Whale safaris are a very seasonal business, of course because the island gets busier in the summer season, but also because the animals we like to find out there in waters south of Madeira travel around depending on the season. We have specific statistics on our website, for each animal, so the enthusiast can see when their favourite species is most likely around and what the probability is.
The dolphins we saw today are Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) a species that has a few resident populations but is mostly seasonal. The majority of “Spotted” sightings are in the summer, between June and September. This means that the dolphins that we found so abundantly today, may be come a rare sight quite soon.
Today the Atlantic spotted dolphins truly were abundant, although dolphin pods are difficult to estimate, since they may be spread, and the majority of the group is under the surface any given moment. We have been seeing larger and larger groups lately, some estimates range over 100! This gives credence to the theory that they are gathering before they depart.
So, as we show up on our daily search, we find ourselves is these massive dolphin gatherings, stranger at a party. Being the highly intelligent animals, they are, with complex social structures. We can only imagine what they are discussing as we can sometimes even hear the squeaking of dolphin clicks and whistles. As the human ear can hear some of the frequencies at which they communicate, not all. We may never know what they were saying about us, but it doesn’t matter, it was a fantastic party and we were fortunate to join them however briefly, to wish them a good journey, until next season!
By Scott Dorssers
Sightings of the day
09:00 Atlantic spotted dolphin
15:30 Atlantic spotted dolphin
18:00 Atlantic spotted dolphin