14.03.2020 – Encouraging encounters
Our speedboat finally got another chance to dart out into the Atlantic. today to search for our favourite intelligent and hydrodynamic marine inhabitants. Our first sighting was with a group of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), powerful cetaceans that are able to leap up to five metres out of the water to inspect their surroundings at the surface and socialise, despite their relatively large body mass. The dispersed group we encountered near the coast of Madalena do Mar seemed rather evasive at first before a handful suddenly approached our Stenella to briefly glide alongside us. Despite the unquestionable agility of these charismatic dolphins and the fact that they have other obvious priorities, some of the more inquisitive individuals don’t miss an opportunity to catch a free ride at our bow.
The calm group of Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) we encountered shortly afterwards immediately approached our zodiac as we entered the sighting area. I have met this gorgeous species underwater several times during snorkelling trips and in my opinion, they are definitely among the most elegant of all cetaceans. The way these dolphins effortlessly glide through their vast blue habitat and decorate the ocean with the beautiful pattern along their flanks is simply breathtaking and, of course, equally enjoyable to experience from the boat.
So despite the overcast skies and the equally grim mood grasping Madeira and the rest of the world currently, dolphins still somehow manage to brighten up our day.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Short-beaked common dolphins