The Saison 2017 – a retrospective
by Jörn Selling
Photos: Katharina Heyer, Jörn Selling, Eduardo Montano Peralta et Miguel López Collantes.
In the season of 2017 Tarifa has once again shown its rough side. There were many days with the often strong "Levante" wind.Therefore we occasionally had to drive in the bay of Gibraltar, where despite the increasing environmental problems there are still some common dolphins. Striped dolphins and bottlenose dolphins could also be observed there. Most of the "best of" photos shown here were taken in front of Tarifa, in the Strait of Gibraltar.
Since they have become "uncommon" in the Mediterranean, we have seen them occasionally in small groups or as part of schools of striped dolphins.
Striped dolphins sometimes still move through the Strait of Gibraltar in large schools, where there is always a lot to see.
Bottlenose dolphins are the most acrobatic of the dolphin family. They're in a good mood, especially in the spring. Sometimes they perform their show close to the ship. They're watching us as well.
Pilot whales usually swim west to compensate for the constant Atlantic current into the Mediterranean.At high tide they can relax because the current decreases, then they get a little closer to our ship.Pilot whales suffer the most from sport fishermen.
The orcas travel in small groups, coming to the Strait of Gibraltar in summer to hunt tuna or to get their share from the fishermen.
2017 was a good sperm whale year. Especially spectacular: there was even a group of more than 10 animals, accompanied by pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins and sea birds.
The fin whales are the rarest and often travel alone or in pairs, exceptionally up to five. In summer they move out into the Atlantic.Almost all are heavily infested with parasitic blood-sucking copepods (crustaceans).
We wish everyone a good season 2018, both for the whales and their observers!