Rain showers, clouds and wind covered the sky and sea in the Southwest today and our Ribeira Brava bravely plunged through every wave in search of some dolphins. Our crew at sea then got word of a group of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) heading east from our spotter and set course towards Calheta to once again face the rain showers along the coastline. Suddenly a colourful animal leapt high above the grey, choppy ocean… We happened to cross paths with a group of Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) that were darting eastward, perhaps in pursuit of some Atlantic mackerel. What a lucky find! Our team was absolutely delighted for our guests about this sighting and, while the dolphins seemed more preoccupied with their hunt, they did leap several times above the waves and occasionally approach our bow making this a fantastic sighting.
Now it was time to meet the Bottlenose dolphins, who were now also swiftly moving eastward, prompting our captain to accelerate in order to keep up with the group. We eventually caught up with them outside Madalena do Mar, where several of these charismatic dolphins also approached our bow, glancing up at us as they rode the waves at our bow. There’s something incredibly special about making eye contact with a dolphin at sea, the sensation is indescribable and completely unique. During the sighting the wind also calmed down bit, giving everyone on board a bit of relief after getting soaked by the waves at the beginning pf the trip. As we returned to the marina were accompanied by some kayakers catching the waves at the rear of the Ribeira Brava. I took a look at everyone on board; everyone was clad in waterproof clothing, some of the guests had wet hair and wet shoes…but all faces were beaming with happy smiles. Mission accomplished!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
15:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins