Pilot whales, Bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins, Rough-toothed dolphins, Common dolphins, Blainville’s beaked whales, Baleen whales, Osprey, Gannet, Loggerhead sea turtles, Flying fish
In May 2023, we were lucky enough to see 7, probably even 8 different species of Cetaceans on our Whale Watching tours off La Gomera:
The following species were observed on our tours in May
- Bottlenose dolphine
- Pilot whales
- Atlantic spotted dolphins
- Rough-toothed dolphins
- Common dolphins
- Blainville’s beaked whales (Dense beaked whales)
- Baleen whales (possibly Bryde’s resp. Sei whales)
This month was very diverse, not only in terms of marine mammals, who showed us the wide range of species and behaviours we may encounter, but also in terms of other wildlife:
The Pilot whales were often seen larger pods with many calves, just leisurely “on their way”, and we got to watch and listen to them up close. Their sound of them exhaling is simply a touching, impressive and so relaxing sound!
The Spotted dolphins were sometimes curious, accompanying us and riding the bow wave. But other times the school of fish was much more interesting than we were – we were allowed to watch them fish, but were not paid any further attention. Quite understandably, eating is much more important than we are…
And the Bottlenose dolphins showed us once again how strong and powerful they are! In a rather leisurely situation with relaxed Pilot whales, all of a sudden about 20 Bottlenose dolphins, all in a row, came speeding towards us, more flying than swimming. The group split up and passed the boat on both sides, continuing towards their unknown destination. More and more animals appeared, everywhere the sea foamed and splashed around us, and we were allowed to accompany the pod on its way for a while.
Our secret favourites (of which we have many, by the way…), the Rough-toothed dolphins, also surprised us this month with one of their rather rare visits. Aabout 40 of them accompanied us for more than half an hour, frolicking around the boat, pushing for the best spot spot in the bow wave, to the delight of both guest and crew alike.
A few times we were also able to enjoy Baleen whales, some of them accompanied by their calf. Sometimes they were probably Sei whales, sometimes rather Bryde’s whales.
And last but not least, we had several Beaked whale sightings, which is very unusual: they live here all year round, but since these deep divers like to dive for 45 minutes and often spend only a few minutes on the surface to breathe, you have to be lucky and be in the right place at the right time to spot them. Several times it was quite the typical Beaked whale sighting: from a distance we could briefly see the back and dorsal fin a few times, and that was it. But once we were lucky that they approached the boat and could be easily identified as Blainville beaked whales, showing us the unmistakeable head.
Twice we were lucky enough to see ospreys, of which there are unfortunately only very few breeding couples left on La Gomera, and once we saw a really rare visitor: a gannet, which only sometimes pass by here on their migrations.
A Flying fish also swam or rather flew by once, and then there were the two Loggerhead sea turtles that met in the endless expanse of the Atlantic Ocean right next to our boat. Normally we only see single specimens, but these two got very close…
(Photos: U.C. Ludewig, OCEANO Archive, guest Oliver