The guests aboard our traditional boat had the pleasure of meeting the two cetacean species from the genus Stenella today. This morning a medium sized pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) was busy hunting in the waters outside Calheta, with only a handful of these usually incredibly curious dolphins approaching our boat. At the bow spotted are uniquely dynamic, swimming energetically through the waves and gliding sideways to leap and gain speed. Needless to say, it’s always a pleasure to watch them in action from the deck of our traditional boat!
Our spotter then located a more quiet group but much larger group about two nautical miles further offshore and the proximity to our first group of dolphins, allowed us to assume that this might be the pod they had dissociated from shortly before we encountered them. The group dynamic may have been similar to spotted dolphins but these were in fact Striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), the shyer cousins of our summer dolphins. The animals were moving in tight formation and a dozen carefully approached the bow of our boat and swam a couple of meters beneath it, peering upwards at us…a typical Striped bow-ride!
Our Ribeira Brava enjoyed yet another bow-ride from some spotted dolphins this afternoon, a refreshing piece of action to help endure todays hot afternoon sun and high swell. It’s always a pleasure to have some Stenellas at the bow, let’s hope our zodiac STENELLA returns from dry dock very soon so she too can welcome her namesake dolphins at her bow once again.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Striped dolphins