Friday, September 4, 2015

Three species of dolphins and an afternoon whale

Today in the morning we encountered three species of dolphins. We started with a small group of bottlenose dolphins but there were just too many boats around that we did not want to put more pressure on the dolphins by gettung close to them, so we continued to a group of beautiful common dolphins with their babies. We ended the tour with Atlantic spotted dolphins bowriding in crystal clear water. In the afternoon we re-encountered the common dolphins and later on a really big fin whale. There were more blows in the distance but we stayed with one whale. It's been great to see many fin whales throughout the summer since the end of the north-bound migration in the spring. The ones we are seeing now are probably on the return migration south.


Photos from today:

Common dolphin

Atlantic spotted dolphin

Seeing a fin whale blow


Fin whale surfacing

One of our biologists describing our sightings

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A sperm whale called Mr Liable

This morning we encountered the famous Mr Liable again. Mr Liable is a big and wonderful male sperm whale that we have been seeing off São Miguel Island for many years. The oldest photo we have of him is from 2006, but some of our skippers have seen him before that. We can recognise Mr Liable, and other whales, from the unique marks he has on his tail. His tail is one of the reasons he got his name. Mr Liable is very reliable in always showing us a beautiful high tail when he goes on a deep dive. He is also reliable in always returning to our waters, every year and most months of the year. As well as this big male sperm whale we also encountered a nice group of bottlenose dolphins today. They really seemed to enjoy playing around our catamaran so we got to see them really well.

Photos from today:













Monday, August 31, 2015

August 2015 sighting statistics

The month of August has been great for whale and dolphin watching off São Miguel Island. During this month we have encountered a grand total of 13 different species! The most encountered whale species was, as expected, our resident sperm whale. However, we were also surprised to see many fin whales which is not usual for this time of the year. Usually baleen whales like fin whales, blue whales and sei whales migrate through the Azores during the spring months. The summer is the best time for us to spot beaked whales and this past month we have encountered four different species: Sowerby's beaked whale, Blainville's beaked whale, Northern bottlenose whale and Cuvier's beaked whale. Of course dolphins were plentiful too. We encountered 7 different dolphin species, in order of most encountered: common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, Atlantic spotted dolphin, Risso's dolphin, striped dolphin, false killer whale and pilot whale

As well as these cetacean encounters we also registered other species such as loggerhead turtles, leatherback turtles, sicklefin devil rays, flying fish and plenty of seabirds.


A little bit of luck needed

Today we were really trying hard to do our best and sometimes it works and other times not as well. Our morning was a true success as we started with a nice group of common dolphin and then we went on a search as our lookout didn't see any whales. We tried and were lucky as our captain of Cetus found a fin whale! In the afternoon we tried again but we did not have the same luck with the whales. We went really far off shore, further then normal to see sperm whales. As we finally arrived there were no whales to see. We waited for them a long time and as one boat got a glimpse of a sperm whale calf, at least we were in the right area. Eventually we had to give up. On the way back we briefly saw beaked whales, most likely Cuviers' beaked whales. But then the luck turned and we had two great encounters with common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. A great thanks to all our clients and their patience today. 

Photos from the morning:

Common dolphin

Two common dolphins

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

Photos from the afternoon:

Bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphins

Common dolphin

Common dolphin

Loggerhead turtle

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fin whales are still around São Miguel

This morning we went out and encountered one of our well known groups of bottlenose dolphins, it was bubblemaker's group again, he is named after his habit to blow bubbles shortly before surfacing. We know him and his group for quit some time know and they are always very playful towards our boats. Shortly after we left the bottlenose dolphins we had the company of first 2 and a little later 3 fin whales, so amazing to see the second largest animal on earth up close.

In the afternoon we saw the same group of bottlenose dolphins as in the morning. Than we found a very playful pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins with 3 calves that were investigating our boat. We finished the day with the company of a group of common dolphins. It is always nice to see different types of dolphins and when they are in a playful mood it's even better.


Photos from the morning:

Bottlenose dolphins

Some familiar bottlenose dorsal fins - Bubblemaker's group

Fin whale blowholes

Fin whale


Photos from the afternoon:

Bottlenose dolphin

Swimming with Atlantic spotted dolphins

Atlantic spotted dolphins - juveniles with very few spots

An adult Atlantic spotted dolphin - you can see how this species gets it's name

Common dolphins wave surfing

Common dolphin calf surfacing next to its mother

Watching common dolphins

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A bit of everything today!

In the morning we went out and first had a quick encounter with a friendly group of Atlantic spotted dolphins, shortly after this we where with a family of sperm whale and we saw 5 family members spread out over the area. On our way back we stopped to enjoy the company of common dolphins and later we were surprised by a young fin whale which was close to the shore line of Ponta Delgada.
The afternoon was good for more surprises, first we saw the same fin whale as in the morning. A little bit later we saw a group of about 10 false killer whales together with common dolphins. We only have very few sightings of false killer whales each year so our customers and crew were very lucky today!

Photos from the morning:

Sperm whale

Common dolphin (show-off!)

Common dolphin

Fin whale

Photos from the afternoon:

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale and our boat Song of Whales

Common dolphins and a false killer whale

False killer whale

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