Today was another day of difficult conditions that left our team unsure of whether to go ahead as planned with our trips. We remained persistent and this was duly rewarded by our beautiful Atlantic Ocean. Today Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) were encountered during all our tours and created a peaceful contrast to the wild waters they were travelling through. These magnificent cetaceans have a very close relationship to Madeira as a habitat and are such important predators to the archipelago’s waters, that scientists often refer to them as ecological indicators. Ecological indicators demonstrate changes in ecosystem health through fluctuations in their populations but, luckily, no significant fluctuations have been seen so far with Madeira-s pilot whales.
We are only beginning to understand more about beaked whale species like the Blainville’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) we encountered on our zodiac this morning. Here scientists have also shown a strong site fidelity between females and Madeira but a lot remains to be learnt about these rare and elusive whales.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
09:30 Blainville’s beaked whales, Short-finned pilot whales
13:30 Short-finned pilot whales
09:30 Short-finned pilot whales
14:00 Short-finned pilot whales
17:00 Short-finned pilot whales