Overcast skies loomed over the Atlantic this morning and cast a grey shadow over the waters outside Calheta this morning. The combination of cloudy skies and wind is a difficult one when it comes to whale-watching. The grey colour of the water makes it hard for our spotter to distinguish the grey dorsal fins of cetaceans at sea from the water and the wind can make identifying animals hard for the crew at sea.
Nevertheless we decided to add some colour to this grey day with our traditional boat and the Atlantic seemed to join in as it unravelled a large group of its beautiful Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). These elegant dolphins are always a pleasure to encounter and their interactive nature often enables our crew to manage a close encounter with them. Today a dozen animals swam gracefully through the waves of our bow, flashing their stunning flank patterns as they twisted and turned in the waves. Common dolphins tend to be more abundant in the winter months where they are often observed hunting in small groups or casually cruising along the islands picturesque coastline.
We remained with the group for a while which also allowed some time for in-depth conversations about environmental issues concerning our ocean. It’s always great for us guides to welcome guests on board who are passionate about such topics and we truly hope that encounters with cetaceans help them to keep optimistic about the future of our oceans. Just like dolphins add colour to the greyest of days, staying positive adds light to the darkest. If we lose our hope for a better future for our planet we will stop believing that we can do better and will become passive…and that is not the way forward. I am confident that these dolphins lit up our clients day and gave them a positive start to this new year.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Short-beaked common dolphins