On our final morning in the Algarve Elise arranged for us to go on a boat trip to see dolphins. It was fabulous! The boat was an inflatable raft fitted with high seats that you straddle rather than sit on. Only those able to touch the ground once seated are allowed on them, so the small Dutch girl in front had to sit on a low seat at the back, leaving me a clear view ahead. We sped out to sea, hanging on tight – a bit bumpy, but OK if you imagined you were riding a horse – and after 7 kilometres we arrived at a place where there were dolphins.
These were common dolphins, the ones that come up to boats and seem to play around them. The water was warm and clear, and we could see the animals swimming alongside the boat and crossing under it. Perhaps they thought the boat was a whale which would create favourable currents, or perhaps they had simply found a shoal of fish into which the boat had intruded. In any case, as they swam in front of the boat, and turned around and under it repeatedly, they certainly looked as if they were enjoying themselves. Another boat soon arrived, and we moved to a different place. The captains of the boats exchange information by radio on where they have found dolphins. In all we saw three different groups of common dolphins, at about the same distance from the coast.
Much too soon we had to leave, but on the way back we spotted a group of the less common bottle-nosed dolphins, which were following the line of the fishing nets along the coast. They are not so tolerant of boats and we had to keep at a certain distance, but we saw several large adults and a mother and baby.
it was a wonderful trip, great to see the dolphins and fun to try to catch them on photo. It was rather frustrating that my zoom lens was getting unreliable and would not focus close to, but a few shots worked well. Here are the best of my photos. Next time I’ll do better!