Being surprised by a variety of cetaceans during our tours out at sea is always a stunning experience and our first encounter already included two of the three species we saw out at sea today. A handful of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were gliding peacefully alongside a small pod of Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus). While the pilot whales had gathered at the surface to rest, the Bottlenose swam carefully around the group occasionally curiously approaching our traditional boat. These moments of harmony amongst two cetacean species are wonderful to witness and our excited guests weren’t sure where to look during the observation as our captain managed to maneuver the boat carefully towards the centre of the group.
Before long, it was time to continue to our next sighting; a small group of Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). These small pretty dolphins are generally interactive by nature and are often seen hunting not far from the shoreline, so it helps to keep an eye out for any feeding situations involving them if you’re somewhere on the coastline. This species is more abundant around Madeira during the wintertime although it is unclear whether this is directly or indirectly due to the surface temperature of the water. What’s for sure, is that these dolphins are mainly seen gorging on Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus) or Halfbeaks (Belone belone) these days and whether they’re bow-riding or busy hunting, its simply wonderful to see them in action!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
14:30 Bottlenose dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales