22.03.18 – Formidable drifter
After almost two months on dry-dock, our freshly painted and renovated traditional boat, Ribeira Brava, was finally ready for tours and is looking better than ever. The boat arrived in the marina in time for the late afternoon trip after the crew´s first trip of the day this morning, on the Stenella. The trip in the morning began with a very interactive group of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), that gently rode the bow of our boat curiously peeking up at our interested guests. The second species of cetaceans we encountered were a large, dispersed group of Common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) that leapt near us but were obviously more interested in the large school of needlefish they were hunting. The group of Commons sighted by our guests on the Ribeira Brava this afternoon were more interactive and practically remained at the bow of our beautiful fishing boat during the larger part of our trip.
During both tours we saw dozens of Portuguese man-of-war (Physalia physalis), some even congregated in large amounts near the coast close to Calheta. While this can be expected at this time of the year, it is still a spectacular sight. The name of these creatures comes the fact that the appearance of this close relative of the jellyfish resembles the Portuguese version of the 18th century man-of-war vessel at full sail. This colonial organisms gas-filled medusa allows it to drift with surface winds and currents, with its long jet-blue tentacles trailing behind it. These tentacles contain several individual animals known as zooids that collectively constitute the thousands of stinging cells that can deliver a sting so strong that it may even be fatal to human beings. Naturally, these facts are anecdotes to make everyone feel happier on board our vessels than in the water with these formidable drifters.
by Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Common dolphins, Portuguese man-of-war, Loggerhead turtle
15:00 Common dolphins, Portuguese man-of-war