Today was an exciting day. In the early morning our spotter Higinio spotted Sperm whales and guided the skipper towards them. These whales are animals of superlatives: they manage to dive down up to 3000 m deep, they can hold their breath more than an hour, they have the largest brain of all living beings and have many other special features. Moreover scientists had proved, that this species have a kind of “culture” (specific Information and other knowledge), which they pass on to their young ones. We saw the Sperm whales resting at the surface and refilling their oxygen reserves. The “blower with the big head” (translation of their latin name Physeter macrocephalus) show their fluke when they dive down and leave a footprint on the surface. This helps (the spotter) as orientiation in which direction the whales are heading.
Luckier were moreover the guests of the Ribeira Brava morning tour, which managed to see a 2 meter size hammerhead shark at the surface. Hammerheads have a bow-shaped head with their eyes at the sides. They belong to a very old class of animals (cartilaginous fish), which exists since millions of years and fullfill an important role in the marine ecosystem. Unfortunately, many shark species are massively overfished and threatened by extinction. Still they are hunted in the shark-finning fishery, which is extremly cruel because the fins get cut off of the alive shark, which is then thrown back into the water were the animals die slowly.
by Astrid Haas
Sightings of the day:
09.00: no sighting (snorkeling tour)
12.00: Atlantic spotted dolphins and spermwhales
15.30: Bottlenose dolphins and spermwhales
09.00: Atlantic spotted dolphins and hammerhead shark
13.30: Bottlenose dolphins and spermwhales