Dolfijnen kijken

Vakantie informatie over een dolfijnen tocht die u kunt maken tijdens uw vakantie.

Dolphins on the coast. Courtesy of Marjolein Feith.

A trip to remember

Finally we made this long planned boat trip with Vertigem azul to watch dolphins between Setubal and Troia. Vertigemazul is the company of Maria Joao Fonseca and Pedro Narra, two people who care a great deal about the wellbeing of golfinhos, the Portuguese word for dolphins. They know each of them by name and even though they are out there every day, they seem as touched as everyone else on the boat when the dolphins show up. On a beautiful Friday morning in august we left Grandola early for Setubal.
 
We had to be there at 9.30 for this dolphin trip. Although Maria Joao had very kindly, more than once, explained how to get there, we managed not to find it. How happy one can be with cell phones? It was not all that difficult after all. We were the last to arrive; all the other guests were already waiting. When we left the office to go aboard on the big rubber boat, the sun was hot already at that hour of the day. Maria Joao, who had picked up people in Troia for the trip, steered the boat effortlessly along the side between other boats so we could get on. We were welcomed by Maria and her sailor B, a cute young beagle who managed to walk on the sides of the boat by a speed of 80 km an hour. A true sailor I reckon. 
 
With about 20 people aboard we left Setubal with quite a speed, I was actually waiting for take off, but part of the boat remained in the water. The ferryboat takes about 20 minutes to get from Setubal to Troia, Maria just 5! Although it was a warm day, on the boat with such a speed it was sort of cold We went on to the Sado river and searched for dolphins but no such luck. A bit disappointing that was and for a moment I feared that we were not going to see any dolphins at all. Out on the ocean, still with the same speed I watched Maria Joao search the water with her eyes. 
 
I was looking for some sort of despair in her eyes but she seemed quite confident that we were going to find the dolphins, as she explained that they were either on the Sado river on a particular spot or out on the ocean, I got more at ease too But it still took a while before this relieving smile appeared on her face and she pointed out on the sea: there, there they are. She slowed down the boat and we moved in the direction of the dolphins. We came real close and could look the dolphins in their eyes. 15 to 20 Dolphins played around the boat as we were sailing along with them. This strange happy feeling came over me. It is hard to explain, I suppose you have to experience it yourself. They are amazing animals, dolphins. 
  
It looked as if they smiled at us. All of a sudden a baby dolphin popped up between his or her parents. The only baby this year. It is hard to survive for these youngsters since the pollution is bad out there. The government is it not really taking any action. Money and probably people knowing their way around (the industrialists), is the reason why this pollution goes on. Once you have seen the dolphins it seems an act of crime. They definitely should be protected against it! The dolphins did not stop playing along and three of them really came straight up in the water to show their beautiful selves, hey look at me am I beautiful? And indeed they are! Youth memories of Flipper came to my mind? 
 
After an hour or so we moved on to Serra Arabica (a national park), along the coast the possibility for a swim was given. Nobody felt like it so we moved on. On our way back a new group of dolphins came to say hello, older ones then the ones we had seen before. They were larger and had darker skins. Wonderful and as amazing as the first ones we saw. Maria seemed more than pleased with this group coming to say hello because she had missed them before. They count them every day I guess, making sure they are all right. Would you like to know a bit more about the dolphins? Have a look at the site of Vertigemazul: www.vertigemazul.com Going to the Alentejo Coast, make sure you do not miss this trip, Pedro and Maria can tell you lots about the dolphins. 
 
Vakantie in Portugal, welkom in de Alentejo.