We arrive at our accommodation in Tarifa. After dinner there will be a talk by our accompanying naturalist who will introduce us to the local nature.
We board our sailboat early from either port Tarifa or Barbate, whichever is more suitable at the time. The captain’s wisdom will guide us through the waters of the Strait with first hand information about the different cetacean species, the star one being the orca, our primary objective. These intelligent predators have been catching tuna in this area since time immemorial, taking advantage of the underwater topography to lay traps for migrating bluefin tuna. The Phoenicians had already observed this behaviour and placed the first tuna nets in this area. Held in reverence since ancient times, the trident pattern which is found on the stomachs of these large dolphins went on to become a symbol of Poseidon, god of the sea. The whole day will be used to navigate and observe different species, indentifying them and learning about their biology.
A boat on the high seas is a fantastic way to observe pelagic birds like seagulls, skuas, gannets, shearwaters, and storm petrels. It is also possible to witness, from an exceptional vantage point, the large gliding birds migrating over us if the tour coincides with the season.
We return to our accommodation and have dinner.
After breakfast we set off for an excursion through el Campo de Gibraltar.
The time of year will dictate our schedule for the day. If it is migrating season, we will use the opportunity to watch this unique ornithological spectacle from the ground, using some of the high observation points in the area. Our accompanying naturalist will help us to identify the different species as they pass by. If it is not migrating season, the day will be used make a tour through the interesting habitats found in the area, like the canutos, or cork oak forests.
Lunch and departure.
CETACEAN TOUR - Strait of Gibraltar - 3 days / 2 nights
Tours start on a regular basis from several cities.
You can go on your own to the meeting point of every tour.
The strait of Gibraltar is the southern most part of the Iberian Peninsula and bridge between Europe and Africa which has served to unite the two continents for millions of years. It is one of the most important natural areas in Spain with extensive Mediterranean forests of cork oak, marshlands, pastures and beaches almost completely intact that stretch over many kilometres of coastline. In this setting, the travelling naturalist finds the beauty of migration undertaken by many vertebrates over this natural pass. Thousands of raptors, storks and passerines can be found crossing in one direction or another depending on the time of year. Large migrating fish cross this narrow stretch which joins the Atlantic with the Mediterranean to find, waiting in ambush, the ocean’s largest predator – the killer whale.
Due to the particular conditions produced by the meeting of two different seas, the waters of the strait are very fruitful, producing a high biodiversity. Invertebrates reside here in large numbers and the large plant community is a haven for the fish. At the apex of this pyramid we find an extraordinary abundance of cetaceans. These marine mammals offer here one of the best places in Europe to be observed.
We can find around 2,500 dolphins from species such as Risso’s dolphin, the long-finned pilot whale (which, despite its name, is a dolphin), the short-beaked common dolphin, the striped dolphin and the bottlenose dolphin as well as orcas, with around forty specimens in the area. In spring, with luck, it is possible to catch sight of the fin whale and the sperm whale.
Although making sightings of cetaceans is the main objective of the tour, we will not forget the other aspects tied to the immense natural richness of the area. Few spectacles are as impressive for any nature lover as the migration of the large gliding birds which cross over the strait. Eagles, kites, and vultures, all eternal travellers, cross the dangerous stretch of water, accompanied by endless rows of storks, harassed by aggressive seagulls. They come in very large numbers providing a challenge for the ornithologists who have to count them year after year.
The census often suggests 12,000 European honey buzzards, 55,000 black kites, 15,000 booted eagles, and 10,000 short-toed snake eagles, to give a few examples. Of the flora found in this region, something that stands out is a formation exclusive to el Campo de Gibraltar called canutos, abrupt drops carved out by erosion which is home to subtropical vegetation from the tertiary period and found along the banks of the Mediterranean. These canutos can be found here and in the Laurisilva rainforests of the Canary Islands.
P.V.P.: from 350€/pax*
*Single Extra Fee 40€/pax
• 3 days / 2 nights in a double cabin on board.
• Bed and breakfast
• Marine Biologist companion during the expedition.
• Projections daily marine cetaceans
• Disembark for the interpretation of animal life in the area.
• Fuel: diesel and gasoline.
NOT INCLUDED :
•Personal expenses such as tips, extra drinks, etc ...
- Rain coat
- Moutain shoes