The wind had made finding animals quite challenging for our crew at sea and for our spotter, Carlos, on land these last days so as we left aboard our traditional boat this morning, we were all anticipating a long search. Soon Carlos’s eyes fell on light blue shadows drifting below the surface 6 nautical miles off the coast; Risso’s dolphins (Grampus griseus)! We hadn’t seen this species in ages and they also happen to be one of our spotter’s favourite animals! The characteristic scarring on the heads of the animals gives them an unmistakeable white head coloration which is easily recognised by the sharp eyes of our spotter. Pedro immediately turned the boat out to sea to the area of the sighting and we were instantly welcomed by a group of Rough-toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis), who were socialising with the Risso’s when we arrived! What a wonderful surprise!
As we drove back to the marina the Atlantic had yet another surprise in store for us. A large group of Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) was travelling upwind and paused its journey to engage in a little bow-ride in front of our traditional boat. Two relatively rarely encountered species and one of the most curious dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean; what more could you ask for!
Although we didn’t manage to see three species for the guests aboard our afternoon tour, we did have a spectacular sighting of a group of Blainville’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris), super timid cetaceans that rarely approach our boats the way they did today!
What a fantastic day and what an epic lineup of animals!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, Rough-toothed dolphins
14:30 Blainville’s beaked whales