On our Stenella tour this Wednesday, we sailed out to find Atlantic Spotted Dolphins to go snorkelling. Underway, I told our guests about the species of dolphins and whales living in Madeiran waters. I just finished explaining that we jokingly call Wednesdays “Wednesday Whaleday”, although we had not spotted any whales on Wednesday recently, when a Tropical Bryde’s whale surfaced right in front of our eyes. Seconds later, a calf followed. They were beautifully majestic, so big, but yet swimming so gracefully.
The blows of both the mother and the calf were clearly visible, and the water vapour was hanging in the fresh morning air for minutes. Opposed to many other species of cetaceans, Tropical Bryde’s Whales don’t have one, but two blowholes, with a splashguard in front of these holes. Mother and calf tend to travel together, although sometimes Bryde’s whales come together in loose aggregations up to 15-20 animals for short periods of time.
There is a lot unknown about these beautiful whales, that have not gotten the same scientific attention as other whale species like the sperm whale. Making an effort to protect the habitat of these Tropical Bryde’s Whales in the face of this uncertainty will hopefully not only protect these animals, but also benefit many other ocean creatures that share the same habitat. So that even in a 100 years, we will still be able to see the blows of whales around Madeira on Wednesdays.
by Judith Kok
17.00: Bottlenose Dolphins, Atlantic Spotted Dolphins
09.00: Bottlenose Dolphins, Tropical Bryde’s Whales
12.00: Pilot Whales, Atlantic Spotted Dolphins