We always hope that our tours encourage our guests to keep a sharp lookout for cetaceans from land after our tours. The deep waters around the island allow even deep diving animals to rest at a close distance to shore, often making them visible for eager hobby spotters along the coastline. Today, however, our team faced quite the opposite case.
The first sightings of the day, a large dispersed pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) and a Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis), were about 8 nautical miles offshore. This is not a problem for our zodiac but the guests aboard our traditional boat had to be quite patient before finally seeing the dolphins. Unfortunately the whale had disappeared before our Ribeira Brava reached the sightings area and both our boats returned with happy guests and a team hoping for more luck in the afternoon.
A strong west wind was forecasted for the late afternoon so, after a brief delay, our zodiac sped out to find animals before the bad weather arrived. A pod of dolphins, likely Striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) were leaping 10 miles offshore. These gorgeous, pelagic animals often visit the islands waters briefly to feed or rest with their calves, and their evasive nature means that they often disappear before we manage to find them. This was the case today and our Stenella soon sped back to shore to find some spotted dolphins that were dashing upwind. Our traditional boat had found them amongst the white caps and we made the most of the encounter before heading back to Calheta along the more sheltered waters along the coast. It was a lovely but challenging day!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins
15:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins
10:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Sei whale
14:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins