One very nice thing about our daily tours is that every day is different. We never know what exactly we will find on the ocean and therefore it will never get boring. Just one thing is always the same: we have to search for the animals.
There are certain things to look out for at sea. Those can be the triangular shaped dorsal fins of whales or dolphins. Or we might see their bodies directly, the characteristic shape of a dolphin or the long back of a big whale. But also, rather indirect signs can be splashes on the water, reflections in the sunlight or a dark shadow under water. Another thing to look out for is the activity of seabirds.
If there is lots of action, birds moving up and down and circling around, this is a good indicator for potential cetacean activity. In such a situation there might be fish present and whales or dolphins could be on the hunt. Sometimes they even hunt together and feed on the same big swarm of fish.
The birds indicating this around Madeira are mainly Cory’s shearwaters (Calonectris borealis)in this time of the year. We have seen them today off Calheta showing the described behavior and indeed, there have been Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) chasing fish. These dolphins are very skilled hunters and organize their undertaking. Some animals drive the scared fish up to the surface and keep them close together while others grab the prey. It is very impressive to witness this coordinated group activity.
In addition to the Atlantic spotted dolphins, we have seen Striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) today. Every day is unique and special out on the ocean…
by Jan-Christopher Fischer
Sightings of the day
08:30 (snorkeling) Atlantic spotted dolphins, Striped dolphins
12:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Striped dolphins, Loggerhead turtles
15:30 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins
13:30 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Loggerhead turtles
17:00 Bottlenose dolphins