The orcas are keeping us busy!
by firmm Team
On our first trip in the morning of the 26th of August 2006 it was evident right from the beginning that something unusual was going on. A small group of pilot whales appeared at a rather unusual spot - in the middle of the sea line between the ships that were going in and out. Normally we meet them further south, closer to the Moroccan coast. After the boat had left the group again as not to stay too long with the animals, we could not find more pilot whales or bottlenose dolphins or any other animals. The area where they normally are at this time of day was simply empty. There seemed to be no obvious reason for the absence of the animals when we suddenly saw some bigger bubbles emerging in the direction of the Mediterranean Sea. The smaller one of the two killer whale groups we have in the Strait of Gibraltar
(5 animals) was swimming calmly towards the Atlantic Ocean. Apparently the pilot whales had avoided the advancing killer whales and could therefore not be seen in their common area. It is very unusual to see the killer whales that far eastwards in the Strait of Gibraltar. So much the better was the joy of the guests on the boat who could observe these majestic hunters without being booked on a 3-hours orca trip.
Tarifa's fishermen (one of them is Malia occasionally works as a marinero on one of our boats) even reported that in this season the killer whales are not only eating the tuna from the fishing rods but fairly everything the fishermen are catching with their lines and hooks. It seems that these very smart animals have added various other types of fish to their diet. It will be interesting to follow this development further on. The reasons for the change of their behaviour are still unknown. We do not know for sure if it is due to the fact that less and less tuna is fished or only because the killer whales have learned that they can also get other easy prey from the fishermen's hooks.
Alle Bilder: K. Heyer