Monday, March 30, 2015

Whale blows and dolphins

This morning we set out to see some large whales our lookout had seen straight out from Ponta Delgada.  The large whales were one of the baleen whale species that we encounter frequently in the Azores during the spring. We managed to find two individuals and from the vertical blows we could make out that they were baleen whales. Unfotunately the blows is all that we managed to see, even after patiently waiting for them to come up for more than one blow per surfacing. We never got to see the body of one of these whales so we cannot say exactly which species we were seeing. It seems that the whales were more interested in staying down, perhaps to search for food. While the whales had their diving time a group of bottlenose dolphins closer to shore was enjoying some social time. We ended up having a nice encounter with these dolphins and we got to see a lot of physical activity between the dolphins. It was our resident group that we have been seeing almost every day recently, so it was nice to see some familiar fins. 







Mauve stinger - jellyfish

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bottlenose, striped and common

Today we had a great time with three curious and playful dolphin species: bottlenose dolphin just outside the marina, common dolphins along the coastline and striped dolphins further out from the coast. And on our way back our captain spotted a small loggerhead turtle resting on the surface. Like a little cherry on the top to finish our tour. Enjoy photos of all species sighted.

Bottlenose dolphins







Common dolphins

Striped dolphins


Loggerhead turtle

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Blue whales close to the coastline

Spring is here for real now as the blue whales have arrived. So far this year the Baleen whale season has started good with 4 different baleen whales: blue whales, fin whales, sei whales and humpback whales, but of course watching the largest animal in the world is something extra wonderful - and today there were two blues close to the coastline and close to the boats. As well as these majestic travelers of the sea we also encountered a playful and curious group of bottlenose dolphins and a more shy and calm group of common dolphins

Blue whale surfacing

You can see the jawline of the blue whale

Like an island

Close to the coast

Bottlenose dolphin saying hello to everybody aboard Cetus

Head...

...or tail?


Common dolphins

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tracking a fin whale

This afternoon we went out on our catamaran to see what we could find out in the big blue. Not far from our base in Ponta Delgada our lookout had seen some blows from a baleen whale. At this time of the year we have several baleen whale species migrating past (mostly fin whales, sei whales and blue whales), so we were curious to see which species it was. It wasn't easy work...in the begining we only had distant blows, and based on the behaviour we guessed we might be dealing with a sei whale. We tried for a while to see this whale but eventually we had to give up. We tried to search for something else in another area and luckily it didn't take long for one of our biologists to spot a blow not far from our boat. This whale turned out to be easier to track, as it was coming up to the surface for a few blows each time. It was a fin whale, the second largest animal in the world! We tracked the whale for a while, trying to predict where it was going to surface next (something which is not always easy). A couple of times the whale surfaced near our boat so our patience paid off. What an adventure!




Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fin whales come and go

Fin whales are still around São Miguel island, always surprising us by appearing and dissapearing. Sometimes our lookouts see them, other times not. In the morning we were lucky to encounter them from our whale watching boat. We ended up seeing two fin adult fin whales. They surprised us a few times by surfacing next to our boat, just when we thought they were diving deep. In the afternoon we did not find the fin whales again, but we did see common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins in both the morning and afternoon. At the end of the afternoon we also passed Vila Franca islet to see some of the coastal marine life, such as the seabirds that are nesting there.

One of the fin whales from the morning

Bottlenose dolphins (mating)




I know there is a girl in this photo - that looooves dolphins - this is for you, mermaid!

This photo is to you who are in this photo - just because you look so cool with the dolphin

Common dolphin




Monday, March 23, 2015

The sei whales are here

We started the year with fin whales and humpback whales (starting the Baleen whale season) and then we haven't seen them for a while but today the sei whales arrived and sure surprised us. In the morning our lookout saw the blow from a whale but it disappeared. In the afternoon, the whale was still no where to be found. So like in the morning we saw three species of dolphins: bottlenose, common and striped. But on the way back our captain saw the footprints on the surface and there was the whale and not just any whale - the third largest animal in the world. And while saying bye bye to the sei whale we enjoyed the company of a loggerhead turtle.

Photos from the morning:

Bottlenose dolphin

Common dolphins approaching our zodiac Cafre

Common dolphin

Common dolphin

Striped dolphins

Striped dolphins

Photos from the afternoon:

Looking cool!

Watching common dolphins from Song of Whales

Striped dolphins

Striped dolphins

Striped dolphins

 The sei whale

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