We had the pleasure of having some familiar faces on board both our tours today and their welcoming committee on this morning’s trip aboard the Stenella was a beautiful group of Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) that instantly charged towards our boat in unison, leaping high above the surface as they did. This action-packed sighting was then complimented by a peaceful sighting with a small pod of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) that were elegantly gliding through the waters outside Madalena do Mar, one of the notorious hotspots to see this species around the island.
After meeting yet another group of spotted dolphins outside Ponta do Sol, our spotter called and sent us further east to the waters outside Ribeira Brava. Here, he had discovered a group of Blainville’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) whose golden-brown bodies soon emerged at the surface for us to admire. These notoriously timid creatures have a curious streak, that comes to light during some sightings and, today, it was the bull who decided to take a closer look at our boat. As the animal approached the deep scars covering its back were clearly visible as were the two front tusk-like teeth erupting from its jaws.
Like many of our guests continuously return every year to join us on our tours, it is equally possible that we meet the same group of Bottlenose dolphins and Blainville’s beaked whales during our encounters at sea. Scientists have identified groups with a strong site fidelity to the islands waters, so frequent guests on board may have even encountered the same individuals at sea on a previous trip!
The sun grew hotter and the air thicker as the afternoon set in and our crew was ready for more beautiful sightings out on the deep blue Atlantic, this time with a lovely group of Portuguese guests. Showing the people living in Madeira the diversity of life surrounding their island is always a unique feeling and the happiness that accompanies it is perfectly embodied in sightings with the charismatic and curious Atlantic spotted dolphins. We met this species again on our afternoon trip and they were as curious and playful as ever!
We were happy to welcome some old and new faces aboard both our boats today and look forward to another week of exciting encounters out on the Atlantic!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
15:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins
10:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Blainville’s beaked whales, Bottlenose dolphins