Madeira’s geographic location in the Atlantic Ocean and it’s deep waters are responsible for the impressive variety of marine life occurring in the archipelago’s waters. Apart from the 27 confirmed species of whales and dolphins gliding through our waters, we also have the pleasure of encountering different species of marine birds, basking sea turtles and an incredible diversity of fish species. We truly never know what will emerge from the deep blue ocean when we head out but the Atlantic around this pretty little island is notoriously generous when it comes to breathtaking marine encounters. Today our team felt particularly lucky..
We kicked off the week with a morning tour on glassy waters aboard our Stenella and saw no less than 4 different species of cetaceans including cheeky Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis), curious Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). The latter were also encountered during the afternoon tour on board the Ribeira Brava but, this time, they were darting through choppier waters. The gustier conditions didn’t stop our spotter from making another incredible discovery; a large Baleen whale was travelling west close to some fishing boats off the coast of Madalena do Mar. The animal was displaying a somewhat evasive behaviour and we were about to call it a day when it suddenly surfaced near our traditional boat, flashing its white right cheek, enabling us to identify it as a Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus). These elegant giants usually drop by during the spring season but are generally rarely encountered around Madeira so we really got lucky at the end of this glorious day at sea!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
14:30 Fin whale, Short-beaked common dolphins
10:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales, Loggerhead turtles