Otto, our new team member, had his first and very successful day at work today. He waited patiently in an airport shop until one day my eyes fell on him. He was lying there alone on the shelf and since Sperm whales are very social animals, he couldn’t stay there. So he embarked on a long journey to finally meet his con-specifics in the sea today. Our guests and Otto saw a total of four large Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus). The big toothed whales drifted calmly on the sea surface and prepared for their next dive with intensive breathing. While humans have an oxygen use of 9-10%, marine mammals have an oxygen use of 90%. So they are very effectively able to enrich their myoglobin-containing muscles and blood with the oxygen they need for a dive. In order to be able to illustrate a Sperm whale to the guests well, Otto agreed to act as a visual object.
We went from the relaxed whales to the lively Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis). For them today it was about two things. At first there seemed to be an intense love energy in the air, various small groups were quite busy with each other. Second, it looked as if they were competing with the birds to see who could get up into the air the highest. Leaps are a non-verbal form of communication. Today a wide variety of statements came into question: “Look how great I am.”, “I am the stronger one, I have more to say here.” or “Jippi, life is beautiful.”
We were as well able to admire another species of dolphin in the calm, smooth sea. Beautiful Short-beaked Common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) glided in light elegance through the Atlantic blue. Common dolphins are, of course, not very common in their appearance. They got their name because in former times this was a very common species of dolphins, since they were seen in large numbers. They are already depicted on ancient frescoes.
So Otto, the guests, and we really enjoyed this tour.
By Fatima Kutzschbach
Sightings of the day
10:00 Sperm whales, Atlantic spotted dolphins, Common dolphins