We had a wonderful group of guests on board our Ribeira Brava today, including two clients who had come on a successful trip before and were ready for more. The rain along the coast was not making finding animals easy for our spotter Silvíano, prompting our crew at sea to focus our attention on the vast ocean surface for activity. A large group of Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) was seen in Funchal but the animals darted south, far too rapidly for our traditional boat to catch up. The usual dispersed tiny groups of Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) also caught our spotters eye, but were impossible to follow with the rain.
Our captain Carlos decided to strategically search through the area where the dolphins had appeared until Ribeira Brava and then drive out to see if also the commons were moving further offshore. Surely enough, two small dorsal fins broke the surface. The evasive nature of the pair made identification impossible but our team decided it may have been two lone spotted dolphins that somehow got separated from the pod. It seemed it may have been a mother and calf, so our team tried to search for the rest of the group to avoid stressing this pair. The larger pod was nowhere to be found so our team soon decided to leave the dolphins and head back.
Of course our crew would have loved a more epic finale for our traditional boat before she went on dry-dock for maintenance but we are certain that we’ll have amazing tours again once she’s back! As for today, the brief encounter didn’t darken the mood on board at all! Our guests understand that the ocean isn’t a place for expectations but rather for mutual respect and that all encounters are to be cherished and not to be taken for granted.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
13:30 Atlantic spotted dolphins