Madeira Whale Watching August

Madeira whale watching August 2023 – a month for families and lots of babies. Not only were there babies with our guests families, but the end of summer brought numerous sightings of dolphin and whale babies as well. Many cetacean species have their babies during the summer months when the ocean temperatures are warmer. Perhaps it is because the babies are not born with much blubber or body fat and the warm temperatures of the ocean in summer increase their chance of survival. Of the 10 different whale and dolphin species we saw during the month of August, we saw the babies of 7 cetacean species!

August was warm for Madeira’s typical temperatures, several days well into the 30’s made record temperatures. It did not seem to deter our resident species of Pilot whales and Bottlenose dolphins as they were sighted on many of the tours. These two species are even seen spending time in each others company – a rare event for Pilot whales as they are usually very territorial. Both groups had numerous babies with them, most of the Bottlenose dolphins appeared to be a couple of months old, but there were some very young Pilot whales seen during August.

The Atlantic Spotted dolphins were the most abundant of all cetacean species during the month of August 2023. We often saw them in large pods of 30+ dolphins and usually with babies in the groups. They are a migratory species that arrives in the spring and usually stays until early fall. They prefer warm oceans and by the time fall comes to Madeira they have moved to warmer latitudes.

Blainville’s Beaked whales are a rare species of deep diving whale that are hard to encounter. They simply spend so much time underwater, often 40+ minute dives, they are hard to see. However, in Madeira they are fairly common during the summer months. We saw several groups of females with babies and their male escort.

The Striped dolphins also had babies in their pods. Striped dolphins are notoriously fast and erratic swimmers – but we managed some amazing sightings with their family groups.

During the end of August we had several tours that got to see the Rough-toothed dolphins and they also had babies in their pods. They are more common in tropical seas, but can be seen in Madeira during the summer. We usually see groups of 10-15 individuals, but this summer we encountered some pods of 40-50 dolphins.

Finally, we had one encounter with a Bryde’s whale that had a calf. Bryde’s whales can reach 15 meters, so a calf of 5-6 meters looks small in comparison, but they still leave a big impression. We managed to see several different Bryde’s whales during August – we can differentiate individuals with a good photo of their dorsal fin.

Madeira whale watching August 2023 also included sightings of Sperm whales, a Sei whale and a Cuvier’s Beaked whale.

Thanks to all of our guests for joining us to explore the diversity of dolphins and whales around Madeira with us.

A big thank you to our awesome team for all the extra hours and hard work during the busy summer month of August as well.

We look forward to September and the beginning of the fall season – in the island of eternal spring.

Madeira Whale Watching August Sightings