The dynamic landscape of Madeira is one of the characteristics that make this island unique in it’s own right. The high and mighty cliff of Cabo Girão stands out as the central peak along the Southern coast of the island and plays quite an important role in dictating the weather conditions fit for our tours. Here a temporary segregation of conditions such as wind direction, wind strength and current flow occurs between the Southwest and Southeast coast, meaning that when waters are wild in front of Funchal they may be calm around Calheta and vice versa. Cabo Girão also happens to be right at the tip of an underwater ridge, the Funchal ridge, a hotspot for dolphin sightings on the South coast. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are especially frequent here with the area even being considered as a possible hotspot for this species around the island.
Both the Bottlenose sightings in the morning as well as in the afternoon took place close to Cabo Girão and both sightings were almost instantly followed by a sighting of Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). The tranquil sighting with the commons took place beneath the glassy surface this morning during our snorkelling tour while the one in the afternoon occurred under choppier conditions. In both cases our team could count on the waters outside this dramatic stretch along Madeira’s coastline and nothing decorates that view better than a leaping dolphin.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
09:30 Bottlenose dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins, Loggerhead turtle
15:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins