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FOTO of the MONth

Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops t.)

Bottlenose Dolphin
(Tursiops truncatus)

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ENCOUNTERS WITH
        FREE RANGING WHALES AND DOLPHINS

Being together with dolphins and whales is always an exciting adventure. Each excursion is new and different. We never know if, where and when we will meet them.

The ocean Southwest of La Gomera offers a unique variety of marine mammals. 23 different species of dolphins and whales have already been sighted here. Each species moves freely through this part of the Atlantic Ocean. No "pod" - as they are called - resides permanently in a specific area.

So we go out in our boats and look for them: Mostly we meet dolphins, such as Bottlenose dolphins or small groups of Rough-toothed dolphins, or the fast Striped and Common dolphins. Or else we may suddenly be surrounded by curious Atlantic Spotted dolphins.

We also meet Pilot whales and the rare Beaked whales, often quite close to the coast. Sometimes even big whales such as Fin, Sei, Bryde’s or Sperm whales are encountered. The area is always good for a surprise!

Feel free to expect everything – because anything can happen here, even Blue whales have been seen here sporadically! But please do accept it if things turn out otherwise, just enjoy the powerful ocean itself, the sea birds, maybe a sea turtle, jumping tuna or the sunlight sparkling on the water surface. During the warmer months, there might also be a possibility to stop for a swim.

It is important for us to treat these marvellous creatures with respect (cf. respectful whale watching). They are the hosts and we are the guests.

Our encounters with them vary greatly each time. Often we do feel invited as they show a noticeable interest in us. Sometimes we can follow them on their journey from somewhere to nowhere. At other times we may be tolerated as quiet observers, e.g. when they are fishing. At times we encounter large pods, at others only small groups of three to ten animals. They may come straight up to the boat and ride in the bow wave, but it can also happen that they just want to be left alone.

That's the way it is with wild dolphins and whales in their natural habitat.

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