26.06.2019 – The restless ocean
Once again the time has come for us to introduce a new member of our little team: Welcome to the gang Scott Dorssers! Our new summer guide for the 2019 season had his first trip aboard the Ribeira Brava today and got a little taste of life as a Lobosonda crew member. Unfortunately the conditions today were not ideal with Northwest winds stirring up the surface of the Atlantic and bringing curtains of rain that obscured the view on the ocean for our spotter. But it will take more than some gusts of wind and a drizzle to have our team give up…
Our spotter soon located a baleen whale (Balaenopteridae) around five miles off the coast of Paul do Mar which was briefly sighted by our Ribeira Brava but the encounter didn’t suffice for a species identification. We expect sightings of two species of Baleen whales in the summer months; Tropical Whales (Balaenoptera edeni) and Sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis). Both species look extremely similar at the surface and can often only be distinguished through the ridges extending towards the tip of their snout. The Tropical whale happens to be the only baleen whale with three ridges, rather than just a single central ridge extending from its blowhole, a feature that is often not distinguishable at sea and can only be determined through careful examination of photos after the trip.
Upon hearing about the news of the whale, our zodiac veered west speeding to the location and discovered a group of Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) on the way, feeding three miles off the coastline. By then the whale had disappeared and our zodiac was soon joined by our traditional boat. The dolphins were also in the company of a handful of Striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), a notoriously shy species that displayed a more approachable behaviour in the company of the commons.
A baleen whale and two of the most decorative dolphins the oceans have to offer; this just grows to show that, despite the weather, the Atlantic never rests. And so, neither do we…
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
09:00 Unidentified baleen whale, Short-beaked common dolphins
09:00 Short-beaked common dolphins