Tarifa 2012


Tarifa is the southernmost town in Spain, with a spectacular view across the Gibraltar Strait to Morocco. It used to be a fishing village, but these days it is a tourist destination, like so many others on the Costa del Sol and the Costa de la Luz, as well as a starting point for quick boat trips to Tangiers. Whale watching is a particular attraction in Tarifa, with dolphins, sperm whales and pilot whales being sighted regularly and fin whales passing through occasionally. These species are abundant because the Strait is a nutritionally rich area. On a net basis, water continually flows eastward into and through the Strait, due to an evaporation rate within the Mediterranean basin higher than the combined inflow of all the rivers that empty into it. That also creates a deep counter current that resurfaces shortly into the Atlantic and is then taken back to the Med with all nutritional material that was gathered from the bottom of the seas.
Additionally, end of July, early August, there is the tuna migration from the Mediterranean into the Atlantic, which attracts orcas. Moroccan fishermen catch tuna on long lines and the orcas wait for the catch to get exhausted and become an easy prey before being hauled on board. Apart from the general whale watching boat trips, there are special orca trips that last a bit longer and focus on the area around the small tuna fishing boats. More details can be found in the book "Walvissen kijken in Europa" (in Dutch only) by
Martijn de Jonge.

We visited Tarifa in the first week of August 2012 and spent most of our time on the various boats, trying our photographic luck with the various whale species during the day and enjoying the late Spanish dinners after sundown.


Fishermen, boats & whales
Pilot whales
Sperm whales
Tuna fishing
Landscapes & others