Song of the Whale research vessel gets an unexpected escort off the coast of Spain

Watch this amazing video of the pilot whales who swam along side the Song of the Whale.


We’ve had many fantastic sightings over the last couple of days but a few stand out.

Two nights ago, while just off the SW coast of Spain, near Almeria, Edd, ship’s mate, and I were on our night watch, when we noticed incredibly vivid bioluminescence in the water.

Soon after, we heard the distinctive blows of dolphins nearby and didn’t have to look too hard to find them‑they were leaving their own extremely bright bioluminescent trails as they swam through the water.

Bow-riding pilot whales tag along with IFAW's research vessel Song of the Whale.

A group of around 12 striped dolphins rode the bow wave of Song of the Whale for 15 minutes.

Soon after they left we saw something else bow-riding, much bigger this time.

Shining my head torch into the dark water we saw that we now had four long-finned pilot whales bow-riding instead.

They left almost as soon as they had arrived, but we felt privileged to have seen them at all.

The next morning brought more pilot whales, and this time they hung around the boat for over an hour.

We were able to get some really good photo-IDs, footage, and even managed to opportunistically collect some pilot whale scat (complete with squid beaks) and sloughed skin from the water.

IFAW's Song of the Whale gets an unexpected escort from a group of spirited pilot whales off the coast of Almeria, Spain.

We can use this to identify the prey that they’re eating to tell us more about their diet.

We are soon to arrive in Corsica, to make final preparations for Song of the Whale’s visit to Monaco and the start of our research project in the Aegean Sea.   


For more information about the International Fund for Animal Welfare's marine research work, visit our project page.

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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation