Whale & Dolphin Camp 2023

by firmm Team

the camp shirt

Text and photos: Janos Rumpel and the adolescents and instructors of the Whale & Dolphin Camp

From Saturday April 22nd to Sunday April 30th, 21 Swiss adolescents aged between 11 and 15 years travelled to Tarifa as part of the Whale & Dolphin Camp 2023. Accompanied by an experienced team of teachers, environmental educators, and environmental scientists, they were introduced to the world of whales and dolphins in the Strait of Gibraltar and joined five trips with the foundation firmm to observe whales.

Through lectures and films, they delved into different topics, such as the local, unsustainable tuna fishing methods, dolphins in captivity or the whaling methods that are still used worldwide. They also got to know the founder of firmm, Katharina Heyer, personally and asked her interesting questions about her story and the animals living here. The week was rounded off with excursions to the beaches of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, creative workshops to learn first Spanish words, designing their own camp T-shirts, jewellery, or diary entries - and much more! In the city, the market was explored, local tapas specialities were tasted and then a home-cooked tapas buffet was created and enjoyed in the accommodation.

Here, the young people themselves share their experiences:

the tapas buffet

«I found the whale trips and the shopping in the old town very cool. But it would have been great if the housekeeping had been done by everyone together and not just by individuals.» (Philipp)

«It was wonderful to have the opportunity to experience dolphins in the wild!» (Malea)

«The times at the beach when we could build sandcastles, swim and romp around were great.» (Milla)

«The week was fun, and we were very active. I was sorry that some children couldn't do all the activities due to illness or being unwell at sea.» (Mika)

«It was great that we could do lots of different activities in addition to the nice trips.» (Noé)

«I really enjoyed the time off in the evening - whether it was at the fitness park or on the beach at sunset.» (Leni)

«Somehow it was difficult for me to not have the mobile phone so much at my disposal, but somehow it was also cool that way.» (Andrej)

«The trips were really nice and also the time at the beach was great. » (Chiara)

«I loved standing in the front of the boat in the wind, watching the whales and dolphins.» (Jascha)

«It was really great that we were allowed to do our own shopping and cooking. » (Sturmi)

«I really enjoyed my time on the boat and would have loved to do even more whale watching trips.» (Nives)

«The sunsets right in front of the accommodation were brilliant. I thought it was a shame that my cooked tapa didn't work.» (Nick)

«The trips were cool. I would have liked to cook for ourselves more often.» (Lennox)

«The food in Tarifa was really tasty. Every now and then I wished we had a dishwasher after cooking.» (Richard)

«We had a lot of fun in our room, it was great to have our own place.» (Mathi)

«It was very nice to sail out to sea and see the whales. And that we cooked for ourselves in the flats.» (Joel)

«I loved playing football on the beach.» (Muse)

«I felt sorry for Katharina Heyer that she lost so much money with her project for a dolphin sanctuary.» (Tin)

«I really enjoyed the boat trips, even though I got a bit seasick. I also watched and caught little animals like crabs, shrimps and fish on the beach.» (Amelie)

«The whale watching trips were brilliant. Our kitchen didn't have all the utensils we needed, so that made it a bit difficult.» (Alex)

The team of instructors was also very satisfied with the camp week. After the first edition in 2019 and the cancelled camp in 2020 due to corona, the resumption this year was a complete success.

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