The severe storm on Saturday brought torrential rain and floods to the island of Madeira and has left the coastal waters of Madeira brown with sediment. More rain was on its way as we sped out onto the Atlantic onboard the Stenella. As the rainclouds advanced past Calheta, they left a curtain of drizzle that obscured our spotters view on the waters far off the coastline so Carlos was forced to search the first few miles while our crew at sea drove further out to expand the search area.
Our long search bore no fruit and, just as we were about to give up, Carlos found a lone Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) close to the bay of Ponta do Sol. Our team immediately set course for the area and carefully scanned for any signs of activity. While most of the cetacean species visiting. Madeira are often observed foraging in offshore oligotrophic, or nutrient-poor, waters, Bottlenose dolphins are the archipelagos coastguards and are often encountered a few hundred meters from the shoreline. The murky waters also don’t bother the dolphins; they use their acute sonar to track down their prey and often spend several minutes underwater during pursuits.
Unfortunately, our team was not able to find the animals but our guests thoroughly appreciated the efforts made during the tour and were happy to have spend some quality time out on the ocean. After all, we did manage to avoid the rain along the coastline!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 No cetacean sighting