Before setting out on a whale-watching tour, our trips often feel like an empty canvas ready to be painted by the elements and creatures out on the ocean. As poetic as that may sound it isn’t far from the real thing and our spectacular trip aboard the Ribeira Brava today was perfect proof of this.
The stormy weather of the past week left the waters in front of Calheta full of sediment, giving them a greenish colour. Our spotter soon discovered a small pod of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) who emerged from the murky waters in pairs and trios with a small curious calf occasionally dashing towards our bow. The dolphins repeatedly glanced up at us as they broke the surface, making brief eye contact with our guests on board. Our spotter soon called again with news that made us instantly abandon our encounter with the dolphins and head 4 nautical miles outside Madalena do Mar.
A group of Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) had just returned to the surface after their deep foraging dives and were resting in a dispersed formation when our traditional boat arrived. As we cruised alongside the group, an enormous raincloud began to engulf the Southwest coast of the island and the dispersed showers against the sunlight further decorated the dramatic backdrop of our sighting with several rainbows. It was as unbelievably magical and humbling moment that I was privileged to share with such a lovely group of guests!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
14:30 Bottlenose dolphins, Sperm whales