What an adventurous day out on the big blue! Our morning started off with sightings of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) on a relatively calm Atlantic Ocean. In the afternoon the wind picked up, making it hard for our spotter to relocate the pods from the morning tour so his eyes ventured further east to try his luck closer to the coastline. He saw a few dorsal fins break the surface and our crew braved the windy conditions together with a group of very brave guests and enjoyed a brief but lovely sighting with Bottlenose dolphins.
Amidst the choppy waves we even took a closer look at a Portuguese Man O’War (Physalis physalis), a cnidarian species that is approaching the end of its season here in Madeira. A gust of wind in the wrong direction could be a death sentence for these cnidarian colonies, with South winds often dragging them to beaches along the South coast. The gas-like bladder gives the colony a plastic-like look, earning them the nickname blue bottles in Australia.
While the wind didn’t have a disadvantageous direction for the Man O’Wars, it was slightly inconvenient that it was coming from the west for our team, giving us a bumpy ride back to Calheta. Several salty smiles were nonetheless the result, mission accomplished!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
09:30 Bottlenose dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins
13:30 Bottlenose dolphins