The stormier October weather has started to settle in the waters of the Atlantic around Madeira but the conditions didn’t stop our crew from finding some cetaceans at sea. The Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) almost seemed to have remained where we left them yesterday and we found some animals resting at the surface at six miles from the coast of Fajã de Ovelha. Although finding the Sperm whales in the same spot as yesterday mislead us into thinking it was the same group of females, a closer look at the fluke and size of the animals indicated that the individuals we saw today were clearly large bulls. Perhaps the males had already tracked down the females to mate and remained in the area to feed? Or perhaps this particular area was a popular are for giant squid this week. Long-term research and observations can help answer this question, in the meantime we enjoyed this adventurous sighting with a group of lovely guests this morning.
The Sperm whales were nowhere to be seen during the afternoon tour and the stronger Southeast wind reduced our search range so our Ribeira Brava tried its luck in the coastal waters of the Southwest. We got lucky; a nursery group of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) just happened to be passing through the waters near Calheta, with some curious calves even lifting their heads and checking us out. Unfortunately the dolphins disappeared just as quickly as they had materialised out of the choppy waters and began darting upwind. Our Ribeira Brava couldn’t keep up with the dolphins and soon lost them in the waves, but our guests enjoyed the encounter and will be future experts in spotting whales between wind and waves!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
14:30 Bottlenose dolphins
10:00 Sperm whales