What a lovely sunny day, after many days with rain and wind, and a adventures tour out on the big blue. Today we had common dolphins everywhere, we started with them just outside the marina. We had a large group spread out over several miles, it seemed as they were coming together, maybe to feed. We had several wonderful encounters and after a while we headed further out just to see if we could find something else, especially around the fishing boats. All we saw was a school of mackerels jumping - dolphin food, but no dolphins. We had our hopes on bottlenose dolphins, but we had to be happy with common dolphins and who is not?
Friday, December 13, 2013
Sunday, December 1, 2013
First day of December and we start with a funny whale watching tour in calm silvery sea. During all tour we were spotting small pods of common dolphins. One of the common dolphin pods had a really curious and vigorous calf that was inspecting our boat several times. Swimming around us and looking up at us. After a lot of fun with several small groups of common dolphins we went to search for bottlenose dolphins but in the search we get the news that our lookout had spotted a whale. We tried our best to see this whale, but unfortunately it wasn't possible. This whale made a long dive and disappeared in a choppy sea and we had to start our journey back. On the way back we had time to enjoy the coastline, and we saw a group of canary bird fly near to surface at high speed.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
During the month of November this year we have had few tours. This is largely due to the unsettled weather and sea conditions which determine whether or not we are able to go to sea for our whale and dolphin watching and dolphin swimming tours. As is almost always the case in the Azores we have seen whales and/or dolphins during all of our tours this month. This time of the year is not our strongest time for whales (to see when is the best time click HERE), but we did have some encounters with our resident sperm whales that can still be seen all throughout the winter. We have also seen our regular dolphin species for this time of the year (common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, Risso's dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins) and we also had one day with pilot whales. As we head into the cooler winter months we can expect the Atlantic spotted dolphins to leave us, but we will continue to have encounters with our resident species (sperm whale, common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin and Risso's dolphin) and we can also expect the occasional unexpected encounter with different species. When wildlife watching you never know what you are going to see!
- Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) - 100% sighting frequency
- Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) - 54% sighting frequency
- Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) - 46% sighting frequency
- Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) - 15% sighting frequency
- Pilot whale (Globicephala spp.) - 8% sighting frequency
- Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) - 15% sighting frequency
The last day of November was a beautiful one in São Miguel, Azores and we ended this month with a tour on our catamaran "Cetus". It was just like summer with plenty of sunshine and warmth throughout the whole morning on the water. During the tour we encountered several groups of common dolphins, a nice group of bottlenose dolphins and a loggerhead turtle. It was a great end to the month, especially after being confined to land over much of the past week.
Watching bottlenose dolphins bowride
A sunny top deck
loggerhead turtle basking
On board Cetus
"Rocha da relva"
Monday, November 25, 2013
common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins playing around and surfing the waves - together. It was a beautiful sight, even though we got pretty splashed by the Atlantic Ocean. Everybody on board became experts on common dolphins and at recognizing them, as we encountered several groups, and the dolphins showed us why they are "common". The common dolphins of today, sometimes looking almost golden in the sunshine, really are the "dolphin of the dolphins".
Common dolphin checking us out
Bottlenose dolphin also looking at us
A playful bottlenose dolphin
Bottlenose dolphin surfacing
More bottlenose dolphin play
A common dolphin (left) together with a bottlenose dolphin (right)
Riding back towards São Miguel Island
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Today we finally went in the sea to do some whale watching in two zodiacs. The sea was perfect for small boats because of the long and round waves.
During all the tour we were finding small groups of common dolphins. The majority of the groups were spread out and not very interested in playing this time. Despite that we got some good bowriding activity. On the way back we still had the opportunity to see a curious loggerhead turtle.
Photos from today:
Whale watchers looking to common dolphins
Whale watchers waving
|Common dolphins surfing the waves|
|Fishing boat close to Ponta Delgada|
Monday, November 18, 2013
Today, during the morning, we went in sea with just one of our zodiacs. Despite the greyish light we had a nice and fun tour in the company of common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. The several pods of common dolphins were mostly spread out, yet we managed to have some curious bowriding. The highlight of this tour were the bottlenose dolphins. We spotted 3 different groups of this species, making up a total of about 150 individuals. Our biologists were snapping away trying to get as many dorsal fin photos as possible, so that we may be able to identify the individuals later. For sure we are going to have a lot of photo identification work to do just from this day. Every single bottlenose dolphin dorsal fin is like a fingerprint (no two dolphins are alike). With the years of research (since 2008) that Futurismo has been conducting (including cataloging the individuals of this species) we are able to learn more about them over time. To date we have already identified more than 300 bottlenose dolphins.
Examples of 6 bottlenose dolphin ID photos we obtained this morning. Can you tell the difference between these 6 different individuals?
One of many great jumps by the bottlenose dolphins today
Large group of bottlenose dolphins
Bottlenose dolphins bowriding
On board our zodiac "Alfredo baleeiro"
Yellow-legged gull, seen feeding together with one of the groups of common dolphins
Common dolphin looking at us
Common dolphin leaping out of the water
Saturday, November 16, 2013
We set out joyfully today, on the big blue, to watch the adorable creatures of the deep and our reward was our three resident dolphin species: bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin and Risso's dolphins. The two first species were playful, curious and bowriding. The grinning Risso's dolphins was the grand final of the tour, even though it was a small group we got to see them close and it felt a little bit as they were showing us their cute calves. An experience like this is best shared in the company of friends and dolphin friends.
whale watchers looking to bottlenose dolphins
On board our catamaran "Cetus"
Adult Risso's dolphin
Adult Risso's dolphin
Risso's dolphin pod
Adult Risso's dolphin