Thursday, April 28, 2016

The largests of the world! What a trip. After a few days of bad weather seeing the largest animals in the world is the best gift we could have. The Blue Whale and the Fin Whale!!!! In the morning we also found a very friendly group of common dolphins and suddenly two Bottlenose Dolphins appears in the middle to join the party. It is days like this that make us love our work.
Os maiores do mundo! Que viagens. Depois de uns dias de mau tempo nada como ver os maiores animais do mundo. A Baleia Azul e a Baleia Comum!!!! De manhã encontramos um grupo muito simpático de golfinhos comuns e, de repente, aparecem bem no meio dois Golfinhos Roazes a juntarem-se à festa. São dias como este que nos fazem adorar o nosso trabalho.
  Caretta caretta | Loggerhead sea turtle

Monday, April 25, 2016

Another whale of a day

Our whale days are continuing all throughout April. So far this month we have encountered whales during 100% of our tours! This is the time of the year that we see the most species, including the large baleen whales that are migrating through the Azores. Today we encountered the second largest, the fin whale. In the morning we encountered 3 fin whales travelling together and in the afternoon 2 of them were still around. From a couple of our boats our clients had the lucky opportunity of being up close and personal with the whales as they became curious and approached the boats a few times. During these rare close-up encounters you get to really appreciate the size of these great whales. We also had some nice dolphin encounters today, with bottlenose dolphins in the morning (the famous group of Bubblemaker) and common dolphins as well as bottlenose dolphins in the afternoon. Some clients also spotted loggerhead turtles throughout the day and in the afternoon a few clients with a keen eye also spotted a shark.

Photos from the morning:

One of the fin whales approaching one of our boats, then passing close in front of it

Two of the fin whales together

Juvenile bottlenose dolphin leaping

Watching the bottlenose dolphins

Photos from the afternoon:

One of the fin whales swimming straight towards us

Another angle of the front of the whale

The same fin whale that approached one of our zodiac boats in the morning

Almost showing us the tail

Watching one of the fin whales

Portuguese man-o-war

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Blue, fin and sperm whales

In the morning we saw lots of different species from our boats. We all encountered fin whales, three large adults swimming gracefully together. Some of our boats also saw false killer whales and bottlenose dolphins, and some of us saw common dolphins surfing and jumping like crazy in the high waves. We searched a long time for a humpback whale but no luck with this individual. In the afternoon we encountered two blue whales, but our boats stayed with the bigger one. Then one of our boat encoutered common dolphins while the other one saw striped dolphins. And the "grand final" were 3 social sperm whales. All in all 7 species again!

Photos from the morning:

Fin whale

Photos from the afternoon:

Blue whale

Sperm whale

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Humpback whales, fin whales and dolphins

It's another great day in São Miguel with whales and dolphins everywhere! The humpback whale we encountered yesterday was still around, very close to Ponta Delgada in the morning. One of our boats went to see this whale while others headed offshore to see a different humpback whale. When we returned to land later we received the exciting news that a whale watching guide working in Iceland encountered the very same whale in northeast Iceland in July last year (this can be seen by comparing photos of the underside of the tail which is unique with different marks for each individual). It's exciting to see that our photo-ID research is helping us to learn more about these endangered animals that we still know very little about. In the past we have also matched humpback whales with Cape Verde and Norway, with the help of researchers that maintain the NAHWC (North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalogue).

As for other species, today we also had some fin whales around in the morning, although they were a bit more difficult to watch than the humpback whales. Our boats that went offshore managed to see two different fin whales. We also had a nice encounter with a small group of bottlenose dolphins inshore that our swimming with dolphins clients spent the morning with, having some memorable underwater encounters. 

In the afternoon we resighted the humpback whale and once again we got a true show from this playful and curious indiviual. Check out the photos of the whale lobtailing, the whale was also tailbreaching and pec-fin slapping. Then we set of to see fin whales, although they were less playful then the humpback whale. We also encountered bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins and we ended with a last glimpse at the humpback whale.

Photos from the morning:

One of the two humpback whales from today, close to Ponta Delgada

Humpback whale diving - the one that was sighted in Iceland last year

Humpback whale curving its back to dive

Humpback whale with its long pectoral fins spread out

Watching the humpback whale from aboard our boat "Song of Whales"

Fin whale

Watching bottlenose dolphins

Curious bottlenose dolphins

Our swimming boat with the bottlenose dolphins

Photos from the afternoon:

Humpback whale lobtailing

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

An amazing day with 7 whale and dolphin species!

Today's whale and dolphin watching tours in São Miguel were difficult to beat. We have an incredible list of whale and dolphin encounters - a total of 7 species throughout the day! In the morning we started with Risso's dolphins, followed by striped dolphins, a fin whale, a humpback whale and an incredible encounter with false killer whales to end the morning. In the afternoon we added two different dolphin species to our list - common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins, and again we encountered the same humpback whale from the morning and some fin whales, including two incredibly curious ones travelling together that approached one of our boats. Everyone had slightly different experiences of this cetacean filled day, but all of them were great ones that will leave lasting memories. Our photos below tell just some of the stories from the day. Check back later here on on our Facebook page for some videos that our crew also made during the day.

Photos from the morning:

Humpback whale diving

The other perspective

Humpback whale (notice the bright blue colour from the white pectoral fin seen through the water)

Fin whale surfacing to breathe

One of our boats with the fin whale

Risso's dolphin

Risso's dolphin face peaking out behind the dorsal fin of its mother

Striped dolphin leaping high

One of our boats with a false killer whale

Jumping false killer whale

Part of the group of false killer whales

False killer whale surfacing

One of our boats on a perfectly calm ocean

Photos from the afternoon:

Bottlenose dolphins (Bubblemaker's group)

Humpback whale head (note the bumps called tubbercles)

Humpback whale curving its back to dive

The tail of the humpback whale

A curious fin whale passing in front of our boat

Two fin whales side by side diving together

Bottlenose dolphins fromthe swimming


Loggerhead turtle

Just like the great start, we had a beautiful end to the day
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