A day hasn’t gone by this week without some sightings of Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), small cetaceans that are particularly abundant during the winter months and by far the most encountered species at sea at this time of the year. Being small dolphins, common dolphins are known to travel in large groups out in the open ocean often forming enormous groups composed of more than 500 animals, that are popularly referred to as super pods. Once they reach the secure waters of oceanic islands, the dolphins disperse into smaller subgroups which can further disperse or regroup depending on the situation.
The day began with a larger group which then dispersed over the course of the day making the animals very difficult to relocate for our spotter. Whilst the animals were practically at our front door this morning, our team searched far and wide for them during the midday tour before finally encountering a tiny group of three dolphins hunting outside Paul do Mar. Our crew dashed to the marina to pick up the next load of guests and rushed back to the area not to lose the group of dolphins. Finding them again was far from easy. After the hunt we found the dolphins foraging for more prey and these agile dolphins sure are hard to keep up with!
We soon abandoned the search and ended up driving along the coastline and were, despite todays challenges, thankful for the presence of this species of the season.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
09:30 Short-beaked common dolphins
13:30 Short-beaked common dolphins
16:00 Short-beaked common dolphins