Today we encountered a well known pair of Bryde’s whales, a mother and calf, that have been sporadically seen along Costa Adeje on our whale watching tours for over a year now. We can identify these two by the unique markings on the adult females dorsal fin (with a good photo!). This time we managed to get the drone up and collect some wonderful video of the two Bryde’s whales swimming together.
Bryde’s whales are unique in that they are one of the only species of baleen whale that does not migrate. They seem to prefer warm oceans and their distribution is circumtropical. There is a catalog created by Association Tonina that has identified a number of the Bryde’s whales regularly observed around Tenerife and neighbouring Canary Islands.
Bryde’s whales are also not very well studied. Their populations are small and so little is known about them that their scientific name is still debated, especially depending on where in the world they are located. We don’t even know how old this baby is. How long does a Bryde’s whale calf nurse? How long does it stay with its mother? So much to learn – but for now, lets just enjoy these amazing moments marvelling at one of natures beautiful mysteries.
Lately there have been more Bryde’s whales moving into the ocean zone off Costa Adeje in Tenerife. This marks the changing of the season as the cooler autumn seas change the marine environment. This brings more food into the area for these 12-16 meter long baleen whales. Over the past week we have encountered over 6 Bryde’s whales on our tours.
Bryde’s whales, also called the ‘Tropical Whale’ are one of the least studied and understood of the baleen whales. This is largely due to their life history as they do not migrate in large numbers to feeding/breeding areas. They tend to move within their hunting grounds in tropical and temperate seas. So large aggregations are rare and thus studying their habits is more challenging.
While observing this Bryde’s whale, the boat idle, engine off, this whale changed direction and swam right under the boat! Captain John was quick to put the GoPro camera in the water and capture some wonderful video of the whale as it swam under our boat. As the whale turns on its side (presumably to look up at the boat) its ventral side is exposed where we can see clearly one genital slit on the lower abdomen. This is a male whale – females have 3 slits – 2 for mammies and 1 genital slit).
We are hopeful that this autumn change continues with more larger baleen whales and other species of dolphins becoming more frequent. Common dolphins have also been more frequently observed on the tours over the past week. Fingers crossed for lots of amazing species to enjoy exploring Costa Adeje with our guests in the coming weeks!
A group of about 15 Common dolphins, a nursery group, swam over to and spent quite a while bow riding in front of our whale watching tour boat along Costa Adeje this morning. Common dolphins are an oceanic species and usually seen far offshore of Tenerife. This group was just a few kilometres off shore of Costa Adeje, in the same area we often see Pilot whales.
A nursery group is made up of babies, juveniles and usually a couple of females, typically the mothers of the youngest members of the group. Nursery groups can be quite engaging as the young dolphins are often energetic and inquisitive. This group was no different with a lot of close passes along the side of the boat and many minutes spent swimming directly in front of the boat – to the amazement of our guests.
Common dolphins are typically seen in groups of 10-15 individuals, but we normally see adult groups. This species is more frequently encountered during the winter season in Tenerife, when the ocean is cooler. So encountering this nursery group of Common dolphins during our whale and dolphin watching tour along Costa Adeje this morning was an exciting surprise!
Today we had a great encounter with a very large group of Striped dolphins while exploring along Costa Adeje. Striped dolphins are an oceanic species of dolphin usually found offshore in the open ocean in groups that can be several hundred individuals.
The group of Striped dolphins we observed this morning in Tenerife was estimated to be over 200 individuals. This was a very active group with a lot of synchronised porpoising and even some jumping and dancing on the tail fin – an unusual behaviour we have only seen with the Striped dolphins.
As we observed the Striped dolphins we noticed several groups of Pilot whales in the area. It is not uncommon to see different dolphin species swimming around and sometimes interacting with the resident Pilot whales here in Tenerife. An exciting and uncommon sighting this morning along Costa Adeje with several hundred Striped dolphins!
A very curious Pilot whale approached and seemed to interact with the whale watching boat today! Luckily we got the GoPro in the water quickly and managed to collect some of this wonderful interaction. An amazing species that we feel very privileged to see in such a large resident population here along Costa Adeje, Tenerife.
Great day for whale watching tours along Costa Adeje with wonderful observations of Common dolphins and Spotted dolphins bow riding. These two species were even mixing for the opportunity to race alongside our boat! Amazing moments like these are one of the reasons we love to share whale watching trips with our guests.
Common dolphins are found throughout the world, sometimes observed in groups of over 1,000 animals! This is why they are called ‘Common’. But we don’t like the name, they a such a beautifully coloured species of dolphin with greys, whites and a large yellow patch on their sides. We suggest a better name might be ‘Painted Dolphin’!
Common dolphins are seasonal visitors to Tenerife. They prefer slightly cooler waters that Tenerife has in the the summer, although we have seen them in every month of the year. They follow their food (fish mostly) and the ocean currents that the fish take. We usually find them further offshore from Costa Adeje than most cetacean species.
The Atlantic Spotted dolphins are more often encountered along Costa Adeje. Interestingly the Spotted dolphins seem to mix with other cetacean species. We have seen them in close proximity or even mixing with groups of Pilot whales, Bottlenose dolphins and Common dolphins.
A wonderful day of whale and dolphin watching here along Costa Adeje, Tenerife. Thank you to all the great people who joined our small group eco-adventures to explore all the amazing marine wildlife. The highlight was observing the active and thrilling mixed group of Spotted and Common dolphins racing our boat.