28.06.2017 – A beautiful start with a sobering experience
As a new guide who recently joined the wonderful Lobosonda team, I imagine a day like today being a truly memorable one for all of our guests. It was a beautiful sunny day, the sea was calm and the conditions perfect for spotting and observing animals out at sea. We embarked on two trips with the Ribeira Brava today and one later in the afternoon on the Stenella.
In the morning, a very excited and enthusiastic group of guests aboard the Ribeira Brava were lucky to encounter two Sperm Whales off the coast near Madalena do Mar. We were able to follow the animals for around ten minutes before they raised their flukes to engage in a deep dive. We also saw a group of Bottlenose dolphins, a species that was also encountered on the Stenella trip in the later afternoon. The animals even felt comfortable enough to approach the Stenella, giving our guests the opportunity to take some memorable photos.
The afternoon group on the Ribeira Brava reported a sighting of no less than three (!!!) Loggerhead turtles warming up at the surface of the deep Madeiran waters. One of the turtles was sadly involved in a playful tease by juvenile Atlantic spotted dolphins, which was surely enjoyable for the young mammals but not for the poor turtle. The Stenella group found themselves surrounded by a large school of Atlantic spotted dolphins which also included mothers and very small calves. The animals approached the boat and we managed to observe some bow riding, head stands and a number of impressive leaps.
The only unfortunate encounter we had today was with the greatest killer in our oceans: plastic. We always remove floating plastic during our trips, usually bottles or bags, sometimes even small conglomerations of fishing nets. During today’s Stenella trip we saw a piece of plastic we couldn’t remove. It was on the dorsal fin of one of the Bottlenose dolphins. Over a 100,000 marine animals worldwide die as a result of plastic waste every year. While I don’t want to finish my first Lobosonda blog on such a harsh note after such a beautiful day, it’s worth mentioning that we should avoid the use of plastic as much as possible in our daily lives. Or whale watching trips may not be as eventful and memorable as the one we were lucky enough to enjoy today.
by Paula Thake
Sightings of the day:
09:00: Bottlenose dolphins, Sperm whales
13:30: Atlantic spotted dolphin,
15:30: Bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphin