Three amazing days
by firmm Team
Text: Edeltraud Konradt, Fotos: firmm
The title is a total understatement. What happened here in the Strait of Gibraltar is unbelievable or incredible, no it is a sensation!
09th of October 2018: the 2 pm tour started as usual, well, the sea was a little rough. We had waves and wind, weather which makes the sailor's heart beat faster. All the guests were fine; they had fun and were waiting excitedly for the sightings. But it took a while…Of course it is more difficult to spot the animals in the waves. So we almost thought that today we wouldn't see anything, but then the announcement came from Katharina from the fly deck: “A blow at ONE o'clock, a sperm whale.” We all looked there eagerly, but at first there was nothing to see. The eye first had to adapt to find what should be there, when Katharina's voice sounded again: "No, no Sperm Whale, it is a Fin Whale, at TWO o’clock you can see him".
Yesssssssss, and then he was seen, a long slim whale body moved before our eyes through the waves. It seemed to be infinitely long. We accompanied him a little and so we could enjoy the sight three more times, whenever he appeared at the water surface to breathe. Soooooo beautiful. Fantastic because we haven't had Fin whale sightings since June. Then we saw bottlenose dolphins and so this trip came to an end.
10th of October, 2018: the 4 pm tour started relaxed, because on this day the weather was gloriously sunny, still and the sea smooth. The guests on this trip enjoyed the sun on the way to the area where we search for whales and soon we had bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales, we watched them in their element. In front at the boat, on the right, sometimes on the left, again and again a pilot whale dived under the boat. Satisfied I strolled backwards to the stern and looked into the surroundings until my eye got stuck at a fountain.
Ohhh a blow ... I just saw it..... far away ... but nevertheless a blow. I waited until the ferry that was passing was gone, and looked eagerly at the spot in the distance, but there was a second boat in front of my eyes and still I saw it, I saw it. A blow, a blow, my heart was pounding like mad; when the ship is gone and the blow is still there, then I sound the alarm. So I stood there and hoped and kept my two fingers crossed: Please let the blow be still there... please. Only slowly the ship moved forward, I nearly burst with excitement. Then I had sight again and Yesssssssss there it is. I pushed myself through the guests on board who were still watching the pilot whales and tore open the door to the captain's cabin and called in: a blow, a blow in the back at six o’clock. A small moment later Katharina then announced the blow: "Please hold on, we're going fast, we've seen a blow". Now we were on our way to the blow, but it was not certain yet, will it still be there? And there he was. Sperm whales lie 10 minutes on the surface of the water and fill up with oxygen, which they pack into the whole body musculature and blood vessels. When he was done with it, he tilted his head and then we saw the back of his body and he went down very slowly. The last thing we saw of him was his fluke. Wow, said all the guests on board; incredibly beautiful. So this day came to an end.
11th of October, 2018: on the 4 o'clock tour we experienced nothing unusual. Weather was overcast, only partly sunny, but nice and warm. We had only started our trip and only left a short distance on the way to the usual search area behind us, when Katharina announced: a blow, it could be a fin whale, hold on, we drive fast. At 1:00 o'clock Katharina announced the sighting. Now we got excited, all guests on board looked for a place at the windows, after all who doesn’t want to stand in the first row if there is something to see. The excitement on board grows. Then came the announcement, no no Fin whale, it could be a Sperm whale, OHs and AHs could be heard, then the statement, but no they are Orcas, yes they are Orcas. The amazement and surprise in Katharina’s voice was noticeable. Now someone should have taken photos, we, the members of the crew, looked at each other, laughed and were happy like crazy. Orcas in October what a sensation! In October the orcas are back. I cannot describe this blissful feeling, the third day and such an incredible sighting. Soon we arrived near the animals, beside the boat three Orca mothers swam with one young one each. We all were stunned; speechless we watched the animals heading towards the Atlantic Ocean. Among the young animals was a baby, a new-born, it still had its yellowish colour, it looked so small next to its mother. Orca babies are 2 - 2.5 meters tall when born and weigh up to 180 kg. Well, you can’t call that exactly small. As always, we stayed at a suitable distance from them and were amazed and astonished until we had to go back. Time always flies while observing animals, but today it was especially short. We said goodbye to the orcas and returned blissfully. Such a sensational day came to an end.