Bryde’s Whales Cow and Calf

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.

Rare White Spotted Dolphin

Staff and guests were excited to observe a white Atlantic Spotted dolphin this morning. Traveling within a group of several hundred Spotted dolphins the all white colour of the dolphin was very distinct. This is the first time we have seen this dolphin – a colleague has shared information of such a sighting in the Azores Islands to the north of the Canary Islands.

This is not an albino dolphin, but most likely the result of a leucism, where pigment is missing in the animals skin. Leucism is a condition where there is partial loss of pigmentation in the skin. But it does not necessarily translate to poor health. The dolphin was observed to be robust and to the casual observation – healthy.

Thank you to all the guests who joined our small group whale and dolphin watching eco-adventures today! It was thrilling to observe such a rare white dolphin together. Additionally we encountered a Fin whale, a Bryde’s whale and numerous Pilot whales, Common dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins and hundreds of Spotted dolphins today.

False Killer Whales

A pod of False Killer whales was encountered on today’s whale watching tours. While exploring Costa Adeje today we managed to observe these rare cetacean visitors to Tenerife! The False Killer whales were very active and inquisitive with our whale watching tour boat, making close passes and investigating the boat. Captain John was quick to grab the GoPro underwater video camera and caught some amazing video of these amazing cetaceans as they swam around our idle boat.

False Killer whales are one of the larger dolphin species, most adults are over 5 meters in length. They are a pelagic species spending most of their lives in open ocean. They hunt pelagic fish, like tuna. During our encounter with the False Killer whales we observed the group hunting and consuming a large tuna. They were also seen mixing with the resident Pilot whales and Bottlenose dolphins.

It was a rare treat to get to observe the False Killer whales today along Costa Adeje. They were very engaged with the boat and getting to see them feed was also exciting! We will keep our fingers crossed that they visit Costa Adeje more in the future. You never know what we might encounter on our Costa Adeje whale and dolphin watching tours in Tenerife!

Blue Shark!

A Blue Shark appeared in the deep blue ocean off of Costa Adeje today on our whale watching tour. The boat was sitting idly with the engines off as we had the hydrophone in the water to listen to the chatter of the whales and dolphins. The Blue shark seemed very inquisitive as it made several close passes to the boat and investigated our hydrophone. Captain John was quick to get the GoPro into the water and capture this beautiful video of the Blue shark before it disappeared into the ocean depths.

The Blue shark (Prionace glauca) is a pelagic or open ocean species of shark. They do have a rich blue sheen to their dorsal or back which is particularly well seen as the shark rises to the surface and into the sunlight. The Blue shark has unusually long pectoral fins and a slender frame which aid its long distance travels as it searches for food in the open ocean. They mainly feed on small fish and squid. They can reach over 3 meters in length and up to 150 kg.

Getting to observe this beautiful ocean traveller was a pleasure and as exciting for our Biologists as it was the guests on todays whale watching tour. One of the reasons we so enjoy exploring Costa Adeje with our guests is you just never know what species of marine wildlife we might encounter! Today was the first time we observed a Blue Shark, while we have also seen numerous Hammerhead sharks and a Short Fin Mako shark as well. Thanks to all the wonderful people who joined us on todays eco-adventure!

Spotted Dolphins

A large pod of Atlantic Spotted dolphins approached and circled our whale watching tour boat today while exploring Costa Adeje of Tenerife. They spent several minutes swimming alongside our boat, while their calls were audible above the water! It was a thrilling encounter with a large pod of adult Spotted dolphins and thanks to Captain Jose we have a beautiful GoPro video to share with you.

Atlantic Spotted dolphins are the third most commonly observed cetacean species on our whale and dolphin watching tours along Costa Adeje of Tenerife. The deep marine ecosystem and ocean currents create an ideal environment for the Spotted dolphins to hunt and feed. Interestingly Spotted dolphins are not all Spotted, but this group of adults was characteristically marked with light and dark spots.

Thanks to all our guests who joined us today to observe these amazing pod of Atlantic Spotted dolphins. Our whale and dolphin watching tours are lucky to encounter Spotted dolphins throughout the year here along Costa Adeje of Tenerife. While yet undetermined, there is believed to be a population of Spotted dolphins that reside in the Canary Islands archipelago. Regardless, they are an exciting and dynamic group of cetaceans to share with our whale watching tour guests!

Bryde’s Whale GoPro Video

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!

Common Dolphin Nursery Group

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!

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