21.11.2020 – Eyes on land
Although our crew is always eager to enjoy surprises out on the Atlantic with our guests, it’s important for us to have a heads up of what to expect out at sea and this is where our spotter steps into the game. Carlos begins his search for animals long before we board our boats, his sharp eyes scanning the surface of the ocean through his powerful binoculars, but he actually does so much more than that. Our crew relies on Carlos for guidance and information out on the Atlantic and his work is paramount for a successful whale-watching tour, as he helps us approach the animals correctly, plan our tour strategically and warns us of any drastic weather changes.
As much as the success of a tour hinges on the hard work of our spotter and teamwork at sea it ultimately depends on one final factor; the presence of cetaceans within the search range of our boats. There are days where finding cetaceans can be an enormous challenge even with perfect weather conditions and there’re others where weather conditions obliterate all chances of finding animals or even heading out to sea.
The ocean seemed blissfully calm as we left the marina of Calheta today but our spotter soon informed us of the strong East wind bringing choppy waters our way. The wind soon caught up with us, forcing us to abandon the prospect of searching the waters further East. Our team didn’t give up; Carlos packed his enormous binoculars into his car and drove to the Westernmost point of the island, Ponta do Pargo. Here, a lighthouse overlooks the waters that transition from the generally more choppy North side of the island to the calmer waters of the South. Today, however, the waters of the Northwest seemed more inviting than those of the Southwest due to their minimal exposure to the blasting east wind, making conditions for spotting and searching much more favourable. Carlos eyes scoured there for signs of cetacean activity but the waters were deserted, which unfortunately resulted in a return to the marina with no sightings.
To avoid another unsuccessful tour in the afternoon, Carlos remained on the far west side of the island and kept searching the calmer waters on the Northwest for animals. In the meantime, our crew in Calheta kept an eye on the East wind but it showed no sign of decrease, eliminating a search for animals in our usual search area. Our crew considered dodging the wind and driving to the Northwest but Carlos soon called with news of high swell and no animals in the North. So the final verdict was to cancel the tour, an unfortunate but fair decision for our guests.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 No sighting