Thursday, July 24, 2014

A fun afternoon with sperm whales and bottlenose dolphins

Today we had a fun afternoon, riding the waves in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, in search of whales and dolphins. We had to cancel in the morning due to rain and bad visibility (this means we cannot find the animals because we spot them by sight). However, the afternoon was much better and we quickly found a group of bottlenose dolphins followed by sperm whales further to the East of São Miguel Island. The bottlenose dolphins were travelling in a group of about 50 individuals, including some calves. Our two swimming boats were with them and they were able to enjoy this nice group of dolphins from a different point of view - under water. The sperm whales were going on frequent shallow dives so they were not easy to approach and watch for long at the surface. With this kind or behaviour we had to be more patient than usual and had to also keep more distance. Respecting the animals and giving them the space they need is is very important. Luckily we all got to see the whales at the surface and at one time we watched 3 adults on the surface together. Some people who were a bit more observant also spotted a couple of loggerhead turtles at the surface.

Photos from today:

Bottlenose dolphin leaping

Peek a boo!

Sperm whale breathing

3 sperm whales at the surface together

An adventurous ride

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Two male sperm whales and a calm ocean

Today we glided across a perfectly calm ocean that was like a mirror. In the morning it was a bit overcast, but it was beautiful because it was as if the ocean and sky were joined to become one. In the afternoon the sky cleared to make the ocean appear a brilliant blue colour with reflections of our boats. The best part of the day was of course our whale and dolphin encounters. We had two large male sperm whales off the south coast of the island so we were able to see them on both our tours. The males can sometimes be a bit more difficult to watch than the more social females, so a bit of patience was required before we were able to see their tails in the morning. In the afternoon they did not show us any tails, but they were nice to watch nonetheless, and we were able to see some interaction between one of the sperm whales and some curious bottlenose dolphins. Later in the afternoon we could enjoy the bottlenose dolphins for a bit longer after we left the sperm whales in peace. The dominant dolphin species of the morning tour was the common dolphins, although we also sighted a small group of Atlantic spotted dolphins and later bottlenose dolphins from aboard our catamaran.

Photos from the morning:

Sperm whale diving

Sperm whale diving

Common dolphin

Common dolphins

Common dolphin


Cetus and Song of Whales

Song of Whales

Cetus

Photos from the afternoon:

Sperm whale head

A sperm whale diving and a bottlenose dolphin jumping

Cetus


Bottlenose dolphin in front our catamaran

Bottlenose dolphin with a calf


Cory's shearwater

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dolphin love

We started this day with some dolphin love. We had a group of more then 60 common dolphins and some of them were making future dolphins. We could see quite a lot of activity on the surface from a group of 4 or 5 dolphins rolling around, swimming belly to belly and chasing each other. So, if you come here next year you will see the result from the activity today. We also encountered bottlenose dolphins, a group with a few babies around so they had all ready done their duty last year as  the females are pregnant for about one year. For sure they will make more for next year as well as dolphins are, apart from humans and apes, an animal that also do it for fun. Did you know that some dolphins can mate with more than seven different partners per day?

In the afternoon the clouds that we had during the morning cleared up, so our boat enjoyed a sunny whalewatching trip. With these better weather conditions it was easier to found whales, and so we did. We found sperm whales blowing in front of Vilafranca do Campo. Unfortunately the whales were not so active so we did not see their tales. We also found a group of playful Atlantic spotted dolphins and later on a huge group of common dolphin.

Photos from today:

Beautiful common dolphin face

Common dolphins mating - see how they are touching each other with their flippers (or pectoral fins)




Common dolphins bowriding and looking up at the passengers aboard our catamaran

Common dolphin mother and calf pair

Bottlenose dolphin face

Our swimming boat

Top view from our catamaran

Vila Franca Islet (the diving board is the set up from the Red Bull cliff diving taking place this weekend)

Watching Vila Franca Islet

A common tern on Vila Franca Islet


Caloura - one of the most beautiful parts of the coastline of São Miguel Island





Photos from the afternoon:

Sperm whale blowing in front of Vilafranca do Campo

Common dolphin

Our boat with common dolphins

Our happy clients and our skipper

Cory's shearwater

Monday, July 21, 2014

Curious sperm whales

Today we encountered sperm whales yet again. They are after all the resident whale species of the Azores, so we are lucky to see them on most days we go whale watching, especially during the summer months. We encountered a group of several individuals that we recognise, in both the morning and afternoon. In the morning we also encountered a familiar group of bottlenose dolphins (we can recognise individuals from the natural marks they have on their dorsal fins, tail or body). Some whale watchers in the morning were also lucky to encounter striped dolphins, Risso's dolphins and common dolphins, making up a total of 5 different species in the morning. In the afternoon we encountered the sperm whales again, very far to the east of São Miguel Island. We ended up watching an adult and calf pair of which the adult dived, leaving the calf on the surface. The calf quickly became curious and began spyhopping (sticking its head out of the water) near one of our zodiac boats and catamaran. We left the calf on the surface and encountered a larger whale that was fairly active at the surface an rolling around in the water. We also encountered the bottlenose dolphins again in the afternoon, as well as a nice group of common dolphins.


Photos from the morning:


Sperm whales everywhere!

Watching bottlenose dolphins from our catamaran

Playful bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphin



Bottlenose dolphins doing courtship jumps



Vila Franca Islet (where we spend the afternoon during our Full Day Tour)

Watching Vila Franca Islet

Photos from the afternoon:


Sperm whale with its mouth open

Sperm whale spyhopping near our zodiac boat

A beautiful adult female sperm whale
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