Dolphins stir up the best of emotions in people and this is especially true when Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) are in the picture. Our guests were absolutely enchanted by the charming and inquisitive behaviour of the large group we encountered on the calm Atlantic Ocean this morning. These curious dolphins develop a characteristic spot pattern as they mature, which is distinct for each individual animal. Young spotted dolphins still lack the spot pattern and are completely grey, resembling tiny Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Juveniles are already discretely freckled, with isolated spots near their eyes and along their flanks while more mature adults already sport a very dark and distinct spot pattern.
Apart from being notorious for fearlessly approaching boats, the spotted also belong to some of the most acrobatic species of cetaceans. We got a taste of this attribute today, as two of the younger dolphins leapt high into the air in an almost choreographic synchrony, an absolute blessing of a moment for all photographers on board!
Apart from our eventful encounter with the spotted, we also managed to spot some birds squabbling over a dead Pufferfish at the surface, with the large Yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) eventually claiming the prize from the surrounding Cory’s Shearwaters (Calonectris borealis). What a day!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins