Finding cetaceans out on the open ocean isn’t always an easy task and often requires our team to search larger areas in order to manage a successful sighting. The Northwest wind wrinkled up the oceans surface in the far west beyond Jardim do Mar and gently transitioned into calmer conditions near Calheta. Our spotter searched the waters in front of the marina, hoping to find cetaceans in the calmer waters in the area and soon located an enormous group of dolphins who were hurriedly dashing upwind into windier, wavier waters. Our Stenella shot straight towards the west in an attempt to catch up with the group but the conditions were too rough to keep up or relocate the animals and we soon had to abandon our search to scan the waters further east. After scouting the area for a very timid beaked whale, our team was finally able to find a small group of Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinis delphis) who were discretely passing through the waters close to Madalena do Mar. These beautiful dolphins made up for the long search and flashed their gorgeous characteristic hourglass pattern at their admirers as they inspected our zodiac.
The Ribeira Brava was ready to head far towards the east to manage a sighting this afternoon when several of our guests suddenly exclaimed and pointed towards Calheta. A small, compact group of Rough-toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis) soon broke the surface and approached the bow of our traditional boat, flaunting their reptile-like features as they drifted alongside us. They were soon joined by a small group of common dolphins, one that may have very likely been the very same pod we had met in the morning. While our guests welcomed a sighting with this second species, the Rough-toothed did not seem pleased at all..one animal even briefly charged at two of the common dolphins below the surface!
Although the day began with a difficult search for cetaceans it all went well in the end and we were delighted to return to the marina with some very delighted guests!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
14:30 Rough-toothed dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins
10:00 Short-beaked common dolphins