Tour without Orcas

by Jörn Selling

Photos: Sebastian Kanzler

On June 30th we started from the harbour of Tarifa in westerly direction to search for Orcas. These tours last three hours because we have to cover a larger area, and we can not guarantee that we really will find them. We have sighted the Orcas from April to November, but only in July and August they appear more or less on a regular basis close to the fishermen, who lay out their fishing lines in these two month in two different spots in the Strait of Gibraltar (with feeder current).

The sea was calm with a softly blowing breeze (Poniente), the sky clear and the view exceptionally. After half an hour on our way to the fishermen I saw the blow of a Sperm Whale in the south. Although it was a detour I didn’t hesitate to go there, because we never know if we are going to find the Orcas at all. One of the Sperm Whales slapped his tail fluke repeatedly on the water surface before he dived down, what he did shortly before our arrival. The second dived down only a short time later and we hadn’t even yet started our onward journey, when he suddenly jumped out from the depth, rested a short time and submerged. And once again no photo of it, although we have observed this on several occasions for years.

Probably men caused injury on the head 

A few hundred meters more to the west we saw two more Sperm Whales. One started to swim around our boat and inspected it, before he calmly dived down, following his buddy. And once again, only a few meters away from us, he shot up from the depth…..and again no photo, it was exasperating. But how can you anticipate such a thing, how can you hold the camera exactly at the right time in the right direction, especially when it comes to whales that do this so rarely? Only once a young Sperm Whale jumped two times in a row, that was back in 2013 and I could have caught the second jump, if only I had not assumed that he would not repeat it. That’s why I asked Sebastian, our graphic designer, who was standing with his camera right next to me on the roof, to hold the camera in the direction, just to be on the safe side.

Great display of power    

It was worth it, for the first time we had a photo of such a rare event,
I just had to hug him. A quarter of an hour later we saw another Sperm Whale, twenty minutes later 45 Bottlenose Dolphins and at the end Striped Dolphins. Although we couldn’t find the Orcas it was one of the most memorable excursions we have had in twelve years.

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