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September 15, 2023

Beaked whales!

© OCEANA / Enrique Talledo


Finally sailing! We couldn’t leave the harbour yesterday evening because there was a very strong wind, and we had to wait until early morning. Once the wind calmed down, we started sailing towards the west of Alboran Island.

Heading towards Alboran Island we passed through the Chella Bank. We were looking for dolphins, which are common there, but there weren’t any. A little bit later, we saw a small group, but they didn’t approach the boat. Luckily, a few miles later we saw another group. Within minutes we were surrounded by common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) jumping in all directions. Some of them came up to the boat and spent a few minutes bow riding.

Later on, we saw three Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) and two minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata). These cetaceans are not easily spotted in the Mediterranean Sea.

In 2015, the Natura 2000 site Espacio marino de Alborán was designated as part of the same conservation project that also protected Sur de Almería – Seco de los Olivos –which comprises the Chella Bank. Neither of these sites has a management plan in place yet. Actually, they are among the most heavily trawled protected areas in Spain, according to an analysis of satellite signals carried out by Oceana.

During the night, the wind increases and we start heading towards Gibraltar…

© OCEANA / Enrique Talledo. Senior Marine scientist Helena Álvarez watching with binoculars. Alboran Sea, Andalucia, Spain.