The curiosity of dolphins is almost impossible to ignore during encounters at sea. At least curiosity is what humans assume may be the motivation for the animals to approach. This inquisitive behaviour is displayed differently by all different dolphin species and this was evident today during our sightings today.
The elegant and agile Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) are notoriously curious and often bow-ride during an encounter. Such interactions however depend entirely on the mood of the animals. When hunting, the common dolphins have clear priorities and are more focused on their catch than on us, which is usually not too bad because we have the chance to observe these incredible predators show off their hunting strategies. The group this morning had already gorged on fish when we arrived and calmly approached our boat to glide alongside us and at our bow.
Short-finned pilot whales (Globicepahala macrorhynchus) generally remain more passive during encounters as they are either travelling or resting during their time at the surface. Social behaviour within the pod, however, can extend to observations where these gregarious deep-divers approach us. Today we gently drove alongside a travelling group that was gently moving east with two small calves, a truly peaceful sighting.
Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) can be very evasive but also incredibly social. When these dolphins get curious, however, they deliver one of the most fantastic sightings one can enjoy during our tours. The Bottlenose dolphins this afternoon decided bow-ride a little and then glide alongside our traditional boat, with many animals raising their heads out of the water, taking a good glance at their sombrero-wearing admirers. Each of these animals has slightly different-looking facial features and seeing all these faces pop out of the ocean is absolutely spectacular. What a day!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
14:30 Bottlenose dolphins
10:00 Short-beaked common dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales