01.05.2018 – Coast guard
We didn’t have to drive far to search for animals during the tours on our traditional boat today. Five minutes into the morning tour, we encountered a large group of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) foraging and socializing right in front of the entrance to our marina. The presence of these large cetaceans near the coastline often correlates with smaller dolphins moving further out to sea. Our spotter soon called to report of a school of Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) 6 miles off the coast of Madalena do Mar. Despite that the sighting ended up being briefer than expected, we were lucky to encounter a rather large Sunfish (Mola mola) on our way out into the open ocean! This large, odd looking, pelagic fish is no stranger to oceanic island habitats like Madeira but is rarely sighted due to its evasive behavior towards boats. The fish enjoy feeding on Portuguese man’o wars (Physalis physalis), which are especially abundant during the spring months around the island.
During the afternoon trip, our enthusiastic group of “vikings” had a sighting involving the same school of Bottlenose dolphins near the marina. This time, the coastal type individuals of the group were unusually interactive and charmed our guests with several high leaps.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins, Sunfish
14:30 Bottlenose dolphins