It was a blistering hot day on the Madeiran archipelago but that didn’t stop us from filling the sightings passes with many different cetacean species. Our snorkellers this morning enjoyed close encounters with a large group of Atlantic spotted dolphins as did our guests on the first Ribeira Brava tour.
As the day progressed, the temperatures soared and so did our sightings. Our crew on the Ribeira Brava had the pleasure of encountering Atlantic spotted dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins and Pilot whales. The sequence in sightings was according to average size; from smaller cetaceans to larger ones. Atlantic spotted dolphins are rather small compared to the Bottlenose dolphins, which may reach sizes of up to 4m. The Bottlenose dolphins we encountered were the are slightly smaller resident animals as opposed to their oceanic relatives, which are darker in colour and larger. The Bottlenose dolphins then proved a nice prequel to the Pilot whales, with whom they often associate. This time however, the smooth and calm swimming Pilot whales were seen in the company of a small group of spotted dolphins, who created a playful and energetic contrast.
The same animals were also seen on the later Stenella tours, along with another fascinating species of dolphin; the Rough-Toothed dolphin. These mammals are notorious for their intelligence and can be recognized by their conical head and relatively large flukes and fins.
by Paula Thake
09:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins
13:30 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Pilot whales
09:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins (Snorkelling)
15:30 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Pilot whales, Rough-toothed dolphins
18:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Pilot whales