As generous as she can be, the Atlantic Ocean does not always make things easy for our team at sea. Todays Northeast wind, a wind direction that usually results in calm waters around Calheta, was so strong that it whirled up the ocean near the Southwestern coastline of the island which can make finding animals a real challenge. Despite the efforts of our captain Carlos, the choppy ocean left many of our guests feeling a little queasy but everyone bravely withstood the difficult conditions until our spotter finally found a tiny group of Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) at sea. Today these notoriously curious dolphins were more evasive which was probably due to the small size of the group. Oceanic dolphins often spend the day in smaller subgroups which may remain constant for some time and are a temporary constituent of larger, more fluidly structured pods. Despite the short but sweet sighting, our guests were thankful for our crews efforts and were all delighted to enjoy yet another brief sighting with a basking Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) on our way back to the marina.
We were sadly forced to cancel our afternoon tour due to the strong wind conditions and absence of cetaceans at sea. I’m proud to be part of a determined team that goes against all odds to find cetaceans for our guests but also fairly evaluates weather conditions to see if a trip actually makes sense. We know that our clients appreciate this approach and we wouldn’t do it any other way. This difficult day concluded Carlos’s time as the temporary skipper of the Ribeira Brava, where he truly did a magnificent job, and will now once again use those sharp eyes of his to find cetaceans from the coastline.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Loggerhead turtle