|Photo: World War II gun emplacements atop Gibraltar, guarding against Nazi shipping in and out of the Mediterranean
We could talk about the tax havens and shelters of Gibraltar, its iconic image in Prudential Insurance Company commercials-
or of its military importance because of its strategic location at the mouth of
the Mediterranean. For us, especially Nancy, it is all about the dolphins
and whales you can see off the coasts of Gibraltar.
As an interesting aside, one of our guides told us that the
marine group we watched off the coast includes dolphins, whales, and porpoises,
but NOT seals and walruses. Naturally, we wanted to know what was the difference?
“Well,” he said, “walrus and seals come onto
land to give birth to their young. Dolphins, whales, and porpoises never come
to shore. They spend their entire life in the water. It’s one of those little
facts that will make you seem outstandingly intelligent if you mention it in conversation.”
We hope you are duly impressed...
Another little fact he dropped on us puts whale-watching in
a whole new perspective. Most people agree whales are large, but how large is
In some cases, he said, they may grow to be 120ft long- that’s
nearly half a football field in length, and may weigh up to 190 tons. In comparison,
the Boeing B747 airliner weighs 150 tons (300,000 pounds!) when empty. The guy was a storehouse of such information.