Whale & Dolphin Tours
Of the many attractions Gibraltar has to offer visitors whale & dolphin tours are one of the most exciting for nature enthusiasts. Having said that you really don't have to be a nature enthusiast to appreciate the beauty and intelligence of these magnificent creatures, and dolphins in particular seem to draw and be drawn to children. Who knows why but I can only surmise it is the simple love of life and care free playfulness that dolphins and children share.
Whale & Dolphin Tours
A variety of dolphin species can be found in the Bay and Strait of Gibraltar all year round, as well as some whales such as the Longfin Pilot Whale, although whales don't tend to enter the Bay very often, preferring to stay in the more open waters of the Strait. During the peak season months of July and August is the time to see the mighty Killer Whale as this coincides with the tuna migration season. Visitors going on whale & dolphin tours will be lucky to spot a Killer Whale as very few numbers visit the Straits each year as opposed to the common dolphin that sometimes gather in herds of hundreds.
What visitors are more likely to see during whale & dolphin tours are the Longfin Pilot Whale that number between 200 – 300 in the Straits and swim and hunt in pods of up to 20. These are more social creatures, not overly frightened by all the shipping activity and rather curious like the dolphins. Other less frequent visitors to the Straits include the Humpback, Sperm and Minky Whale. Dolphins on the other hand are a common sight in the Strait and Bay, especially the Common Dolphin and if you're lucky the Striped and Bottlenose Dolphins.
Wild dolphins are a pleasure to watch in their natural environment and with their streamlined bodies can reach speeds of over 30 miles per hour and dive as deep as 280 metres when chasing prey. They tend to live their entire lives in family groups ranging from just a few to a few hundred and use exceptional teamwork when they hunt, corralling fish as cowboys and their horses would corral cattle. They also care for the injured and even worry around a birthing mother much as a midwife would do.
Whale & dolphin tours can be taken with a selection of tour operators in Gibraltar as well as across the bay in Algeciras and the popular beach town of Tarifa. Tours are normally about 2 hours in duration and most tour operators are that confident in their abilities to find these mammals, if you don't at least spot dolphins they will take you on another tour free of charge.