Wildlife Watching Guide for Sailors in the Canary Islands

Wildlife Watching Guide for Sailors in the Canary Islands

Embarking on a sailing adventure around the Canary Islands offers not just the thrill of the open sea and the beauty of its islands, but also an unparalleled opportunity to connect with nature. The islands’ unique geographical location and diverse habitats make them a hotspot for observing an array of marine life and birds. This guide aims to equip sailors with insights on spotting and identifying wildlife, ensuring an enriching sailing experience while respecting the natural world.

Common Bottlenose Dolphin Leaping Out Of The North Atlantic OceanMarine Life Marvels

The waters surrounding the Canary Islands are teeming with life, providing sailors with frequent sightings of dolphins, whales, and turtles. The Canary Current, a cool ocean current that flows in the Atlantic Ocean near the Canary Islands, brings nutrient-rich waters that support a diverse marine ecosystem.

  • Dolphins and Whales: The archipelago is one of the best places in the world to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Look out for the playful bottlenose dolphins and the impressive pilot whales, which are resident species and can often be seen year-round.
  • Sea Turtles: The loggerhead sea turtle is the most commonly spotted in these waters. Keep an eye out for them near the surface, especially in the late afternoon when they are more likely to come up for air.

Feathered Friends

Tenerife Blue Chaffinch Photographed In The Canary IslandsThe Canary Islands are also a fantastic location for birdwatching, especially for endemic species and migratory birds that pass through the islands.

  • Endemic Birds: The blue chaffinch, a species found only in the Canary Islands, is a treat for birdwatchers. The best places to spot these and other endemic birds are in the laurel forests and pine woods of the islands.
  • Migratory Birds: The islands lie on the migratory paths of several bird species. Depending on the season, sailors might spot the osprey, the Egyptian vulture, and various species of shearwaters and petrels.

Best Times and Locations for Wildlife Watching

Timing and location are key to maximising wildlife sightings. Early morning and late afternoon are generally the best times for observing both marine life and birds, as animals are more active during these cooler parts of the day.

  • Teno-Rasca Strip: A marine strip between Tenerife and La Gomera, known for cetacean sightings.
  • El Hierro: The waters around this island are particularly rich in marine life, including a variety of whale species.
  • Garajonay National Park, La Gomera: A UNESCO World Heritage site, ideal for spotting endemic bird species in their natural habitat.

Ethical Wildlife Watching

As sailors, it’s crucial to approach wildlife watching with respect and caution to avoid disturbing the animals. Maintain a safe distance from marine creatures, especially when observing dolphins and whales. Use binoculars for a closer look without getting too close. Avoid feeding the wildlife or attempting to attract their attention, as this can alter their natural behaviors.

Final Thoughts

Sailing the Canary Islands offers more than just a journey across the waves; it’s a voyage into the heart of nature’s wonders. With the islands serving as a sanctuary for an impressive array of wildlife, sailors have a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of life above and below the sea. By following this guide and approaching wildlife watching with respect and mindfulness, sailors can ensure these islands remain a haven for all its inhabitants for generations to come.

Embark on your Canary Sail adventure with an eye for the natural world, and let the Canary Islands unveil their wild treasures through your journey.

12th March 2024 | cs_admin | Blog

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