Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bowriding? Today: backriding!

Today we had groups of bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins around. At first they were a bit shy, or maybe hungry, as there was a lot of fish in the water, so probably they were filling up their bellies with breakfast. Later on they got really curious and playful. We had some bowriding and riding the waves in the front of the boat, but the bottlenose dolphins started "backriding" in the back instead (not wakeriding - when they ride the waves created in the back). No, they started backriding when we were going away from them. We started backing away and they swam to the back to ride there. Well, with wild animals you learn something new every day. If the dolphins want - the dolphins want and we had fun time watching them. We also got to see a Northern gannet, lots of Cory's shearwaters and a a quick glimpse of a loggerhead turtle as it dived.

Bottlenose dolphin


Synchronicity 

Northern gannet

Common dolphin



Monday, March 2, 2015

February 2015 sighting statistics

This year the winter has been very mild in the Azores, making for some very nice whale and dolphin watching tours departing from São Miguel Island. At least one of our resident species (common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin and sperm whale) has kept us company every day that we have been out on the ocean. Between encounters with the residents we have also encountered some of the first of the seasonal species of the year, with several sightings of striped dolphins, two days with false killer whales and one day with a breaching humpback whale.  We always keep an eye out for other marine life and this month our "other species" list includes loggerhead turtles, krill, Portuguese man-o-war, velella, jellyfish, and several seabirds including the first Cory's shearwates of the year, several glaucous gulls, northern gannets and great skuas


Cetacean sighting frequencies (% of days seen during the month of February): 


Friday, February 27, 2015

Why do they jump?

Why do dolphins jump? There are many answers for that question. It could be to see whats going on above the surface (ex. groups birds which can indicate that there is fish around, look for boats or other dolphins), to get rid of parasites such as whale lice and remoras, males showing off their strength and agility to females but one thing is for sure: sometimes they jump just because its fun! And we got some nice jumps today from bottlenose dolphins very close to our boats. What joy!
We also encountered common dolphins and some of us on the catamaran also got to see a small loggerhead turtle before it dived. 





Watching bottlenose dolphins



Common dolphins bowriding

Watching bottlenose dolphins bowriding



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fun with dolphins

Today was another dolphin day. We spent the morning in the company of a nice group of common dolphins. There were at least 30 dolphins in total, playing in the waves and often approaching our boat and diving underneath us. Another magical moment in the Azores.



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Awesome wild dolphins

Today we had some fantastic encounters with wild dolphins in the Azores. We had clients swimming with common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins off one of our zodiac boats while the rest of us were enjoying the views of the dolphins from aboard our catamaran Cetus. As is often the case, the dolphins were very playful and curious towards us. We instantly recognised the group of bottlenose dolphins as recently we have encountered these particular ones regularly here along the south coast of São Miguel island. After searching offshore for a mystery whale blow that our lookout had spotted once (unfortunately we never found the whale but we had a nice ride) we came across a large group of striped dolphins on our way back in to shore. The group of about 50 dolphins was very energetic as they were "running" through the water. We spotted many tiny calves in this group, giving us a great end to our tour!


Video of the stripe dolphins "running"


Making eye contact with a curious bottlenose dolphin



"Bubbelmaker" in the front and a pale friend 


Swimming with bottlenose dolphins

Common dolphins









Cory's shearwaters are now every day in large numbers

Monday, February 23, 2015

Social dolphins

The dolphins of the Azores were very active and social this morning. During our tour out on the ocean we encountered two of our resident dolphin species: common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. They really brightened up the day for us with their curiosity, their wave surfing behaviour and the high vertical leaps in the case of the bottlenose dolphins.  Although we experienced a bit of drizzle throughout the morning the dolphins put a smile on all our faces.

 Common dolphins wave surfing

Hide and seek with a common dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins at play

A well known individual we have seen frequently over the past months
Each dolphin is individually identifiable by the unique pattern of marks on its dorsal fin 

 One of the rainbows of the morning

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Surrounded by dolphins

This morning we were greeted by 3 different dolphin species, starting just a few minutes into the tour outside Ponta Delgada harbour. The first appearance was a small group of common dolphins, followed by an even smaller group of striped dolphins. These ones were not interested in us, so we left them to their business and found more dolphins further west. We ended up having some nice encounters with more common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. We also spotted 3 loggerhead turtles, a Portuguese man-o-war and plenty of seabirds.


Common dolphins close to shore

Bottlenose dolphins


Portuguese man-o-war
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