28.10.2019 – Swell morning
Both our boats set out on a slightly heaving ocean with a medium sized swell that had already been present throughout the last weekend of October. A tour on a wavy ocean in scorching sunshine isn’t everyones cup of tea; many of our guests were struggling with sea sickness but all kept their eyes set on the Atlantic and braved the bumpy ride. Soon we were successful; a small school of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) was travelling past Lugar de Baixo and moving east. We soon caught up with the pod and had one young animal swiftly ride the bow waves of our traditional boat. Unlike human beings, dolphins are generally not affected negatively by waves, on the contrary they absolutely love them and even use them to glide faster through the ocean. The waves at our bow push the animals through the water which saves energy during travelling but also seems like a lot of fun!
However, not all waves are fun and not all animals react well to more difficult weather conditions. Storms on the ocean can cause disorientation, injuries or even death through exhaustion in several marine animals. This is especially true for migrating marine birds or sea turtles like the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta). We often encounter exhausted migratory sea birds and another whale-watching company even had the unfortunate encounter with a dead Loggerhead drifting close to Calheta today. Loggerheads are particularly sensitive to conditions at the surface since this is the area they use to rest, warm-up and breathe, so a high swell isn’t exactly ideal. Luckily the Loggerhead we saw during our tour seemed to tackle the waves pretty well and took a nice deep breath before plunging for another foraging dive.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Loggerhead turtle
10:00 Bottlenose dolphins