Today’s day was filled with both expected and unexpected encounters on a wavy, windy Atlantic ocean. Of course, we never really know what awaits us when we set off on our tours but there are certain species which turn up more frequently than others. One of those species is the Atlantic spotted dolphin, which was seen on every trip today except during the evening tour on the Stenella. These dolphins are always a pleasure to encounter but the unfortunate turnout for our evening guests who missed the spotted dolphins was remedied by a rather rare sighting. Our spotter was able to locate a small group of beaked whales some 5 nautical miles off Madalena do Mar, which turned out to belong to the notoriously shy and sighted Cuvier’s beaked whale species. These animals are incredibly timid and sensitive to sound but could be observed by our excited guests for several minutes before disappearing into the depths of the Atlantic. It was an impressive encounter and a pleasure to be in the presence of such scarcely studied creatures.
The sightings of common dolphins, which occur in the Madeiran waters in large groups during the winter months, usually decrease as the summer season begins. We didn`t have any encounters with these animals in the last two weeks but were surprised by a small group of around 30 animals hunting close to shore today. Despite the fact that food was their obvious priority, the animals approached the boat and, to the joy of our guests, decided to show their more interactive side today.
by Paula Thake
13:30 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Common dolphins, Loggerhead turtle
09:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins
12:00 Common dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins
15:30 Cuvier’s beaked whale, Common dolphins