Between March and October there are a number of companies that offer daily trips to the Strait of Gibraltar from their base in Tarifa
, to observe up to seven different species of whales and dolphins in their natural environment. Beside two small species of dolphins (the Common and the Striped Dolphin), they regularly sight Pilot Whales and Bottelnose Dolphins. From around April to July, the biggest toothed whale, the Sperm Whale, can be found in the Strait of Gibraltar too. Furthermore, even a Fin Whale (the second biggest animals on earth) passes by occasionally. For a short time only, between July and August, the Orcas travel to the Strait of Gibraltar, to feed on the Tuna caught with long lines by the Moroccan and Spanish fishermen. In addition to the daily trips, firmm® also offers courses of one or two weeks. During these courses the participants receive lectures from biologists on marine biological topics, focusing on marine mammals.
One of these tour companies, Firmm, also collects data on every trip they do, to get an overview on the population dynamics and the migration behaviour, especially of the Pilot Whales. They also take pictures of the dorsal fins from different Pilot Whales, to identify individual animals and get more information about the social structures of these groups. This data is analysed by their biologists and provides a solid base for the understanding of the behaviour and the distribution of the whales in the Strait of Gibraltar.
Thanks to Michael Casanova of Firmm (Foundation for Information and Research on Marine Mammals) for providing me with the background information on the marine life in the Straits of Gibraltar. For information on how to accompany Firmm or another whale watching tour company on their tours, see the links at the bottom of this page.