There is no place like the ocean. No place on earth is so vastly undiscovered and so full of surprises. Even under difficult conditions, the Atlantic Ocean always gives her passengers a taste of her generosity. Cetaceans are particularly representative of the incredible diversity of our oceans; they are highly intelligent, emotionally sophisticated marine predators that travel through the oceans, shaping any ecosystem that they are a part of. Their importance for our oceans is indisputable, the need to protect them an absolute imperative. This is why encounters with these incredible creatures can never be taken for granted and why we must expand our knowledge about them as much as possible so we can continue to contribute to their protection.
The sightings of dolphins were both close and far today. This morning our traditional boat had to drive 5 nautical miles off the coast of Paul do Mar to meet a group of Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) that were busy hunting a school of Atlantic mackerel (Scombrus scomber). These dolphins are more abundant during the winter but we occasionally meet small nursery groups with tiny calves or larger groups busy hunting during the summer, which is always a treat for both our guests and our team.
We didn’t need to drive out far to find dolphins for our afternoon tour; Carlos’s sharp eyes managed to track down a group of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in a seemingly empty looking ocean. The species can be seen in Madeira all year round, with certain individuals even returning several times a year making Madeira an important part of their home range. The ways dolphins interact with us and am angst each other and how they move in their habitat simply emphasises our company’s slogan; we are and always will be the guests out there.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Short-beaked common dolphins
15:00 Bottlenose dolphins