23.08.2017- The “Tropical Dilemma”
After an entertaining snorkeling session with very cooperative guests this morning, I embarked on yet another Stenella trip later in the evening in pursuit of the Baleen whale that was sighted on the afternoon trip at 15:30. Madeira’s waters is full of different cetacean species, most of which belong to the Odontoceti or toothed whales. This suborder of cetaceans includes dolphins, beaked whales, sperm whales and pilot whales amongst many others. Every so often we encounter a baleen whale, filter feeders that enjoy feasting on zooplankton or smaller fish and are occasionally observed alongside other cetaceans such as dolphins. These are solitary creatures making them harder to track, so our patient spotter spends the day following the animals in order for us to proudly present them to our guests.
Today we encountered a Tropical whale, this species is a frequent summer visitor here in Madeira. Sei whales and Tropical whales look and behave the same at the water’s surface often making it difficult to identify the species from our boats. The only characteristic that can be visible to tell the two species apart ist he amount of rostral ridges at the top of the animals head. A Tropical whale has three rostral ridges while the Sei whale has one central ridge. As in today’s case, this particular trait may not always be clearly recognised during a sighting only allowing proper identification of the species through photos after the tour. Such challenges make the job of being a whale-watching guide all the more entertaining
by Paula Thake
17:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Tropical whale
09:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins (Snorkeling)
15:30 Bottlenose dolphins, Tropical whale, Atlantic spotted dolphins
18:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Tropical whale