What a morning! As we sped out onto the Atlantic aboard our zodiac, Stenella, we were almost instantly welcomed by a large group of Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) that were dispersed over a large area. Several of the animals were busy hunting as we entered the area but this didn’t stop them from curiously approaching our bow while several hungry Cory’s Shearwaters (Calonectris borealis) circled above. After leaving this dramatic and eventful sighting, we tried our luck in the waters further west of Calheta and searched four miles off the coast of Paul do Mar.
Just as we were about call it a day and head back to Calheta, we received a call from our spotter. It seemed the Atlantic had other plans! Carlos carefully lead us to an area where a group of Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) were peacefully socialising and the group almost instantly approached us to ride the waves at our bow and “inspect” our engines. Suddenly, our captain Daniel pointed towards Paul do Mar where a large Tropical whale (Balaenoptera edeni) was cruising along the coastline with her calf. As we discovered the whale our boat was briefly surrounded by Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) who, like the commons, used the opportunity to catch a free ride eastward on the waves at our bow. Being surrounded by so much action makes it hard to decide where to look…but thats a problem we couldn’t be happier about! After enjoying some time with the Bottlenose dolphins, we carefully approached the whale and her young calf and managed to confirm the species but their evasive behaviour soon prompted us to head back to Calheta along the picturesque coastline.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Short-finned common dolphins, Tropical whales