Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Encounters with sperm whales and dolphins

Today we encountered sperm whales, common dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins (the latter species only during the afternoon tour). In the afternoon on our third tour whale watchers did not see the sperm whales, but they did have some bonus encounters with striped dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and even a hammerhead shark! We also had some great swimming encounters today, with some of our swimmers in the morning having the luck of seeing a feeding group of common dolphins (together with Cory's shearwaters) that had shoaled a school of mackerel just beneath the surface which the swimmers could observe underwater. As a last bonus, loggerhead turtles were also spotted throughout the day!

Photos of the swimming this morning:

Photos from the afternoon:

Sperm whale at the surface

Sperm whale diving, the same whale was seen in the morning

One of our boats with another sperm whale diving

Aboard our boat "Song of Whales"

Passing Vila Franca Islet

Another beautiful day in São Miguel, Azores

Monday, August 18, 2014

Feeding time!

Today in the morning we encountered many feeding groups of common dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins together with Cory's shearwaters, common terns and yellow-legged gulls. Among the spotted dolphins we had some really new born babies, so small that they looked like sardines ;) We also encountered a large group of bottlenose dolphins. The dolphins were diving all the time as they were feeding as well. It was a morning of getting breakfast in the belly for the dolphins. We also saw a loggerhead turtle. As well as whale watching we also went out swimming with bottlenose dolphins, and two boats stopped in Vila Franca do Campo as we also have a Full Day tour. In the afternoon we encountered the same dolphin species, although this time we did not observe any feeding activity. First we encountered a spread out group of common dolphins and later we were surprised by some juvenile Atlantic spotted dolphins that came leaping to our travelling boat at full speed, then disappeared just as quickly as they had appeared. The best encounter in the afternoon was with a group of about 40 bottlenose dolphins who were all travelling together. We also enjoyed beautiful coastal views during the afternoon tour.

Photos from the morning:

A spotted face

Watching spotted dolphins from our zodiac João Vigia

A spotted dolphin jumping and a Cory's shearwater

Cory's shearwaters chasing fish

Bottlenose dolphins

Song of Whales and our swimming boat with bottlenose dolphins

We love to see wild dolphins, but we also love to see children watching wild dolphins

Our morning swimming boat

Photos from the afternoon:

Bottlenose dolphins with Vila Franca Islet in the background

Bottlenose dolphins

A beautiful day off the coast of the green island of the Azores (São Miguel island)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dolphins in the waves

Today was a dolphin day and a wavy day. We went out on our zodiac boats and medium-sized boats in the morning and afternoon, riding the waves and getting some sea spray in our faces, which is all part of the experience. Out at sea we encountered common dolphins in the morning and afternoon and a group of bottlenose dolphins in the morning. Some people also spotted a bottlenose dolphin among the group of common dolphins in the afternoon, a lone individual that was also seen with common dolphins yesterday. 

Photos from today:

Bottlenose dolphins from the morning tour

A large group of common dolphins sighted in the afternoon

Beautiful common dolphins

One of our boats in the afternoon with common dolphins

Another one of our boats out on the water

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A sperm whale day

Today was a sperm whale day. Until seven o´clock at night we had sperm whales around our boats. In the morning we had breaching sperm whale further out and closer to us some lobtailing. We ended up seeing seven sperm whales including a small newborn baby. We also encountered bottlenose dolphins. In the afternoon we repeated the morning with the same sperm whale group. Two of our boats stayed with five sperm whales, including that newborn calf and a juvenile. Our other boat had a lobtailing sperm whale waving to them. We also encountered a mixed group of bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins.  In the evening we had to go far to find the sperm whales but thanks to another breaching sperm whales we did find them. We had an amazing time with a logging sperm whale finally ending our day with a tail.  And on our way back we found Atlantic spotted dolphins playing around in the waves.

Photos from the morning:

A curious sperm whale approaching our zodiac

A lobtailing sperm whale

Watching a group of five sperm whales

Photos from the afternoon:

A lobtailing sperm whale for one of our boats while the rest of us saw a group of five whales (see photo below)

One of our zodiacs (the ones who stayed with the lobtailing whale)

Photos from our later tour:

Our evening whale diving

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sperm whales, pilot whales and common dolphins

Today we started the morning with a mission - to see a group of sperm whales that our vigia (onshore lookout) had spotted far away between São Miguel Island and Santa Maria Island. On perfect summer's days like today our vigias can spot whales a long way off the coastline so this means that sometimes we have to travel far to see them. The trip was well worth it as we arrived to the area to see 8 sperm whales at the surface socialising together. The family group of females had a small newborn calf with it which was playfully rolling around alongside the larger females. While we watched then we had the backdrop of Santa Maria Island in the distance behind them.

We also encountered dolphins throughout the day. During both the morning and afternoon we encountered groups of common dolphins. Our swimmers also reported some really nice swimming throughout the day with this beautiful yellow-sided dolphin species. In the afternoon we also encountered a much larger dolphin species: pilot whales! We have not seen pilot whales since July 4th, so it was a nice surprise.

Photos from the morning:

Our boat "Song of Whales" on a beautiful summer's morning

Common dolphin

Cory's shearwaters, feeding together with common dolphins

2 adult sperm whales at the surface, Santa Maria island in the background

Sperm whale calf showing its tail tip next to a larger adult

Beautiful views of São Miguel Island on our way back to Ponta Delgada

Photos from the afternoon:

Aboard Song of Whales

Pilot whale

Pilot whale

One of our swimming boats with common dolphins

Our second swimming boat this afternoon

Common dolphins

Juvenile tern

Photos of bottlenose dolphins from our later tour:

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