Sunday, April 23, 2017

False killer whales, blue whales and fin whales

Today was another fantastic day out on the ocean. We started our morning tour with the good news that our lookout had found two blue whales not far out of Ponta Delgada. When we arrived we didn't have to wait long to see them and they were both big individuals that showed themselves well. After seeing the blue whales on a few different surfacings we were suddenly surprised to be joined by a group of false killer whales. They seemed to appear from nowhere to join our boats and they were very active. We could see several of these false killer whales jumping high out of the water, reminding us that these incredible animals actually belong to the dolphin family. In the afternoon the baleen whales didn't let us down again. We encountered one, or possibly two blue whales again and we also had a few different fin whales that we encountered from our different boats. The whole day was an exciting and adrenaline filled experience, from the blue whales to the false killer whales, to two loggerhead turtles that we spotted together at the surface from aboard our catamaran.

Photos from today:

False killer whales:

False killer whales  were very active jumping a lot

Blue whale:

The big blow of the blue whale can be seen from very far away

Dorsal of the blue whale is very usefull for photo ID

Fin whale:

One of our zodiac boats in the afternoon

One of the loggerhead turtles from today

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The amazing baleen whale season

We keep enjoying the baleen whale season! We started the morning tour heading West, it took us time to find the first animals but we managed to see a nice group of  common dolphins. Not far away from the common dolphins there was another group of dolphins from another species: bottlenose dolphins

After the dolphins we had great news from our lookout... A fin whale

The fin whale we found in the morning was feeding, a behaviour that we see really often in the Azores during the spring time. This is the perfect place for them to rest and to "recharge their batteries" before they arrive to their summer feeding grounds.

The clients from the afternoon tour could enjoy with the same species than the morning tour...first a small group of bottlenose dolphins (the familiar group we refer to as "Bubblemaker's group" and then another fin whale (a different individual to the one from the morning) further to the West, where we had beautiful views of the West coast of São Miguel Island. What a day!

Photos from the morning:

Fin whale from our client Lars Olsen

Fin whale  surfacing (note the white colour from the lower jaw)

 Dorsal fin from the fin whale

Bottlenose dolphin breaking the surface

Photos from the afternoon:

Fin whale surfacing to breathe

Fin whale (notice the two blowholes on top of the head)

Fin whale

Fin whale

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Ferraria

Bottlenose dolphin

One of our zodiac boats this afternoon

Friday, April 21, 2017

Whale and dolphin watching on a calm ocean

Today was a perfect calm day, reminding us of summer, only with cetacean sightings that are more common in the spring time. The spring is the migration time of the largest animals in the world - the baleen whales. Today we encountered one of these baleen whale species - we encountered two large fin whales. In the morning they were very calm, surfacing together slowly and arching high out of the water so we could see them well. In the afternoon it took a lot of patience to just have some glimpses of the fin whales. We tried to see at least two different individuals, but both were going on very long dives and surfacing to breathe just once or twice each time. In the end we saw some blows and some people could see the back of the whale curving as it dived back down into the depths. We also encountered some social common dolphins. They were spread out over a large area in the morning, but still we could see them well. In the afternoon they had re-grouped and were very curious so we could really enjoy them close to our boat. The afternoon sunshine made our common dolphin encounter even more beautiful, as we could fully enjoy all the colours - the blue of the ocean and the yellow along the sides of the dolphins' bodies.

Photos from today:

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The perfect whale watching day

Today we had the perfect whale watching day, calm sea and different species of cetaceans close to Ponta Delgada. 

We started the morning with the sighting of three fin whales, they were really calm surfacing between dives. Not far away from the area of the fin whales we had another sighting... this time they were two whales from a different species: blue whale! the largest animal on earth, an endangered species. 

After the amazing encounters with the largest animals in the world we started heading back to Ponta Delgada finding a really nice group of common dolphins.

Every tour is different in the Azores but today both tours where really similar to each other, we saw the same species in the afternoon tour. The clients from the zodiac boat had the opportunity to see the tail from the largest animal in the world... the blue whale! We are always amazed to see this incredible animal.

Photos from today:

 The largest animal on whale!

 The blow from the blue whale

Blue whale surfacing

 Fin whale

Common dolphin jumping

Blue whale tail

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Whales near to shore

Today is another day of whales, being the baleen whale season now it is common to see at least one baleen whale species almost every tour. This morning we started with a fin whale near to shore, to the west of Ponta Delgada. The whale was going on long dives, probably in search of food, but we managed to see it well every time it came up to the surface. Especially from aboard our catamaran, Quatro ventos as the whale came up close to the front of our boat twice! We also enjoyed a nice social group of common dolphins not far from the whale area.

In the afternoon we saw a fin whale again, but first we saw another whale species - our resident sperm whale! In fact we had a big group of them to see, a total of about 15 whales spread out over a fairly large area. They were coming and going to the surface, so we cruised around and saw many different individuals. With a bit of patience we even saw some tails. As in the morning, we ended our afternoon tour nicely with a group of our resident common dolphins.

Photos from today:

Fin whale blow

Fin whale from the morning surfacing in front of our catamaran

Fin whale a bit further away

One of the sperm whale tails from the afternoon

Juvenile sperm whale

Juvenile sperm whale

Sperm whale side by side

Fin whale head just before surfacing

Fin whale

Fin whale

Common dolphin

Common dolphins
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