25.09.2016 – Surf’s up!
Madeira is a beautiful island to grab your surfboard and ride the waves. Not only locals and tourists love to surf, dolphins do too! Today, we had a relatively high swell on the ocean, and we saw many spotted dolphins riding the waves. Dolphins are natural surfers, and show many of the same techniques that human surfers use. We saw some dolphins ‘lining’ up for the swell. They were waiting perpendicularly to the direction of the swell. When a good wave would approach, they would start swimming, speed up quickly, and let themselves be carried by the swell. Their tails were being lifted up, and noses pointing down.
Surfing might be a fun activity for dolphins, but it’s also an energy-conserving technique. The swell pushes the dolphins through the water. An easy ride for them! Baby dolphins sometimes use the same energy-saving technique by staying very close to their mother, so the mother’s ‘current’ pulls them along. Dolphins definitely know the secrets of the ocean’s movements. True water masters!
by Judith Kok
15.30: Atlantic Spotted Dolphins, Pilot whales