03.03.2020 – Deeper
Both our boats went out on a calm ocean and our crew had the pleasure of meeting a variety of species including Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis), Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) and Blainville’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris). The latter belong to the timid and mysterious family of the beaked whales, cetaceans that roam the abyss and feed on mesopelagic fish and squid. While most of these deep-divers often display an evasive behaviour towards boats, Blainville’s occasionally get curious and set their trust issues aside to approach our boats. Generally speaking, however, it is a question of luck and how long the animals decide to remain beneath the surface. This morning the Ribeira Brava didn’t manage to enjoy a sighting with these golden brown cetaceans and had to settle with a lovely sighting of Bottlenose dolphins travelling west.
Our Stenella, however, happened to enter the area as the animals were simply engaging in a few shallow dives at intervals of around 7 minutes. This is a perfect situation to gain the trust of these shy creatures and we were able to observe a harem of 4-5 animals including a young calf and a scarred up bull. In contrast to the talkative dolphin species we encounter during our tours, beaked whales keep communication at an absolute minimum at the surface and are thought to actively socialise in the deep to avoid getting tracked down by larger marine predators such as Orcas (Orcinus orca).
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Bottlenose dolphins
15:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Blainville’s beaked whales, Short-beaked common dolphins