We never know where we’re going when we leave port. It’s always a surprise what happens, or maybe sometimes doesn’t happen. Every tour is different. Today both tours were close in time, but while we had to drive all the way to Funchal on the noon tour, we had the sighting off Calheta’s coast in the evening tour. Twice the same species, Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis), but in different locations. Madeira is excellent for observing marine mammals. Because the island drops rapidly in depth, when the body of water hits the shore, there is an upwelling of nutrients from the depths of the sea. The entire food chain benefits from this wealth of nutrients. Small fish find shelter and food along our shoreline, which attracts larger fish and dolphins, too. As the sea deepens rapidly, it is also possible for us to encounter deep-diving squid lovers such as Sperm Whales, Pilot Whales and Beaked Whales. All of these advantages are due to the fact that the Madeira archipelago was formed from a hotspot trail that formed Madeira, Porto Santo, Ilhas Desertas and Ilhas Selvagens, plus some sea mountains to the northeast. Today we benefit from what was created before primeval times.
By Fatima Kutzschbach
Sightings of the day
10:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Pilot whales, Loggerhead turtle
15:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins
10:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Pilot whales
14:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins
17:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins