Vertigem Azul began in 1998 when Maria João Fonseca and Pedro Narra decided to create a company that could reconcile a career in Nature and the life of the Sado dolphins. The aim was to create a top-end national tourism company and bring into evidence the community of dolphins resident in the Sado.
Observation of the resident community of bottlenose dolphins of the Sado. Guided boat tour – visiting the Sado estuary and the Arrábida coast.
- Best Tourist Animation 2014 – Turismo do Alentejo
- Best Tour Operator - Turístico de Lisboa e Vale do Tejo 2011
- Public Recognition for Services Rendered - Blue Coast Tourism Region 2007
The bottlenose dolphin has the Latin name Tursiops truncatus, and is a marine mammal belonging to the cetacean order, which includes approximately 80 different species of whales, dolphins and porpoises. With the exception of the Polar Regions, bottlenose dolphins can be found all over the world. They live in cold, temperate and tropical waters, and can just as easily be found in bays, coastal waters as in the open ocean.
The first studies on the Sado’s dolphins began to be carried out in 80’s. At that time, nearly 40 members of the community where identified, but there was been some decline since then. In the 90’s the number of dolphins was around 30, on average. In 2005 only 22 individuals were counted. Currently, there are 27 dolphins living in the estuary. The increase in numbers may be related to the fact that we have stopped registering the emigration of some this population’s individuals. On the other hand, the success in reproduction in this group is high with a survival rate for cubs of over 80%. Between 1998 and 2005, 14 births were registered but only 3 remained with the population. Between 2005 and 2011, 11 calves were born of which 9 survived.
The reproduction of this species is slow. The mothers birth one calf at a time and only after a gestation period o f 12 months. From the moment the calf is born, its mother will care for it for a period that can vary between 3 to 5 years and, only then, is she ready for a new gestation. All dolphins in the Sado are photo-identified and have been named. They are identified by their dorsal fins as these differ in size, shape and scars. Each one is unique!
At the moment the Sodo Roaz population has 5 calves, 4 juveniles and 8 adults. They are considered calves up to the moment they separate from their mothers and enter the more independent juvenile stage. As of the age of 8 or 10 they reach reproductive maturity and are considered adult. They can live to about 45 years of age. Telling male dolphins from the female is very difficult as the only morphological difference is in the genitals. We can tell the females apart when they have calves and as followed by them for the first three years of their lives. We have identified seven females and five males in the Sado estuary.
Co-Founder / Skipper
Co-Founder / Skipper