Once again, guests aboard our zodiac had the pleasure of enjoying the company of her namesake dolphins, the Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis). We encountered two different groups of these summer visitors during our trip, with the first group finding us before we found them! Spotted dolphins are notoriously active at the surface and often congregate in larger groups, particularly when they’re hunting. Prey, after all, tends to be a finite resource so once some dolphins start hunting they are quickly joined by the rest of the pod. After they’ve dined dolphins tend to be a lot more calm, which makes them more difficult to spot at the surface but also makes them more interactive during a sighting if we do find them.
Spotted dolphin sightings closer to the coast also tend to be more frequent in the mornings than in the afternoons, since coastal waters heat up quicker under the midday sun prompting the dolphins to regroup and move further offshore. Today the dolphins were calmly moving through waters no deeper than 700m and weren’t far from the edge of the underwater plateau off the coast of Paul do Mar, a notorious feeding area. We searched the area for other species of cetaceans and possible Flying fish (Cheilopogon melanurus) close to the coastline, before heading back with an obligatory pitstop at the infamous “mermaid cave”.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins