This week, we have seen several whales around Madeira on our trips. The bigger species of whales can be easy to spot, because their blows are so easy to see. One guest asked me why this is the case. When whales come to the surface and breathe out, they breathe out through their blowhole, which is located at the top of their bodies. When they do so, they do not only breathe out air, but also carbon dioxide and mucus (slime). This mixture is pushed out of the body under high pressure. Because the surrounding air has a lower pressure, and is normally colder, any water vapour in the breathed out air will condense, making a whale’s blow clearly visible, even from far away.
by Judith Kok