to show us what they were able to do.
Shortly after, the rest of the family appeared, amongst them the already elderly male “Camacho”, father and grandfather, whom we already know since 1999.
The whales swam, jumped, panted and even dived underneath our boat, what could be observed well through the underwater windows in the lower part of the boat.
Unfortunately our captain realized that actually we should have been heading home already for quite a while and so we returned slowly to Tarifa.All of us, the guests, and the boat crew, our guide, Katharina and of course ourselves were still completely overwhelmed by this unique spectacle when we arrived with a delay of 20 minutes in the harbour of Tarifa.
From now one we are offering once again our special three-hour tours, so that all interestedcan admire these wonderful and unique animals in free nature.