All dolphins are surfers by nature! While the activity looks (and definitely is) fun, the main function of catching a wave for a dolphin is to travel more efficiently. The force of a wave gives the animals momentum when accelerating at the surface and all of them use it toi their advantage. The behaviour doesn’t come as unexpected with smaller, curious dolphin species like the Short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis). These gorgeous dolphins are known for their agility and the encountered pod today put this on full display during our sighting!
Our spotter also discovered some larger splashes in the area where the common dolphins were and identified the animals to be Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus). These large cetaceans were dashing west and, as we waited a little to see where the most animals were in the wind, the sighting soon came to us…Common dolphins suddenly appeared and the two species caught and surfed the waves together. It was magnificent.
Our Ribeira Brava also managed a sighting with Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) the most famous dolphin when it comes to surfing waves. This reputation is largely due to their distribution which aligns with coastlines inhabited by many people, making them generally frequently encountered cetaceans.
To conclude the blog, here is a video of both humans and dolphins catching waves together, enjoy!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
13:30 Bottlenose Dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins
13:30 Short-beaked common dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales