Monday, May 31, 2010

FIN!!!!!! whales, bottlenose dolphins...and at last sperm whales!

Today it was the day of the fin whales. Amazingly big and friendly, these whales put on quite a show for us in the morning - at least 8 animals were counted, and some of them made the effort of showing up again in the afternoon. In the morning we also saw a group of friendly bottlenose dolphins. In the afternoon the sperm whales joined one of the boats which had the luck of finding them in time!!!

Even with slightly bad weather, the whales just keep on coming and surprising us each day!!

A Futurismo em colaboração Iniciativa Cidade Saudável

Nos passados dias 27, 28 e 29 de Maio decorreu a II Feira Ponta Delgada Cidade Saudável, na qual a Futurismo teve o prazer de participar. Promovida pela Câmara Municipal de Ponta Delgada, esta iniciativa visou a sensibilização da população para a adoção de estilos de vida saudáveis, nomeadamente através da actividade física ao ar livre. Nesta feira, a Futurismo assinou um protocolo entre a CMPD e a Futurismo com o objectivo de se desenvolver iniciativas conjuntas no âmbito já referido.

Foi elaborado um sorteio de 15 viagens duplas de whale watching, o qual decorreu durante os primeiros dois dias de feira, tendo sido finalizado na sexta-feira, dia 28 pela tarde.

Na abertura da caixa do sorteio.

No sábado organizou-se ainda um passeio pedestre à Rocha da Relva, também oferecido pela Futurismo aos visitantes da feira que demonstraram interesse pelas iniciativas disponíveis.

Início do trilho.

Apesar das nuvens, a boa disposição fez-se sentir até ao final do trajecto!


Os burros foram parte indispensável da vida dos antigos habitantes da Rocha da Relva, na medida em que os utilizavam para transporte de material e pessoal. Actualmente, são poucos os que fazem a sua vida exclusivamente na Rocha da relva mas é frequente encontrar-se bastante habitada aos fins-de-semana.


Fim do trajecto, após a subida final fica o tempo para as fotos paisagísticas como recordação da iniciativa.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

3 Blue whales with Futurismo

This morning poor visibility prevented us from going out to sea, but our afternoon trip was very successful. We were greeted by a small group of common dolphins, then spent the rest of the tour with 3 blue whales! Judging from the size, two of them appeared to be smaller juveniles, while the third was a fully-grown very large individual.  We were lucky enough to see one whale raising its tail a few times on one side of our boat, while on the other side we saw another individual rolling over and swimming sideways with one side of its flukes in the air. Here are some photos:

We were able to get a good look at the side of the whale's mouth as it came up to breathe

This huge whale was creating a very big bow wave as it was ploughing through the water

The top of the head looked like a very large plate

This blue whale was swimming on its side with its left tail fluke in the air

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Incredible encounters with a humpback whale mother and calf!!!

HUMPBACK WHALES IN SAO MIGUEL

Today the passengers on both our morning and afternoon tours were treated to a rare and amazing encounter with a humpback whale mother and calf. Humpback whales are well known for their very long pectoral fins, their aerial behaviours, and their beautiful and complex songs that are sung by the males of the species.  We were very lucky to see some of the leaps that these whales are famous for.  The calf in particular was seen repeatedly breaching, lobtailing, spyhopping and pectoral fin slapping. These photos captured by our biologist onboard say it all...
 
BREACHING: This was the very large humpback whale mother, breaching very close to our boat

 BREACHING: The smaller calf was seen breaching over and over again.

  LOBTAILING: The calf on the right is lobtailing as its mother hunches its back in preparation for a dive

  SPYHOPPING: The calf rose vertically out of the water, possibly to look at its surroundings above the surface

 PECTORAL FIN SLAPPING: This is the calf again. A humpback's pectoral fins can reach 5-6 m in length each!

FLUKING: The pattern on the underside of this large female's flukes can be used to identify the individual

Today's humpback whale sighting brings us up to 11 different cetacean sightings in the past two weeks! This is definitely one of the best places in the world to see a variety of different whale and dolphin species. As well as the humpback whales, this morning we also saw 4 fin whales and a nice group of our resident bottlenose dolphins. Come and see for yourself! If you are not convinced yet, check out another photo from today:

Bottlenose dolphin checking out one of our boats

We hope to see you soon...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Um dia divertido

Escola EB/2 Gaspar Frutuoso, R. Grande & Projecto "Viver a Brincar" (Curso de Educação Básica UA, 2ºano)

Hoje foi com grande entusiasmo que recebemos algumas crianças da Escola EB/2 Gaspar Frutuoso da Ribeira Grande, em colaboração com o Projecto "Viver a Brincar" com a Universidade dos Açores . No âmbito desta parceria, as crianças tiveram direito a um dia diferente, ao longo do qual visitaram vários centros lúdicos e se envolveram em diversas actividades. Na Futurismo tivemos um briefing adaptado e mais divertido, com muitas imagens e perguntas e respostas, através das quais as crianças expressaram as suas próprias experiências com o mundo marítimo, bem como conceitos aprendidos nas suas aulas.


O briefing foi efectuado pelas biólogas da Futurismo, que falaram um pouco sobre a caça à baleia, sobre a actividade actual da observação de cetáceos e deram uma pequena aula sobre o que são cetáceos, como os distinguimos relativamente aos peixes, hábitos alimentares das espécies, outros animais que se podem observar no mar, etc.

Todos se mostraram entusiasmados com as imagens de algumas espécies de animais que se observam tanto no mar como à beira deste, nas praias.

A equipa reunida na loja da Futurismo onde cada membro recebeu uma t-shirt divertida.

Após esta visita, o grupo deu continuidade ao seu dia divertido, que todavia estava longe de terminar.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A day with sperm whales and sei whales

Today our expectations were quite low due to the fog that was hovering along the coastline. However, after a long trip we were able to find sperm whales and sei whales in the morning and only sei whales in the afternoon! Here are some photos from the tours.

Sei whale

Sperm whale

Here one of our zodiac boats with one of the 3 Sei whales that were with us during a really long time!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More baleen whales, including a big blue

Another great day on the water. The baleen whales just keep coming. Today we saw 3 Sei whales, 2 fin whales and the biggest of them all; a blue whale!!! This particular blue whale was a very large individual, estimated to be between 20 and 24 m in length! The big blue appeared to be feeding, keeping us on our toes by repeatedly surfacing in unpredictable locations. However, after much darting around we successfully managed to have some very good looks at the big blue. In the afternoon our passengers were also treated to an encounter with a pod of our resident common dolphins. All of our sigthings were brightened by the sun, which stuck around the entire day. Another great day all around!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Latest photos - blue whale fluke

Here are some recent photos of the small turtle we saw today, and a blue whale that we saw showing its flukes yesterday (it is very rare to see a blue whale doing this!!).



 
 Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) fluking

Sperm whales, fin whales, bottlenose dolphins...and a turtle!

Today there were sperm whales everywhere in the morning and we were able to track many of them! As we were heading towards the whale area we saw a small sperm whale breaching (leaping out of the water). We tried to get there before it stopped, but unfortunately it was already calm! Fin whales were also sighted in the morning, and even a small loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta).

In the afternoon we saw bottlenose dolphins and we tried to find the sperm whales. The whales gave us a hard time and only some people were able to see a fluke turning as we approached! We waited for a whale to return to the surface, and we waited...all in vain. Tomorrow the forecast is a little bit better and we will be there to try once again!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Record sightings - 7 cetacean species in one day!!!

7 cetacean species in one day. Unbelievable!!!
We would have been happy to see just sperm whales today, but we ended up seeing 7 different species. Fin whales, sei whales, false killer whales, striped dolphins, common dolphins, and bottlenose dolphins, to add to our resident sperm whales. It was the first time in 2 months that we sighted striped dolphins, so that was a bonus for us. Another incredible bonus was a sperm whale breaching close to one of our boats. And if that wasn't enough, to top it off we had a good sighting of a loggerhead turtle. All in a day's whale watching in the beautiful Azores.

Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)

Sperm whale breaching





Thursday, May 6, 2010

More whales!

The 2nd of May was (like the 1st) a blessing in the middle of so many days of bad weather! We had the chance to see: common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and sei whales.

We also saw these three species yesterday (5th of May). They have been the most sighted since the beginning of the season. Here are some of our recent photos for you to check out!

Common dolphins (Delphinus delphis)

Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis)

Maybe next time you can be the lucky one!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May begins with sperm whales

Today our resident sperm whales decided to make their return to the area after we had not seen them for a while. Throughout the day we encountered several sperm whales, most of which seemed to be calves. In the morning the lookout also saw one blue whale and two sei whales, but we chose the nearest species; the sperm whales, the common dolphinsRisso's dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. To complete the day we also saw some marine turtles!


One of the flukes that we saw from the sperm whales

Right before diving, the Sperm whales show us the entire dorsal part of the body, so that they can dive vertically in to the deep waters where the big squids are
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