01.06.2018 – Oceanic nursery
The 1st of June marks the beginning of our summer season here at Lobosonda and also happens to be International children’s day. It seems both occasions were celebrated on the Atlantic today.
Oceanic islands like Madeira act as ideal temporary nursing areas for several cetacean species. The archipelago provides a safe refuge with an abundance of food for larger baleen whales and their calves as well as a foraging area for oppportunistic dolphin species. We were able to encounter very large groups of Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) this morning, which spent a great amount of time close to our vessel along with several Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). The groups of both species included young calves that enjoyed bowriding our vessels waves with their peers and occasioanlly swam inquisitively around the Ribeira Brava, curiously peeking up at our guests. In the afternoon we were able to enjoy the company of the same group of spotted dolphins once again along with a small pod of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).
The young Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) residing in our waters also made several appearances today, with a total of eight sightings. The turtles here in Madeira are very young, with their ages ranging from 1-9 years of age. The Loggerheads travel to oceanic islands like Madeira to rest and feed after their long journeys across the ocean. In between foraging periods, the turtles „bask“ at the waters surface and enjoy some warm sunshine before plunging back into the blue. The placid ocean and abundant sunshine made this a particularly perfect basking day. So on that note: Feliz dia das crianças!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
09:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins, Loggerhead turtle
13:30 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Bottlenose dophins, Loggerhead turtle