Enthusiastic guests, enthusiastic crew. It was great today. We started with quite shy Striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), which always kept an accurate distance from our boat. Nevertheless, we saw them jumping, high up and also in long leaps over the sea surface. The latter is a very classic surface behavior of the pretty Striped dolphins.
Afterwards there was a very special sighting. False killer whales/Pseudo orcas (Pseudorca crassidens) appeared in our waters. The group was spread out over a large area. This dynamic marine mammal species prefers to be found in the high seas. From time to time, however, they can be seen around islands that drop quickly into the depths. Of course, Madeira is one of them. Studies of animals which had a satellite tag have found that group members are often scattered over an area of up to 25 km and still move in the same direction. Individuals may distance themselves, only to rejoin their group after a few days.
After a little while together, the Pseudo orcas started to get in interaction with us. We‘ve had a number of approaches. Often a single animal would swim directly beneath or alongside our Stenella, with the belly pointing upwards, and we could clearly see the typical whitish W-shaped markings glowing against the blue of the ocean. How huge this animal was! Males can reach a length of up to 6 m. There were many, many acrobatic jumps that made us hold our breath. What a wonderful, great show!
Oh, and not to forget we had a Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) raising her huge head out of the water to see who was passing her.
By Fatima Kutzschbach
Sightings of the day
10:00 Striped dolphins, Pseudo Orcas