06.10.2020 – One for all
Encountering Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) in the right mood for our snorkelling tour is always a challenge. Our team always does its best to be out on the ocean as early as possible to avoid the groups of dolphins being simultaneously observed by other boats during our encounter. Today we set off a little later and approached a group of Atlantic spotted dolphins that were travelling east with a group of Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Since we aren’t permitted to slide into the water with the two latter species, we waited until the groups of species diverged and began preparing for our water entry as the spotted left the other species and began swimming south.
The first encounter was brief and our zodiac was soon joined by another boat in the area, prompting a more evasive demeanour in the group of spotted in the water. Our spotter then discovered another part of this incredibly large and dispersed school that were travelling as a bigger unit closer to the coastline. We set course for the group and had a lovely encounter with the animals, with one juvenile even inspecting our snorkelers a little closer towards the end, leaving our snorkelers smiling and satisfied.
Another school of spotted dolphins charmed the guests on boarder afternoon tour, who all quickly took a liking and interest in these charismatic and acrobatic dolphins. One juvenile even breached several times towards the end of our encounter, flashing its pink belly as it effortlessly launched its little body into the air.
The juveniles usually are the more curious and flashy of the bunch and their fearless attitude often prompts the rest of the school to carefully approach behind them. Well, sometimes it just takes one individual to mobilise the rest of the group and such fabulous encounters often burn down to the curious approach of just a few animals.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
09:30 Atlantic spotted dolphins (Snorkeling), Bottlenose dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales
15:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins