Thursday, May 21, 2015

Blue whales and baby fin whales

Today we had another great day with the giants of the blue. In the morning we started with common dolphins everywhere, but we didn't stop until we reached a mother and baby fin whale. The calf was very young and of course like all babies: extremely cute! We didn't want to put pressure on this young one so we left for a group of dolphins but we didn't get to far because a juvenile fin whale playing around our catamaran. After this we spent time with both common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. In the afternoon we started with five blue whales, first three and later on two more that started rolling around in the water and play around. And we ended the tour once again with common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins.

Check in later for more photos!!!

Mother and baby fin whale from the morning

Watching one out of five blue whales this afternoon

Common dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins around our zodiac this afternoon

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A day with the great whales

Today we spent the day with some of the great whale species. We encountered sei whales, sperm whales and fin whales in the morning, and again fin whales and sperm whales in the afternoon. The sea was calm, and so was the behaviour of the whales so that we could have some really magical experiences with these gentle giants. We are right in the middle of the baleen whale season now, so we feel really blessed to be able to spend some time in the presence of these whales as they migrate through Azorean waters. The sperm whales who are resident here were also great to see, especially since we have not encountered them for a while. As they usually do the sperm whales showed us their tails as they started their deep feeding dives, giving us the opportunity to photograph their tails for our photo-ID research. As well as whales we also had some nice encounters with bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins. The bottlenose dolphins put on a great show with their very high jumps around our boats, both in the morning and the afternoon. These are the best kind of days of whale and dolphin watching in the Azores.

Check in later for more photos!!!

Sperm whales male fluking - we saw the same whale both in the morning and afternoon

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Amazing morning with the 3 largest animals in the world!

Blue, fin and sei whales, they are the three largest animals in the world and this morning we saw these beautiful animals. We started our morning with three sei whales - the third largest animal in the world - we could see them very well. They were always stay calm on the surface. A few minutes later, we sailed a little and.. surprise!! A blue whale - the largest animal in the world - right next to us and more sei whales further away!! This blue whale were always near us, coming to the surface to breathe, show off its size and also with a very calm behaviour. After a while, we decide go to meet with our friends the dolphins. We started with common dolphins, the group were really calm and big, with newborn babies so cute and beautiful. To finish our morning we had another encounter with dolphins, but a mixed group of common dolphin with bottlenose dolphins, swimming in the same area - messing around with each other. When we stopped to see them, the bottlenose dolphins received us with fantastic high jumps. We had a fantastic morning with five different species of cetaceans (as some of our boats also encountered fin whales). Its are days like these that are worth everything and fill our hearts.

Sei whale - can you see the blow holes?

Sei whale

Sei whale

Two sei whale on the surface

Blue whale about to surface

Blue blow

Blue whale

Almost a fluke

Common dolphin

Watching bottlenose dolphins

Watching bottlenose dolphins

Not a sharp photo, but they were so cute together

Watching bottlenose dolphins

The captain of the catamaran Cetus and our two zodiacs

Monday, May 18, 2015

Fin whales, dolphins and flying fish

Today we had many fin whales off the south coast of São Miguel Island. Throughout the day their behaviour was very calm, and so was the ocean so that we could enjoy some really nice encounters. In the morning we had several whales and we were going between at least 4 different individuals when they were coming to the surface. In the afternoon we also encountered 4 fin whales, this time travelling close together. A few times they rolled over so that we could see the white of their bellies and the tips of their tails sticking out of the water. At one time it even looked like two of them were mating!

Our dolphin encounters today were just as nice as our whale encounters. In both the morning and the afternoon we encountered the well-known group of bottlenose dolphins that we refer to as the group of Bubblemaker - a dolphin we named so because of its behaviour of blowing a trail of bubbles before surfacing. In the morning we some some nice interactions and social behaviour between the individuals of the group. In the afternoon we observed some more social behaviour, as well as a different type of interesting behaviour...the dolphins were chasing flying fish at the surface. The dolphins were going after them very quickly, making the fish come out of the water and fly through the air. In return the dolphins also started showing off their capacity to leap through the air. What a nice show to finish off the day!

Photos from today:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

2 new species for the month

Today we added two new species to our list for the month of May: striped dolphins and sei whales. The striped dolphins were encountered in the morning, together with a familiar group of bottlenose dolphins (the resident group that includes and individual we call Bubblemaker) and some common dolphins. The whale encounter was in the afternoon. Although baleen whales are sighted frequently in the Azores in the spring, this year we haven't seen many sei whales, so today's encounter was a nice surprise for the crew. The 3 or 4 whales were very close to Ponta Delgada and we all got to see them very well, as you can see from our photos below:

Photos from the morning:

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins close to Ponta Delgada

Watching the well known dolphin we call Bubblemaker

Watching striped dolphins from our catamaran

Our zodiac boat with striped dolphins

A huge concentration of striped dolphins

Our boat Song of Whales

Photos from the afternoon:

Watching the sei whales from our catamaran

Sei whale head surfacing

A very distinct sei whale dorsal fin

Sei whale close to Ponta Delgada airport

Common dolphin

Common dolphin leaping in the big blue

A family of whale watchers

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Whales and waves

Today we had at least three fin whales out there on the big ocean. We ended up with two curious adults showing of their power and beauty. They came close to the boats out there and we could see them very well, even thou we had some waves, we could see their bodies through the water and follow the light shadow (reminding us of their close relation to blue whales). We also got to see parts of the flukes sticking up as they were playing around. Such majestic animals. On the way out to the whales we passed common dolphins, by the whales we saw both a loggerhead turtle and a great skua. And our swimming boat had a great time with bottlenose dolphins.

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

Aboard Cetus

Great skua
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