Our zodiac sped out onto a beautiful and calm ocean in search of whales and dolphins this afternoon…and we didn’t have to search for long. The sharp eyes of our spotter soon discovered a very dispersed group of Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Both species show a strong site fidelity to the islands waters and it isn’t rare to encounter them in the same area.
Both pods had calves in tow and the Bottlenose Dolphins, far from their preferred coastal habitat, seemed hardly afraid of having their little ones in the vicinity of the pilot whales. This hardly comes as a surprise, since pilot whales belong to the most peaceful and family-oriented cetaceans around. The strong bonds between family members prompts the animals to stick together, even if it means certain death. Mass strandings and tight aggregations when in danger, are examples of the strong solidarity shared by these powerful dolphins, one that it almost unique to the species and closely related delphinids.
During sightings the gentle nature of pilot whales is immediately evident. The pod didn’t mind our presence while the dispersed group of Bottlenose Dolphins remained more weary. The vast dispersal of the pod allowed our guests to enjoy sightings with one subgroup after the other and it was fantastic!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
13:30 Bottlenose Dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales