Spotted dolphins are one of our guest favourites as they often swim over to the boat and seem to enjoy bow riding or pacing alongside the boat, often leaping mere meters away from our excited guests (and crew!). GoPro underwater footage gives us a glimpse into their ocean realm.
Racing over to the boat, bow riding and leaping alongside is not typical behaviour of most whale and dolphin species. Yet when we stop the boat to give the dolphins their space, they slowly swim away…until we start back up again where they typically race right back over to us! We have learned, the Atlantic Spotted dolphins seem intrigued by the boat and will pace us as long as they want to.
Atlantic Spotted dolphins are not a resident species of Costa Adeje in Tenerife, but a transient oceanic species. They are however very common in the Canary Islands archipelago and the third most commonly encountered cetacean species on our whale and dolphin watching tours. They are also an amazing and engaging species to observe and always put a smile on the faces of our guests!
Bottlenose dolphins hunt a bait ball of small fish on this mornings whale and dolphin watching tour along Costa Adeje, Tenerife. Exciting to observe their underwater activity with the help of the GoPro.
Bottlenose dolphins hunt as a team, encircling the prey fish. In the open ocean there is no where to trap fish, so the Bottlenose dolphins work in a group pushing the fish towards the surface where the fish have no where to escape.
Then the dolphins take turns dashing into the ball of fish and capturing their prey. While the instinct of the fish is to group together, moving in unison to try and confuse the dolphins, it does not work. The dolphins echolocation and sight allows them to pick off the fish one by one, filling their bellies.
It is very exciting to be able to watch this activity from the whale watching boat. It is amazing to have the Bottlenose dolphins push the bait ball of fish over to our idle boat where we could dip the Go Pro into the water and catch a glimpse of this ocean drama as it unfolds in the ocean realm!
Thanks to all the wonderful people who joined us today for thrilling and respectful whale and dolphin watching tours along Costa Adeje, Tenerife. We feel privileged to share these incredible moments with our guests. We hope to see you all again for more eco-adventure tours with the cetaceans of Tenerife.
Some video from todays encounter with Bottlenose dolphins on our Costa Adeje whale and dolphin watching tours. They are often very active, approaching the whale watching boat, with spectacular leaps and engaging activity for the guests to observe.
Costa Adeje is the home to a large resident population of Bottlenose dolphins of two distinct eco-types. These are the ‘coastal’ and ‘oceanic’ eco-types of Bottlenose dolphins. While their DNA make-up is the same, their environment and lifestyle have created some physical differences that stand out between the two groups.
Costal Bottlenose dolphins, as the name suggests, spend most of their time close to the shoreline of Costa Adeje. Their family pods are typically smaller, 6-10 individuals, they are smaller bodied and usually lighter in color. Their diet is also different, while small schooling fish make up the majority of their prey, they have also been known to eat garden eels (a type of eel that lives in the shallow sediment) and crustaceans.
Oceanic Bottlenose dolphins spend their lives in the deep ocean between Tenerife and La Gomera. This different environment means they spend more time swimming as their prey are always moving. This is mostly small schooling fish and pelagic crustaceans, even some ocean squid. The oceanic eco-type tends to live in larger pods, is larger bodied and often with darker countershading.
Join us to explore the realm of the cetaceans along Costa Adeje in Tenerife. We often observe some of the resident Bottlenose dolphins on our whale and dolphin watching tours. We hope you can join our little eco-adventures in Tenerife!
Blainville’s Beaked whales are a deep diving species that hunts medium sized squid and octopus in the deep ocean. The underwater topography of Tenerife’s volcanic origins creates a very deep marine environment of over 3 kilometres of depth not far off of Costa Adeje. These deep ocean waters allow for a myriad of different prey species for cetaceans which in turn creates opportunity and the presence of a variety of whales and dolphins off of Tenerife’s coasts.
This appeared to be a female Blainville’s Beaked whale as there were no erupted molars along the rear of the jaw and no scarring on the front of the head or torso. Males have elongated rear molars that erupt from the rear jaw above the upper jaw and typically have encrustations growing on them. The older males often have deeply scarred heads and forward bodies from what is believed to be sparring with other males competing for the opportunity to mate with females.
Todays encounter was exciting for our staff of Biologists and for the guests. We only see the Blainville’s Beaked whales every few months along Costa Adeje in Tenerife. This is due to the relatively small size of their population, about 66 different individuals have been identified by Association Tonina in their Photo ID catalog. But also because they are a deep diving species, often underwater for up to an hour, surfacing to oxygenate their blood before returning to the dark depths to hunt.
Spotted dolphins are such an amazing species to observe on our Costa Adeje whale watching tours. A transient species, they often are in large pods and usually very active. Most times they race over to the boat and seem to love bow riding, much to the excitement of our guests!
The Atlantic Spotted dolphins are a transient species usually found offshore of Costa Adeje. They are a medium sized dolphin, but unlike their name suggests, they do not always have spots! When they are born they are various shades of grey with countershading – their bellies being white. As they mature and become adults – typically around 6-7 years of age they begin to become ‘spotted’.
The spots are one of the ways to tell the age of the different dolphins within the pod, size being the other obvious way. Their dark backs and white bellies both get contrasting spots. However, there are some adult Atlantic Spotted dolphins that never develop the spots – maybe how some people have freckles?
Thanks to everyone who joined us today to observe the Atlantic Spotted dolphins on our Costa Adeje whale and dolphin watching tours. We are lucky that with the fast and comfortable rigid hull inflatable whale watching boat we use there is a better chance to see more cetacean species as we have a larger range than most of the tours in southern Tenerife. Join us to explore Costa Adeje and the many amazing whales and dolphins.
While exploring Costa Adeje today on our whale and dolphin watching tours we were so lucky to encounter two Pilot whales, a female and young calf, that were very inquisitive of our boat. There are whale watching regulations in Tenerife that we strictly adhere to, but the resident Pilot whales don’t have any such restrictions. They are the top of the food chain here in Tenerife and go where they want to.
Lucky for us, today they were in a social mood and they decided to swim over to our idle boat and do what we call ‘People Watching’! Our Captain was quick to drop the GoPro over the side of the boat to capture some amazing video and their calls as they investigated us.
These sorts of encounters with the resident Pilot whales of Costa Adeje in Tenerife are rare and never forced. We have found that by respecting the distance the regulations require that the whales own curiosity can become peaked and they may investigate the boat of their own accord. These are the special moments that we love to share with our whale watching tour guests. Thanks to everyone for joining us today for a very special encounter with two amazing Pilot whales!