The alarm clock was ringing a few minutes before 8 am. Diving is a great hobby… but the early morning times are really bad. We managed it somehow to get out oft he bed in 15 minutes. I had in mind that the guy from the dive shop said that weg o at 9:30 am. At 9 we was still not ready and I was calling the guy, that we come a bit later. But he said that they start at 10. Ohh… then I had it wrong in my mind.
We arrived around half past 8 finally at the dive shop. Here was it busy already. We was the last ones. Quickly looking for the boss, to saying hello. The people here was (like all divers) very friendly and gave us a quick overview. Then we had to fill out the usual papers (dive checkup, health overview and signing that – in case that something happens – the dive shop has no responsibility). Then quickly getting the equipment ready and getting changed. They was waiting already for us…
We went out with a small boat. We were approx 8 divers and 3 instructors. We got Moritz. Moritz, approx. my age and originally from Switzerland. We was very glad about it, so we could get the instructions in German. Of course we didn’t went to the wreck, as the man on the phone, the day before, said. We went to a dive spot from which I forgot the name already again.
We arrived at the dive spot on the south side of the island.
I had problems with equalizing again and had to go down slowly, to equalize properly. Julia had a totally different problem. She had not enough weight on the weight-belt and couldn’t submerge. Moritz had to drag her down. But then, after maybe 10 minutes, we were all down.
The visibility was bad. Everywhere sediments, which was reducing the visibility down to 10 meter. Maybe even less. And the water was cold. 17 degrees down and 18 on the surface. Atlantic is not the Mediterranean anymore. Well… it is half / half from both here. Of course I didn’t take gloves and hood with me. But I was brave And after a few minutes was it ok.
We went down to the depth of the Street of Gibraltar… well, at least to 30 meter (of max 1000 meter) But we didn’t saw a lot. Just almost the same fish as in Cyprus, but bigger. We saw 2 (scary) huge crabs and some fish. That’s it.
The dive incl. safety stop was 44 minutes. Disappointing.
We got back on the boat and then back to the harbor and dive shop. We didn’t had much time to relax. Just a few minutes and then we were starting for the 2nd dive. In the meantime I’ve checked when we will be back from the second dive and booked us in for the 5pm tour whale watching.
I just finished it and had to go back on the boat straight away. This time we drove more around the island, on the west side, to the Atlantic side… luckily the water wasn’t even more cold on this side… but more warm also not.
Moritz said that we will see maybe now a wreck of an old steamer boat. But just the boiler are left, he said.
So, we went back to the water. This time we had strong current. We had to get used to it first of all, but then we could use it to drift and it was cool. I saw this time a big octopus (the other both just swam over it and didn’t saw it). Plus a few (different) snails and fish again.
But the wreck we didn’t reached anymore. 2 dives without any wreck.
Back at the dive shop we used first of all the shower, which are there in the shop. A dream! And they provide even soap and shampoo dispenser. This service does worth a mind. We could even finally take a normal great shower. And on the other hand is a hot shower after a dive in the Atlantic ocean also great. Fresh it could go to the bad part on it (for us)… paying. 37,50 for one dive and per person. Actually it is a good price (incl. equipment). But for low-budget traveler like we are… is it a fortune. We also bought straight a few diving postcards (and got some for free on top.. with advertising of course). So, I lost 80 Euro for half a day. But… I was diving in the Street of Gibraltar.
I can recommend the dive school Yellow Sub in Tarifa! The people there was very nice and friendly, they spoke good/perfect German and English. The equipment was good and they was always behind us to help us. Pity that they couldn’t hold their promises with the dive spots. That was a minus for me, because I love to dive at wrecks (the landscape is everywhere similar, but wrecks are the real treasures). An exception is dolphins and whales, of course.
But in general is this dive shop good. Especially the possibility to take a shower is a huge plus!
We went back to the car, after everything was done. Changing clothes, grabbing the cameras and taking out the dive stuff. And then we had to go already again, to go Whale Watching with Firmm. But before we went out with the boat, they made half an hour an information round to the subject. I liked it a lot, even I couldn’t get many new information. The introduced the local species of dolphins and whales and said a bit about then. The Common Dolphin, the Striped Dolphin, the Bottlenose Dolphin, the long-finned Pilot Whale, the Orca, the Sperm Whale and the Fin Whale. That is a lot more than I expected. The lady said to every species a few words and I also liked a lot that she also spoke about why Dolphins are not made to live in capacity. Pity that this subject was just mentioned ‘beside’. But better than nothing.
Of course was she also introducing the foundation and said a bit about the Street of Gibraltar. That the meeting of the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic ocean produces a very seldom current, which is the base of best conditions that the food can grow, which they eat. She said as well that the tuna is passing the street to spawn in the Mediterranean sea. The Orca is following them, he loves the tuna. But the tuna get also caught by the fishermen… en masse… before they can spawn. And for whom? Yes, for the Japanese market (for sushi e.g.). So the tuna get caught before he can multiply. Japan… there it is again. That reminds me on the Japanese Whaling fleet in the Arctic and the probably most known village in Japan (for me and many Dolphin friends), Taiji. Every year they kill there thousands of Dolphins… to get some Dolphins for dolphinariums and for… nothing. Dolphin consists higher doses of quicksilver and it is dangerous to eat it.
After the information round we went on the boat. I don’t know how many people we was, but some… 50 maybe.
I wanted the place direct in the front. At the bow. I didn’t wanted to stay somewhere in the middle of a group of 50 people, in case that there would be a Dolphin or Whale. I wanted to see a Whale and not the back of the head of the guy in front of me. One of the crew member gave me a sign that it is possible, but later. After we left the harbor, I saw the reason. We drove first against the waves. The spray made even the back part of the boat wet. If I would be out there on the bow, I would be wet in seconds. So we was waiting patient and was watching the landscape.
Then, finally, the captain turned the boat to the south, to Africa. Now we could go out, in front of the boat, and I caught my place in the front. Great view. But still a bit wet. I just took out my camera, with the big 300mm lens, as a big wave hit the boat and… *patsch* everything was wet.
I was putting it quickly back in my backpack and just kept the GoPro in my hand. The GoPro is at least waterproofed and can’t get damaged from water. Would be bad if I would kill my good camera now.
And then we had to wait, to search and to look… on the water.
We got really close to Marocco… Africa. Very close. That was Julias target. Being close to Africa. I didn’t cared about Africa at all. I wanted to see a Wale. As bigger and more impressive as better. I was standing in the front and observed the sea. 2 crew member from Firmm was standing lookout and was searching from there (I am sure that a few passenger was starring as well on the sea). 2 hours was we searching and searching… till the captain finally changed the curse to the north, in direction to Tarifa. I’ve known that he is heading back to the harbor now. Now or never… and I was still starring over the wavy sea. Africa behind us, on the left side the sun deep on the sky and mirroring in the sea, on the right side the Mediterranean sea with some huge container vessels and in front of us Spain. The waves was hitting the boat, partly so strong that the spray came over the whole front. I was long time wet already. My trousers, shirt and the backpack were dripping. I didn’t care, I wanted to see a Wale today… or at least a Dolphin. But more likely a Wale. Even with the fear to get sick, which wouldn’t be so nice on the trip, didn’t had any influence on it.
Approx 20 minutes later came the guy from the stuff again and have me a sign to come in (I was longer already alone there in the bow). We arrived a few minutes later in the harbor… without seeing anything. Which disappointment.
Of course is there no guarantee. It’s never there, when we try to see animals in their freedom. And I like it more not to see animals in freedom then seeing them for sure in captivity. This point of view was helping me to smile again. Partly I was standing there, on the bow, and was smiling to myself… Because I didn’t saw Wales and/or Dolphins… this means that they are free!
A discord, I could say. Sad and glad in the same time, that I didn’t saw the beloved Wales.
We went back to the ‘base’. The foundation gives, in the case that we see nothing on the trip, free tickets for another trip. Money back was unfortunately no option. But we had to leave the next day and a free ticket was not an option for us. Especially because they would go the next day from Algeciras, at 3pm. It would be a detour as well. But we took the tickets anyway. You never know. Maybe we could sell them.
After the tour we went back to the car. I needed to get rid of the wet clothes, before I really get sick. We decided that we wanted to go out to eat something and to see if we get internet somewhere. We choose a little restaurant opposite the harbor. They didn’t had internet, but something to eat. Not a big menu, but better than nothing. I’ve chosen the Gnocchi again. They was tasty.
After a while came 2 Austrians on the table next to us. Julia asked them if they would like to have the tickets for the Whale Watching maybe. They would have liked to do it, but they was also leaving on the next day. It was a nice couple, middle 20s, from Vienna. They offered us straight a sleeping place in Vienna, in case we would pass by. It was a bit strange to offer a stranger straight a couch… but sweet as well. We was chatting a while, till I became sleepy. I wanted to go back to the car. Also I think it is impolite to talk to people while they are eating.
We went back to our Kangaroo. … What a day.
The night was quite and like that was also the day starting… quite.
First of all we had a walk through the city on the plan. We had still 3 tickets for the Whale Watching to sell. Our travel budget would be glad if we could manage it.
So we went to the town center. Most of the bars and restaurants was still closed. First station was the Post office. Here should be a Deutsche Bank (according to Inge), even if ATM. So we went to the desk. Unfortunately was it a branch of the Spanish German Bank, it is not possible for Julia to get money here… funny, hmm?
Well, we went to the next café with internet. It was working more bad then well. But ok, better than nothing. 2 more chanced to sell the tickets failed as well. I was checking how my financial status is and was more than surprised. I was spending more money than I thought/hoped. Actually I was already at the limit of my travel budget. Expenses, which were not directly connected to the trip, not included (like the solar system). So, I had to be careful with my expenses now… and even more need now to sell the tickets. But nobody wanted them
On the way back we passed the harbor again, where the office from Firmm is. Maybe exactly now are some tourists there which would like to make Whale Watching. But unfortunately nobody was there. But at the dive shop, next door, was it busy. So I went there and asked Moritz if he know maybe someone who would like to have the tickets… and I was lucky. Moritz itself took them. He wanted to go anyway soon again Whale Watching with his girlfriend. Great. So we was helping him to get cheaper tickets and he was spending money for our poor traveling fund. Mission accomplished.
We went back to the car, was packing our stuff and drove. In direction to Portugal, the west end of our trip. I found a very nice place for the night, at least on the map. Faro. Here are some lagoons… many lagoons. At the most end point I expected a very calm point. I told Inge to bring us there.
The way there was hot. We drove first of all to the north, in the domestic of Spain. Till Sevilla and then to the west to Faro. We never had such a hot day on our trip like this. The thermometer in the car said 45 degrees in the car. To open the window was not helping anymore. The wind had the same temperature. We died.
Therefore we saw something wonderful. In the middle of this hot hell were storks. On almost every single pylon was a bird-nest. On the big electricity pylon was sometimes 4-5 nests on one single pylon. Next to each other, above each other… as there was place. We saw even road signs with stork nests. That was great to see.
I can remember that in my childhood was a (single) stork nest in my home town. A stork family was breading on an old chimney. But one year they didn’t come anymore. And some when was the nest not there anymore. Now I don’t even know if the chimney is still there.
But here… here they are in masses. And that is somehow wonderful. So many storks in one place. It’s really cool.
We drove the 400km this day and arrived in the evening at the place I’ve told Inge to lead us to. Unfortunately is the place not that quite as I hoped. This spot was also explored by the Portuguese people and they was building a lot of holiday houses there already. It was late already. So we was looking anyway for a parking place. We found one between all the other cars. Only Portuguese car signs, so no tourist holiday houses. More for locals.
We went to a café and I was drinking a beer and we enjoyed the great night view. In front of us the lagoon, in which the lights of the airport were mirroring, which is behind.
After we just went to bed.