The weather forecast wasn’t too promising for successful tours this week but our team decided to give it a go today aboard the Ribeira Brava with a lovely group of guests. Our spotter scanned the ocean carefully before the tour and found a group of dolphins in front of our traditional boats namesake town, Ribeira Brava. While driving to the sightings area we were surprised by a small group of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) that contained 2-3 little curious calves that immediately approached our bow and playfully frolicked with one another at the surface. The calves were soon joined by their larger mothers who also hitched a ride at the waves of our bow as we accompanied the animals upwind.
Our spotter soon called us again, urging us to continue further east so that we wont lose the large group of dolphins he had initially located in the wind. Our hunch was that these were Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis), a species that sometimes approaches the coastline of the island but tends to move offshore into windier waters in the early afternoon. Our plan was to reach the group while they were still in sheltered coastal waters since the conditions were much rougher further out at sea. After a long trip we managed to catch up with these interactive dolphins who instantly lived up to their reputation as one of the most interactive species of the Atlantic Ocean by approaching our boat by the dozens. Several animals even breached during the sighting and flashed their light pink bellies at their admirers, while others leapt in synchrony alongside us.
The Northeast wind started to pick up and it was time to return to the marina and our captain soon steered our traditional boat to the waters closer to the coast where the wind wasn’t as strong and where our guests could admire some of the pretty little villages along the picturesque coastline of the Southwest. Our crew really made an effort for this trip to work and the Atlantic rewarded us with beautiful sightings and grateful guests. Mission accomplished!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins