Glassy waters and bright sunshine are definitely welcoming conditions when it comes to whale-watching, especially after such a rainy, cold start to the new year. While Madeira´s peaks were still white with snow, our traditional boat set out with such lovely guests to make the most of this fabulous day by spending the morning in the company of dolphins. Our first encounter took place just a mile off the coast of Madalena do Mar with a small nursery group of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). The group contained two young calves who immediately dashed playfully towards the bow of our boat and could easily be admired through the crystal clear surface of the Atlantic.
Our spotter soon called to inform us of yet another group of dolphins that were dispersed in smaller groups some five miles off the coast. Our captain steered the boat out to sea and our colourful traditional boat was soon surrounded by about a dozen of equally colourful Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). It was a perfect sighting; while some of the animals swam elegantly through the waves of our bow, others were busy chasing Halfbeaks (Belone belone) near the surface. We have had several sightings of hunting situations involving these fish as prey in the past weeks and it’s always a pleasure to watch these extremely nimble dolphins charge at them near the surface.
As we returned to the marina, the clouds along the coastline cleared and revealed more warm sunshine, wrapping up a perfectly enjoyable morning out on the Atlantic.
Sightings of the day
10:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins