The Lone Kayaker on Vacation

 

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A change of scenery from the vast open expanse of the Atlantic to the slightly less vast open expanse of the Mediterranean. In Spain on the Costa del Sol within sight of Gibraltar.

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Gibraltar looms thirty miles away.

The super-smooth sea was conducive to a bit of continental-style offshore paddling under a pounding September sun with temperatures topping out in the high twenties. I had a few chums to take along…..

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Tabzer
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Peggy
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PS4
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Mark
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Becky

Of course I couldn’t resist paddling way out in the hope of meeting up with my favourite sea creature…Common Dolphin. They were very sensibly keeping well out of the way of the line of bloat-boats which were following the shore.

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Bloatboat Gin Palace

Sure enough there they were, about four miles offshore.It was great to watch the dolphins doing what dolphins do best…..being charismatic, energetic and dynamic.

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mediterranean Common Dolphin

This one is an adult because it has a black ‘beard’.

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The dolphins hung around  far beyond the domain of recreational kayaks (which is generally along the shore never far from a beach bar).

The only other kayaker I encountered about a mile out to sea was this kayak-fisherman who had the most well-equipped kayak I have ever seen. It was absolutely heaving with equipment. It even had an electric motor. The best feature for me, however, were the shark’s teeth.

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Spanish Kayak Fisherman

He clearly knew what he was about because he caught a whopping Dentex!!!

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A huge bonus on the Costa del Sol are the Cory’s Shearwaters that breed on the Balearic islands. They are only rare visitors to the UK. They are big, quite common, and very tame. They cruise about low over the water with their flap,flap, glide technique (like a huge bat), and every so often crash into the water in a rather poor quality dive, to catch a fish or squid.

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Cory’s Shearwater
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Cory’s Shearwater
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Cory’s Shearwater

During lulls in the feeding action they sit about on the surface having a bit of a social. Always well offshore however so well out of the way of any boats (and most kayakers!).

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Costa del Sol Cory’s
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Mark and Feathered friends

But, as usual, it was the dolphins that made my offshore trips complete. They never fail to impress.P1380034

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Dolphins and Cory’s Shearwater

 

 

A bit of a surprise….while taking a video of a mini dolphin feeding frenzy I thought that one of the jumping dolphins looked a bit odd. That’s because it was a Giant Tuna, the same size as a dolphin! Blinking Heck!

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Giant Tuna and very lucky fish

 

 

Beneath the water was a really weird jellyfish, a species I had never seen before. Like a cross between a jewel encrusted bracelet and a flying bedstead (one of the first flying machines). As usual for a jellyfish it was escorted by a little posse of fish.

 

 

Nice to see a few familiar Sandwich Terns migrating past, this juvenile perched on a buoy with Gibraltar in the background.

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Sandwich Tern

One day, the only one with wind from the west, resulted in a large migration of big birds along the coast. Several hundred Honey Buzzards, Black Kites, Booted Eagles, and this flock of approximately eighty White Storks several thousand feet up en route to Gib before crossing to Africa.

 

As the Storks head south it’s time for us to return north.

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Mark and Mountain

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