Well, it goes to show what can happen when you get it horribly
wrong and decide not to get up at 2.30 in the morning to watch us
travelling through the Straits of Gibraltar - at a more sensible
hour of the morning, a very dedicated passenger reported to us that
she and the Captain watched dolphins bow riding and leaping around
the ship as we came through this hot spot for cetaceans in the
early hours of the morning!
Saturday morning saw us back in the North Atlantic travelling off the coast of Morocco bound for Gran Canaria. The number of Gannets picked up throughout the day and travelling through some deep water areas we were expecting to pick up some of the bigger whale species as well as some of the lesser known Beaked Whales. Our first sighting was of 2 small Mesoplodon type beaked whales with the rostrum clearly visible first as the animals rolled at the surface - however, frustratingly they were rolling away from us so a profile of the head was never completely seen making it virtually impossible to positively identify these animals. A later sighting of another larger Beaked Whale was seen as the animal breached away from us at least 5 times at a distance of about 2 km. The animal was probably a Cuvier's Beaked Whale from it's size - Northern Bottlenose Whale was ruled out as the animal did not have a bulbous melon. Beaked Whales are notoriously difficult to identify and both these sightings highlighted this fact perfectly.
A late sighting of 2 Sperm Whale delighted many of the passengers. The animals were clearly seen blowing ahead of the ship with the characteristic 45 degree blow clearly visible. However, frustratingly they disappeared under the surface before we reached their position.
Sunday brought us 2 new species on this trip. Our first sighting of the day was a very active group of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins which were very energetic in the bow wave.