Monday, September 18, 2017

Santa Maria as background!

What an amazing day in the south coast of São Miguel island! In the morning we had to travel a lot towards east to see our first species. We saw a pod of pilot whales very curious towards the boat and also some babies in the pod, also in the same area we had a sperm whale that was also very curious about the boat. After a few minutes with the whale some bottlenose dolphins showed up and it looked like the sperm whale was not very happy with their company and right after it dived and showed us the tail. at the end of the morning trip we also saw a very nice group of Atlantic spotted dolphins.
We started our afternoon trip with a small group of spotted dolphins and then we continued our trip towards the island of Santa Maria and we spotted some sowerby's beaked whales! They were very “well behaved” as they were curious towards the boat and it almost looked like they had the behavior of dolphins …Not every day! We traveled a little bit more far away and found  two sei whales side by side breathing only one time at the surface and then going down again. When we were going back to Ponta Delgada we also saw a small group of common dolphins.

Seven species today … Amazing!!!!!
Sei whale with Santa Maria island as background
Common dolphins
Sperm whale fluke
Pilot whales
Big pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins
Sei whale surfacing

Two sei whales surfacing 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

is 7 the magical number?

Today we had such a magical day in the south coast of São Miguel island! The sea conditions were quite good and the wind was much calmer comparing with yesterday. In the morning tour, our both catamarans started the trip with a real special sighting. Bryde's whales!! Mom and calf! They were really calm and surfaced near our boats! It was really good to spot this species again, since our last sighting was about 16 days ago! We Continued our trip and we saw some splashes in the water... Bottlenose dolphins! A pod of about 30 individuals but they showed us how magnificent they can be! Suddenly, the lookout spotted some blows! Sperm whales! In the total we saw about 4 different individuals. And in the middle of them, a calf! Always near a female adult and when the bigger one decided to dive, the calf stayed calm on the surface since they cannot dive so deep as the adults. Our zodiacs even saw other species: Risso's dolphins, Atlantic Spotted dolphins, Common dolphins and Pilot whales!
In the afternoon trip, we saw 2 different species! We started our trip with.. Sperm whales! The same 4 individuals that we saw in the morning. We are able to say this due to Photo ID technique. Basically in the morning we got photos from the tails and after comparing them, we can see that they were the same, and since a tail is like a finger print, we know that were the same whales. After seeing them really well, we started our way back and it was fast to spot some activity in the water.. Common dolphins! A big pod, socialising, mating and jumping! We also saw some babies in the group! In the end we saw 7 species today and was a amazing day! See you tomorrow :)

Bryde's whales surfacing (on the left the mom and on the right the calf)
Sperm whales surfacing (on the left the calf and on the right the female)

Sperm whale fluke
Common dolphin baby near the mom
Common dolphin jumping and splashing in a way to communicate with the rest of the pod
Bottlenose dolphins and Cory shearwaters

Bottlenose dolphins jumping out of the water

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sei whales and pilot whales!

In the morning tour again we went far away to see some whales, this time they were southern from Ponta Delgada. At the beggining the whales were very tricky and it was quiet dificult to see them, but sudenly they got calmer and we managed to see two sei whales very calm and very close from our boat.
Diferent Futurismo boats were outside, and some saw also a fin whale and some Risso's, bottlenose, common and spotted dolphins.
In the afternoon we went to west side to try to cacht some sperm whales that our lookout had spotted; but we didn't find them... What we found was an amazing group of pilot whales and a giant group of spotted dolphins that were playful and social.

-Some photos of the morning tour:

Sei whale surfacing

Sei whale

Sei whale

Sei whale

The common dolphins

Atlantic spotted dolphins

-Afternoon tour:

Pilot whale surfacing

Atlantic spotted dolphins were very friendly

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

East in the morning; West in the afternoon

Today in São Miguel was a great day with a total of 5 species along the day!

In the morning we went to East of the island to see some sei whales, they were traveling slowly and it was easy to see them well, we also encounter Risso's dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins

In the afternoon we had a very very long trip in wich we arrived even to the North coast of Sao Miguel, but it worth it because after some waiting we saw sperm whales, the boat that was first there encounter them because they started breaching and lobtailing, it was really amazing!

In our way we stop for a big group of Atlantic spotted dolphins, this species are one of the best to see, they are always very happy to see us and they love playing with the boat and bowriding us

Some photos from the tours:

 -Risso dolphins:

 Sei whales:

 -Sperm whales:

 -Atlantic spotted dolphins:

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

4 dolphin species and beaked whales

During our morning trip we started to see some bottlenose dolphins, the pod was not very big but they were playful and very curious about our boat, doing a lot of bow riding. Later we could spot a group of Atlantic spotted dolphins but they were not very interested in us so we left them alone and found a different pod with a lot more dolphins, more playful and more curious and of course with a lot of babies (common at this time of the year).
In the afternoon trip we began with a smaller pod of striped dolphins that were always diving and would not let us approach to much, so again, we had to respect them and leave the dolphins alone. The second species of the afternoon was the Atlantic spotted dolphins with a lot of babies, like in the morning, and in the beginning they were a little bit shy but eventually they started to approach us and started to surf the waves of the boat …they really like to have fun! We continued our trip and we were able to see for a few seconds Sowerby's beaked whales but they dived right after we arrived …very shy species unfortunately. In the end of our trip we encountered a pod of common dolphins that were very nice to watch!

Photos from today:

Bottlenose dolphins about to surface seen through the calm water surface

Bottlenose dolphins joining our boat

Striped dolphins, also called the managers of the sea usually on a hurry

Atlantic spotted dolphins

Atlantic spotted dolphins of different age classes

Atlantic spotted dolphins with baby among them

Sowerby's beaked whale
Common dolphins from the zodiac

Common dolphins porpoising not an usual sight

Common dolphin breaching

Common dolphin on its approach to ckeck us out

Monday, September 11, 2017

Sperm whales morning, sei whale in the afternoon

 Today we had a very nice whale whatching day, the see was beautifull and we had a big variety of species.
 In the morning tours we saw many sperm whales, in the begining we were looking for a big male that we finaly didn't see; but a family appeared much closer to Ponta Delgada than where we were and we enjoy them peacefuly.
We ended the tour with a giant group of Atlantic spotted dolphins, playing with our boats and very curious.
In the afternoon we were after a sei whale that we only got to see once from de zodiac boat... we didn't even had time to make photographs!


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Mysticeti and Odontoceti friends

Today we have had a great day. In the morning we saw a very active group of Atlantic spotted dolphins.. It looks like "love is in the sea" this season. Those dolphins have been mating very actively during the last few days! Which we think it is a good sign for this healthy population :) Furthermore, we found two different whale species. One baleen whale, a sei whale, and one sperm whale resting calm after jumping far away from us. The sei whale was always travelling and show us perfectly its huge dorsal fin. Usually, sei whales pass by the Azores in late spring early summer, in theory when they are travelling further north to the north Atlantic feeding grounds. But this year we have seen them around during summer and now.. May be they are travelling back south.. or may be they are just feeding around the Azores. Not too many sightings of sei whales have been recorded in September around these islands! So many things to keep on learning about them! In the area there were plenty of Cory's shearwaters too. The sperm whale was the same animal we sighted yesterday, with a white patch on the back and with a very characteristic tail that was shown to us just before starting our way back.

In the afternoon we found a giant group of atlantic spotted dolphins, full of energy and many groups mating. We also saw a large group of common dolphins and found our friends in last trips ... Peregrine and Elsemiek, two sperm whales that showed their tails high up

Photos from today:

Sei whale this morning
Back of the sperm whale of this morning

Sperm whale fluking
Peregrine whale tail (Sperm Whale)

Very active Atlantic spotted dolphins

Atlantic spotted dolphins

Cory's shearwater

Elsemiek Tail (Sperm Whale)

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