Patience truly is a virtue when it comes to whale-watching…. and our guests aboard the Stenella this morning definitely deserve the gold medal when it comes to this! After a long search that took us all the way to Funchal, our team finally managed a sighting with a dispersed group of Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus). The animals were darting east living up to their nickname “cheetahs of the ocean” as they surged through the windy waters. Our spotter soon informed our team at sea of a lone Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) who was observed by both groups rejoining its peers in the waters close to Quinta da Lapa.
While our Ribeira Brava managed a sighting with the dolphins bow-riding, our guests aboard the Stenella had to witness the event from afar due to a surprising and unprecedented technical issue; lack of gasoline. Thankfully, our guests chose to make the most of the ordeal and spent the time chatting with our crew about cetaceans and the island while our spotter hurried to bring us the necessary fuel to get us back to the marina. As we drifted near the islands highest coastal peak, our team also managed to fish out small pieces of plastic together with our guests before Carlos arrived, helped fill up the tank and we drove back to Calheta.
We arrived in time for the next tour and our crew decided to try our luck in the waters further West since the animals from this morning were now far beyond our search range. We found yet another group of Bottlenose dolphins swimming discretely in front of Paul do Mar, their grey bodies camouflaged against the dark surface of the Atlantic. We managed a lovely sighting with this group and even managed to identify a familiar face within the pod; an older and distinctly scarred individual known by our team as Pacino.
We soon let Pacino and his posse continue their journey east in peace and cruised back to Calheta along the coast. After a day of many hours on the ocean, we returned to the marina tired, happy and blessed for spending our time the Atlantic today with such interested (and patient) guests!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Bottlenose dolphins
10:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales
15:00 Bottlenose dolphins