The westernmost tip of Madeira is the well-known lighthouse at Ponta do Pargo. From there are spectacular views of the West Coast. Today we drove far enough to get a good view of the lighthouse. Even if we couldn’t see the west coast ourselves, we were a lot further west than usual today. Off the coast of Ponta do Pargo there is a marine plateau that stretches into the Atlantic. Only at approx. 3 nm does it go into depth. However, we found our six short-finned pilot whales at greater depths. It has to be, because they are squid lovers and therefore deep divers.
We had many children today and, of course mothers, a veritable nursery on board our traditional fishing boat. There are kindergartens in the sea too! Dolphins, including pilot whales, form a very important subgroup, made up of mothers and calves. What is a mother pilot whale supposed to do when she has to dive to a depth of 600-700 m to find the necessary food? What does a human mother do? Well, she will make sure her child is well taken care of. Marine mammals also have this maternal instinct. They give their calf to another female group member to look after and dive into the blue depths to fill their stomachs. Female pilot whales go through the menopause quite early. Although they live to be in their 60s, they enter menopause around the age of 35. The females, who are no longer able to reproduce, can put their energy into looking after the young animals and calves.
by Fatima Kutzschbach
Sighting of the day
10:00 Pilot whales
14:30 Cancellation due to weather conditions