During all tours of the day we were lucky enough to see five different cetacean species either around our zodiac “Stenella” or in the vicinity of our traditional fishing vessel, the Ribeira Brava. We had Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis), Striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), Blainville´s beaked-whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) and also Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus).
Such a great diversity is outstanding, but the highlight of today has been a tiny baby Atlantic spotted dolphin. It must have been a very young animal as it measured only around half the size of an adult. We recognized this little child right after the pod approached us. The tiny dolphin was swimming next to its mum but they didn´t come close to the boat at the beginning of our encounter. The other group members followed their usual business. A bit of speeding up here, some jumps there and a lot of bow riding. But what then followed made everyone on the boat smile.
The baby dolphins started to jump. But not like the older dolphins do, it didn’t stop slapping its little fluke once it was in the air. The spotted dolphins usually jump in a very elegant way: the come out of the water in a moderate angle, glide through the air without a lot of motion and smoothly dive back in with the snout first. The little guy seemed to be training. He came up straight, continued the swim motion and fell back into the water. It looked more like a bigger fish than a dolphin but with its shorter beak and the big eyes, it was a truly adorable appearance.
After a few minutes the show continued right next to us. The baby had taken the stage and amazed us all with its lovely jump training. It was also a pleasure to have a young guest on board today. Following the motto “you can´t be too young for whale watching”, the boy said “Again!”, after waking up in the marina from sleeping all the way back.
by Jan-Christopher Fischer
Sightings of the day
13:30 Bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins
09:00 Blainville´s beaked whales, Atlantic spotted dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales
15:30 Striped dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins