Friday, October 17, 2008

A visit from a whale shark, a minke whale and more whale and dolphin species


This month has been full of nice surprises in São Miguel. We have had perfect summer weather with sun, flat seas and many species to see. Over the past few days we have encountered sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins and common dolphins

Today was another great day, starting in the morning we our resident common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins and following up with a group of pilot whales. Among them we spotted a different fin which turned out to be from a minke whale, our first of the season!  For the afternoon our vigia (onshore lookout) found us a large group of at least 200 dolphins as well as sperm whales. Just when we thought we had it all we encountered a whale shark (the world's largest fish). We stopped to swim with the gentle giant for a while, before continuing to the sperm whales for a perfect end to the day.



Whale shark underwater (accompanied by pilot fish)


Minke whale


Pilot whales


Bottlenose dolphin


Common dolphin

Friday, October 10, 2008

Swimming with dolphins with Futurismo

Today we spent the afternoon taking a group of young sailors (from the school ship "Danmark") swimming with wild dolphins. It was a great experience for all, going overboard and entering the water to be surrounded by the dolphins of the Azores.




Dolphin swimming photos from one of our passengers


At the end of last month Eva Damhaug from Norway came to swim with dolphins in the Azores to celebrate her birthday. Eva came on several tours with us and she was kind enough to share her following photos with us. Thank you Eva!








Sunday, October 5, 2008

Five species again

Five seems to be the magic number for us at the moment. Today we had another glorious day of whale watching and we saw the same five species that we saw yesterday: sperm whale, pilot whale, common dolphin, Atlantic spotted dolphin and bottlenose dolphin. The weather was fin with sung, good visibility and a calm blue ocean. Basically great conditions for whale watching that makes our job seem easy.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Give me five...


...species in the same trip! That's exactly what we encountered today. Five cetacean species: sperm whale, pilot whale, common dolphin, Atlantic spotted dolphin, and bottlenose dolphin. To make things even better we had warm sunny weather and a calm sea. The spotted dolphins were encountered in the hundreds, bringing a lot of joy to our passengers. Ofcourse the whales were very special to see too. Let's hope October keep's bringing us so many animals and great times like today!



Spotted dolphin surfacing


Bottlenose dolphin, with one of our boats in the background


Pilot whale dorsal fin


Two sperm whales diving in unison...perfect!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

September 2008 sighting statistics


This September we have encountered 8 different cetacean species. The sighting statistics (number of days encountered of all the days we went to sea) for each species are shown in the graph above. The champs are: the common dolphins and the Atlantic spotted dolphins. On the whales side the sperm whale which is resident in the Azores had the highest encounter frequency. Species common names are listed below in order of sighting frequency:

Bryde's whale in the Azores


September has ended and left us with many nice memories of whales and dolphins. This month we have encountered 8 different cetacean species (sperm whale, sei whale, Bryde's whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Atlantic spotted dolphin, Risso's dolphin and striped dolphin). The Bryde's whale (pictured on the left and below) was particularly special as it is a rare summer visitor that is not sighted often in the Azores. This month we have also been with some whale sharks that were really great to swim with! Now it seems that summer is leaving us very quickly, as we are experiencing some fresh northeasterlies.



Bryde's whale (identified by the three ridges on top of the head)




Dive sequence of a well known sperm whale (we call him Mr Liable) diving
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