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Captain´s diary - A summer of dolphins, orcas and whales!

Autumn has started and it's time to share some of the summer cetacean sightings and info.

Mais uma época de primavera e verão com 100% de avistamentos de golfinho nas nossas saídas diárias de Sesimbra, tendo sido grande parte das saídas de dolphin watch realizadas a Sul e a Sudoeste de Sesimbra.

Another spring and summer season with 100% dolphin sightings on our daily departures from Sesimbra, not bad!

Most of the dolphin watching sightings were made south and southwest of Sesimbra, the prefered playground of our cetacean freinds this summer!

The most observed species were the common dolphin Delphinus delphis between groups of 10 to 50 individuals and the bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, in particular the bottlenose dolphins of the Bolle group.

This group designation was given by the marine biologist in honor of one of our dolphin watching boats who started to identifing this summer the individuals of this local group :).



This summer, a large number of offspring of both species were recorded in Sesimbra, a notable increase compared to other years which can only mean really good news for these dolphins populations.

It should be noted that in common dolphins the young and juveniles were usually spotted in very small groups from 4 to 8 individuals and quite close to the coast line unlike the larger groups which are usually seen between 4 and 7 miles offshore and mostly adults dolphins.

From our observations in the morning period common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins gathered offshore Sesimbra in subgroups to hunt, then join in one larger group to move in the afternoon towards other feeding areas, generally southwest of Sesimbra.

No interactions of these two species were recorded, whenever both species are seen at the same dolphin watching tour the other species is at least within a 3-4 mile radius.

On August 13th 17th and 28th we had one of the highlights of the summer with several sightings of Orcas Orcinus Orca in a family group made up of a large male, a female and a youngster that stayed near Sesimbra for aprox. 15 days.



In all these observations, the presence of common dolphins was also recorded at different times near the orcas.

Schools of bluefin tuna were seen at the same time along the coast of Arrábida.

They are the main food of these Iberian Orcas who follow them on their migratory routes between Gibraltar and the Bay of Biscay. , cruising along the Portuguese coast in the summer.

About whale sightings, this season we had a sighting on August 24 of a common whale Balaenoptera physalus with about 18 meters which rose to the surface for a few seconds to breathe and which made the delight of everyone who shared this moment with us.

Throughout September the bottlenose dolphins of the Bolle group and common dolphins have been near Sesimbra and our most recent sightings were made between Sesimbra and Portinho da Arrábida.

The species of dolphins we saw in August and September were the common dolphin, striped dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, and the orcas.

From the family of whales Balaenopteridae, only one sighting of a common whale has been recorded however some sporadic sightings of minky whales were reported also by other vessels.

Because not only do we see cetaceans we often see large pelagic fish on our dolphin watching tours in Sesimbra.

The most significant reports of pelagic fish we had on board our boats this summer were several swordfish often jumping in the horizont, bluefins tuna hunting for mackarell, hammerhead sharks and blue sharks roaming on the sea surface often surrounded by common dolphins and finnaly the Sun Fish Mola mola, the largest bony fish species in the world and a protected species in Portugal.

The Mola mola is threatened with extinction in the world but can be often seen swimming from Sesimbra to Cabo Espichel in our daily tours.

The richness of this maritime region and ocean ecosystems from Arrábida to Espichel makes each of our dolphin watching excursions in Sesimbra unique and every time with new reasons of interest.



A special thanks to all our clients and friends who share with Bolhas Tours all year round these incredible dolphin watching tours to discover the natural wild life of Sesimbra´s sea.

"Dolphins surf to strengthen friendships, and for the sheer exhilaration of it."
Sir David Attenborough

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