Our Daily Trips

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29.07.2019 – Mysteries of the deep

29.07.2019 – Mysteries of the deep

Madeira, as you may know, is a Vulcanic island, it is the top of a 6 km high volcanic mountain rising off the ocean floor, that started forming about 5 million years ago. And exactly for this reason, it is such a wonderful place to go on a whale safari. The coastal waters and intertidal zones sport a high biodiversity of fish, shell fish and other organisms. This provides a good foundation for the food web around the island with many tasty fish for our dolphins and whales. Yet the deep waters so close to the shore of this under water mountain provide the squid and deep sea food that our diving whales enjoy.

This means that we have large lovely groups of dolphins like the Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) we saw and their close relatives the striped dolphins (Stenella Coeruleoalba) that patrol our waters for fish near the surface. And when we are lucky, like today, we get treated to their much larger friend the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). In the same short trip, we are also within range of the deep diving whales.

At the end of the day we got a little surprise! Not one but two beaked whale species showed up, first we glimpsed a distant Blainville’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon desirostris) who dove down before we could get a close enough look. Yet not so much later as we were on our way a Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) popped up close to our boat giving us a brief glimpse into the life of a mysterious creature of the deep. Then he dove of again, and since we had no idea if it was going to be a 30 minute or a 2 hour dive, we said goodbye. Turned and set our eyes back on the horizon.

By Scott Dorssers

Sightings of the day

Ribeira brava

09:00 Atlantic spotted dolphin

17:00 Bottlenose dolphin, Atlantic spotted dolphin


09:00 Atlantic spotted dolphin

15:30 Bottlenose dolphin, Striped dolphin

18:00 Atlantic spotted dolphin, Blainville’s beaked whale, Cuvier’s beaked whale.

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