Saturday, October 21, 2017

Our most well-known sperm whale family

Today was another sperm whale day in São Miguel, Azores. We had our well known family group that we refer to as the "red group" not far from the coastline. In the morning we encountered at least 3 adults and a calf (the same curious calf that approached our boats last week). Among these adults we could identify individuals we call "Bear paw" and "Orca". In the afternoon we encountered the same group, but this time 3 different individuals from this large family group. In the afternoon we identified individuals we call "Diamond", "Small u" and "Marble". As for dolphins, we also encountered some common dolphins in the morning and our swimming clients could enjoy them underwater.

 Photos from the morning:

Sperm whale approaching our boat

The three sperm whales (two adult females and a baby) that we have been seen during last week

Female sperm whale tail
Common dolphins

 Photos from the afternoon - **please check back tomorrow**

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A morning with our resident sperm whales and dolphins

This morning the sea had calmed down enough for us to go out whale and dolphin watching and luck was on our side. Between our different boats that went out we encountered three of our resident species. We started with two resident dolphin species: common dolphins were seen from our first boats that went out, while or second catamaran came across a small group of Risso's dolphins. Next we encountered sperm whales, which are also resident in the Azores. There were several sperm whales around, and it turned out to be the same very curious group that we encountered last week. Just like last week we encountered a young calf in this group, and towards the end of the encounter this young one became a bit curious towards our boat. We ended our sperm whale sightings nicely by seeing the tail of an adult, an individual who we call "Left tip".

Photos from today:

An adult sperm whale we call "Left tip" close to São Miguel Island

"Left tip" the sperm whale with two common terns flying overhead

The final moment - "Left tip" the sperm whale showing us her tail

Today the Risso's dolphins were difficult to photograph so one fin tip is all we managed

Friday, October 13, 2017

Last day before 'Ophelia'

Today was our last day out on the ocean before we expect tropical storm "Ofelia" to arrive tonight. We started the morning with a nice group of common dolphins that were keenly bowriding in front of our boats. Next we searched further out to try to find whales, but even though we didn't find them we did encounter a large group of Atlantic spotted dolphins. They were very active with lots of high jumps and also a lot of seabirds around, indicating they were most likely feeding.

In the afternoon we returned to the sea, starting again with our friendly common dolphins. Again they did not disappoint us and we got to see them very well, with a lot of social behaviours. Next we went a bit further to a large group of bottlenose dolphins that were going on dives, probably in search of food. We had a nice look at these dolphins before going inshore to enjoy the views of the coastline, including Vila Franca Islet.

Some photos of the morning tour:

Some of our curious common dolphins:

Swimming very close to the rubber boat

 -Atlantic spotted dolphins are still around:

Photos from the afternoon:

 Bottlenose dolphins

The last day of good weather for a while, enjoying the views of Vila Franca islet

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sperm whale breaching again

The great weather is still in the Azores, and we are making the most of it by going out on the ocean morning and afternoon to enjoy some of the different types of marine life that we have out there. In the morning we encountered two different dolphin species: common dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins. It was great to see them playing around the boat, surfing the waves and sometimes looking back at us. We could also hear their whistles very clearly as they were coming close to our boat. 

In the afternoon we travel further away to the west to meet a family of sperm whales. There were several ones around, socializing, some very curious passing close to the boat and even breaching! On our way to the whales we found as well a small hammerhead shark quite close to the shore.

Photos from today:

Sperm whale breaching this afternoon

Sperm whale with a white patch close to the dorsal fin

Blowhole of a sperm whale on the left side of its head

Cory's shearwater

This afternoon we had a group of students coming from France.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Under the breaching!

In the morning today we have seen two of our three resident dolphin species. Common dolphins were playing with the boat for a while, and we could perfectly see their beautiful yellow colouration. Bottlenose dolphins were not very interested in us because they had better things to think about. Feeding! They were very active feeding under a big group of shearwaters. Lovely to see them!

In the afternoon tour we travel far, very far, to the very far west! And then also a bit further north, where we could see the north coast of the island! But the long way was worthwile. We tried and we got it! Plenty of sperm whales around our boat, at least 12. The show was amazing, fabulous, great... no words are enough to describe it. Three breachings out of the water, 10 tail slapping, spyhopping (half body out of the water), a couple of tails, and lots of sperm whales everywhere. And if that was not enough, don't forget the Atlantic spotted dolphins we have seen before the sperm whales (we didn't see them the last few days) and the few bottlenose dolphins found together with the sperm whales.

Photos from today:

One sperm whale breaching, this is common when they want to gather the group

Another sperm whale jumping

Some of the whales were together and socialising

More whales together, we had at least 15 whales

One beautifull tail

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

She did it again!!

This morning we have seen several sperm whales. We found a family of them breathing calmly on the surface, and going sometimes on mid-water dives. At some point, they all got together and started to touch each other, to roll on its side, and to spy us with their heads out of the water. They were amazing! Furthermore, at least three of them showed their tail when going for a long and deep dive during our tour. Common dolphins were friendly and they got very close to our boat.

In the afternoon we saw several tails of sperm whales. We have seen different animals within the same area, one of them was very curious and dived really close to us. We ended the trip with a group of Risso´s dolphins. They were very spread out but we managed to see them very well, thanks to the captain!

When we came back to the office we checked the photos we took and what a nice surprise, we found out that the female whale is "Bear paw", one of the sperm whales already identified in our catalog. We saw her yesterday, this morning.. and Oops she did it again this midday!!!!

Photos from today:

Sperm whales socialising this morning
Common dolphin

Heads of sperm whales out of the water

Sperm whale going for a dive

Risso´s dolphin

There she is: Bear paw!!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Curious sperm whales in a calm ocean

Today we enjoyed the company of a group of sperm whales again, maybe the same group that we encountered yesterday afternoon. They were very calm and staying up on the surface for a long time for us to see them well. Several of the whales were also very curious, approaching our boat, rolling over and poking their heads out of the water to have a good look around (a behaviour we call spyhopping). We got to see some tails too, and we could identify them as our most-encountered sperm whale group here in São Miguel - what we refer to as the "red group". We could identify a sperm whale we call "Orca" and another one we call "Diamond". Before our sperm whale encounters we also had a brief look at a beaked whale close to shore. A few times it came with its head high out of the water so we could see its arched lower jaw and identify it as a Blainville's beaked whale. We also enjoyed 2 different groups of common dolphins on our way back to shore at the end of our morning tour.

Our afternoon tour was just as great, with plenty of whales and dolphins to see. Again we encountered several sperm whales very calm at the surface. Again we encountered a calf, the same curious one from the morning. We also encountered a very active group of common dolphins leaping out of the water, and from one of our zodiac boats a turtle was also seen.

Photos from the morning:

Blainville's beaked whale

2 sperm whales in a calm ocean

Approaching a sperm whale

Sperm whale head

Sperm whale tail

Common dolphins

Photos from the afternoon (3 very very curious sperm whales):


Very flexible sperm whale ;)

The baby was incredibly curious

We can see the giant head they have and an injury in the baby

Beautifull colors in the head

One of them diving

Both adults 'watching' us

Their mouth is very long and thin

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