The day went by in a heart beat, first trip of the day presented some challenges to find our first sighting but after 2 hours searching and covering a large area true the SW waters of Madeira we finally found a small group of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). As we started our second trip, visibility both for the spotter and crew improved and in minutes we were already accompanying a pod of Bottlenose dolphins heading towards the fish farms next to the coast of Calheta. It has become more and more frequent, during our sightings, that some individuals of this species have figured out that searching for prey around the floating structure is successful. They do not feed on the Giltheaded seabreams (Sparus aurata) that are cloistered in the farm nets, but rather search for prey that have proliferated around it. That being said and observing this type of sightings we can’t deny that the adaptability of Bottlenose dolphins is proof once more of their intelligence. Although this type of sighting may create mixed opinions when it comes to observing wild life, one thing we must accept, we cannot compartmentalise things. We are all part of this world and all over the planet we have examples of human influence in the so called “Natural world”. Unfortunately many of these interactions come with a loss in biodiversity but there are also some success stories, rather then having extreme opinions on things, we should first search for consequences of such practises and possible improvements and stop alluding our selfs that there are perfect solutions.
As we approached the end of the day our last highlight ended with the sighting of three Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), two large animals and one calf and on our way leaving the sighting area our skipper spotted a Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) . Perfect and calm ending before heading back to home base Calheta harbour….
by Daniel Jardim
Sightings of the day
09:30 Bottlenose dolphins
13.30 Bottlenose dolphins; Short-beaked common dolphins
16:00 Bottlenose dolphins; Fin whales; Loggerhead sea turtle