After days of rain, the sun finally came out and warmed the air, setting the mood for incredible encounters out on the ocean. Our Stenella dashed out this afternoon to meet a total of three species, that all delivered a spectacular sighting for our crew and guests.
The trip began with a nice but concerning sighting. A group of around 12 Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were evidently feeding close to the fish farms, probably on the shoals of Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) circling the Gilt-headed breams (Sparus aurata) trapped in the enclosure. The breams being bred do not occur naturally in the island’s waters and attract a large amount of predators to the area of the enclosures. Bottlenose dolphins are one of many marine species that opportunistically feed near the enclosures, a behaviour that if repeated can have a formidable effect on the ecosystem they thrive in.
The next dolphins were actively working for their food, and did so around 5 nautical miles offshore. A group of Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) were busy hunting Halfbeaks (Belone belone), a spectacular hunt which also included a little calf that was probably enjoying one if its first hunting lessons. The animals in the next sighting weren’t feeding or hunting during the sighting but the speed at which they were swimming, made us assume something yummy was waiting at their destination. Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) were dashing east, lifting their enormous heads as they did. This obviously gave me the opportunity to capture some epic moments with these animals and the sunlight made it all even better. What lovely weather to accompany a lovely day out on the ocean!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
13:30 Bottlenose dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales