Dolphins and other Cetacia
Many of these delightful mammals can be seen around the coasts of Spain. Striped, Common and Bottlenose dolphins are the most frequent sightings, though long-finned Pilot whales, Fin whales, Sperm whales and Orcas also frequent many of Spain's coastal waters. In the Bay of Biscay, one might also find Minke whales and Risso's dolphins.
A popular whale watching spot is the Bay of Algeciras near Gibraltar
Jellyfish are found in all coastal areas here as they are in the UK. They are often difficult to see or avoid and coming into contact with them is sticky and unpleasant, but most are harmless.
Pelagia Noctiluca is a very common small jellyfish with a really painful sting which leaves marks on the skin. It varies in colour from mauve to brown.
Portuguese Man-O-War (
Treatment of Jellyfish Sting
If you are unlucky enough to be stung by a jellyfish, rinse with sea water. Do not rinse jellyfish stings with fresh water because it will re-trigger the stingers. Use sand, clothing, towels, seaweed or other available materials to remove any clinging tentacles. Whilst the tentacles remain on the skin, they will continue to discharge venom. Gently bathe with vinegar. Cover with talcum powder or shaving cream, let it dry and then scrape it off. Stings will usually fade within an hour.
Caution: DO NOT USE Methylated spirits, other forms of alcohol, picric acid or human urine, because recent research has found that all of these old remedies actually stimulate the stingers and may increase pain and cause severe skin reactions.
Warning: Some people are particularly allergic to the sting of the Jellyfish. If the person stung starts itching over other parts of the body, has breathing problems, swelling of the throat or feels feint, seek immediate medical attention from a doctor or hospital.
Are seen in Spanish waters and are highly protected against hunting. Anyone who would like to assist in preservation projects may be interested in the following two websites:
If you are unlucky enough to tread on an Urchin, do get proper treatment from a doctor or visit the hospital casualty without delay.
Sharks are found in the Mediterranean and are sometimes caught by fishermen but I have not heard of any problems caused by swimming from the beaches here although there have been isolated attacks in past years.
Sting Rays (rayas)
Stingrays can sometimes be found in shallow sandy sea beds. They are not aggressive but if trodden on, may lash out with their tail, resulting in grazing and irritation and also risk of infection.
These are more dangerous. They bury themselves in the sand waiting to attack smaller fish. Again if trodden on their poison-laden dorsal fin can cause intense pain and infection.