What a fabulous start to the day! There’s no better way to begin a day at sea than with our “coast guard” dolphins, the Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). These magnificent and intelligent animals left our clients in awe at their incredible charisma and curiosity. The species is not just well documented here in Madeira; Bottlenose dolphins are notoriously the best documented cetacean species worldwide, in fact they are so well researched that people often falsely extrapolate characteristics from the species onto other dolphins. In the afternoon the species was dashing west and we kept the sighting short since the animals displayed an obvious evasive behaviour, very much contrasting that of the morning tour.
In the afternoon our spotter managed to find another well documented species in Madeira. Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) were dashing east through the wind and waves around 7 nautical miles offshore and our team managed a marvellous sighting with the pod. Pilot whales like to lift their heads to breathe easier in choppy waters, which gives all their admirers a great chance to appreciate the facial features of the animals.
We also had the pleasure of encountering seasonal visitors today. The guests on board the morning tour witnessed a few beautiful Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) leaping high into the air as they hunted their favourite prey, Halfbeaks (H.balao). Later on the afternoon we had an unexpected encounter with Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) that were moving east with a tiny calf in tow. The dolphins were probably part of a larger pod that was making a safety stop in the islands waters since this species is more abundant during the summer months.
We love having tours with several species of dolphins just to showcase their incredible variety and diversity.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
09:30 Bottlenose dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins
13:30 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales