Sunday, 19 August 2007

Dolphin Watching - Madeira - 19th August 2007

Place: Madeira
Date: 19th August 2007
Boat type: Dinghy boat
Who was on trip: Me, Mum
Wildlife seen: Bottlenose Dolphins, Sperm Whales, Seabirds, a strange fish

Woop yeah. So me and mum did the dolphin watch =]
We arrived at the meeting point, which was the shop. There was roughly 22 other people in there, all on the same trip as us. We were lead into a cinema like room, where we had a presentation about cetaceans. All the stuff I knew really =P
We were then lead into the Marina, and the group was split up, into groups of 12, to go on 2 dinghy-like boats. On the boats we had to wear orange life jackets.
So the 2 boats set off. The ride was pretty cool. Not too rough, and the waves were fun to ride.
It felt like ages, we were out at sea, seeing nothing but..sea. Saw the occasional sea bird.
The first dolphins I sighted were jumping out the water right alongside the other boat =o. It was not decided were Atlantic Spotted Dolphins or Bottlenose. I personally thought they were Bottlenose.
We saw alot of dolphins. I mean alot. The school was huge. They were all porpoising in and out of the water.
The company offered the chance to swim with the dolphins, which we paid for. It was a limit of 2 people a time. So me and a German woman were up to do it first. We stripped to our bikini's, shoved a mask and snorkel on, and sat on the boats side. Everytime we were given the signal to go in, we'd lose the dolphins. Has, one time we were moving off, and the German woman fell in! I almost fell backwards lol. So the boat was stopped to le ther back on lol. She was ok.
We found some dolphins again, and we got in, but we were only in the water for about a minute. The dolphins had disappeared, and neither of us got to see them underwater =(.
The dolphins clearly didnt want to come near us, which is why every time we were near they dived, so the dolphin swim was called off. Gutted =[. It was possible the group had calves. The group was huge though. There mustve been about 30! It was really amazing to see. Some were only like a few meters to my lift. Really cool. So we left the dolphins, and went in search of some Sperm Whales that had been sighted.
Our first sighting of the Sperm Whales, were of their blow, really far in the distance, which was then followed by their flukes. From where we were, they only lliked like pygmy ones lol.
We got a bit closer, and saw about 3. Then they dived down, and we saw their flukes go up =].
We rode about in the sea for ages, and we finally caught sight of them again. About 4 this time. We slowly approached. The other boat was closer to the whales which sucked for us lol. The whales were generally swimming at the surface, and we saw their blow/spout alot. When we got our closest yet, the whales dived. So we got to see their tails go up again =D. Superb, like the french said lol. It was very amazing. So when the final whale dived down, we headed back to the Marina. We caught some really cool waves =P.
Yeh so great trip. Gutted about the dolphin swim, but I did see them, and alot of them which was gute. And the Sperm Whales were a real bonus!

Pics here:
Video here:

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