Monday, July 25, 2016

Playful dolphins and mysterious whales

Today's tours were all about the dolphins. We tried to see whales too, as we did have baleen whales around, but it was difficult to actually see them today. In the morning we only got as far as seeing a blow from one of the whales once, and in the afternoon we saw some blows but also the body of one at the surface. We waited patiently for the whales to return to the surface but never saw them again. From their blows we could see they were one of the baleen whale species, and the body we saw in the afternoon indicated it was a fin whale. It is late in the year to see these springtime migrators, so we were surprised to see this much, even if we didn't see more of the animals at the surface. Nevertheless we encountered plenty of dolphins during the day. In the morning we started with some bottlenose dolphins, which turned out to be the well known group of "Bubblemaker". Next we had the playful common dolphins and from one of our boats Atlantic spotted dolphins were also seen. In the afternoon our friendly common dolphins made the tour. We saw small baby dolphins in the group, and also baby making behaviour, so it was nice to see the dolphins were making the next generation for upcoming year.

Photos from today:

Common dolphins

Common dolphins mating (notice the white belly of the male under the female)

Bottlenose dolphins

2 familiar bottlenose dolphins from Bubblemaker's group

Sunday, July 24, 2016

False killer whales and smaller dolphins

Today was a day of Egípcio and family, this fantastic group of bottlenose dolphins stayed around in a small area throughout the day so we could see and swim with them both in the morning and afternoon. Egípcio (the egyptian) got the name as the dorsal fin is triangle shaped, like a pyramid. In the morning we had a lovely surprise with a big and active group of false killer whales or pseudorcas, and we don't see them many times per year so it was great. They were feeding and we could see one carrying a big fish in its mouth. In the afternoon we saw the blow from a baleen whale (most likely a fin whale), but that was it. Sadly we never got to see this whale, but the dolphins made our day perfect. Especially the spotted dolphins that were giving us a show by jumping a lot. 

Photos from today:

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphin (Egípcio and friends)

Watching false killer whales

False killer whales

False killer whales smile!

False killer whales

Atlantic spotted dolphin

Atlantic spotted dolphin

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A day with dolphins

Several groups of Atlantic spotted dolphins and common dolphins accompanied us throughout the day. As they often are, the dolphins were curious, approaching our boats, swimming around us and looking back at us. It was great to see them in the clear blue water that the Azores are well known for during the summer. Our swimming clients also had some wonderfull in water encounters with these dolphins. In the morning from one of our boats a third dolphin species was also spotted, some Risso's dolphins to add to our dolphin day list. 

Photos from today:

Adult Atlantic spotted dolphin with a complete coverage of spots

Juvenile Atlantic spotted dolphin, still spottles

Atlantic spotted dolphins bowriding in front of our catamaran

 Common dolphins

Risso's dolphin

Friday, July 22, 2016

Whales and dolphins!

We continue having many different encounters and totally different trips in morning and afternoon! Today in the morning from our small boats we were lucky to see some young sperm whales, and later  from our catamaran a calf and 2 adults. We also saw three different species of dolphins: our summer visitors, the Atlantic spotted dolphins, very playful and curious as always and our resident common and bottlenose dolphinsIn the afternoon, in addition to the dolphins, we were lucky to see a very curious fin whale that checked our different boats! 

Photos from today: 

 Sperm whale going to dive (morning)

 A young male sperm whale (morning)
 Head of a calf (morning)

Fin whale (afternoon)

Fin whale (afternoon)

Watching the fin whale (afternoon)

Atlantic spotted dolphins everywhere

Atlantic spotted dolphins - mother and calf

Watching the Atlantic spotted dolphins

 Atlantic spotted dolphin :)

 They were many babies in the family

Great shearwater. This one is an early bird (they normally arrive in the Azores at the end of the summer)

One of our interns explaining what we encountered

 Our boat 'Song of whales'

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Orcas in São Miguel!!!

This afternoon we had an incredible encounter with orcas (also known as killer whales) in São Miguel, Azores. It was a very nice surprise not just for the clients, but also for the crew, as orcas don't appear often in the Azores and we never know when they will show up. This year we have been lucky to see them 3 times. Today's encounter was with 2 groups which in the end came together to form a big group of about 20 orcas. The group included 3 huge males, several females and also some juveniles. Our photo-ID research show we have not seen this group here before, so they will be added as new individuals in our orca catalogue. We also encountered sperm whales today, a group of at least 6 individuals together. It's always nice to see our resident whales, especially when we get to see their tails, of which we got to see 5 different ones today! We also encountered smaller dolphin species today: our resident common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins and also a big active group of Atlantic spotted dolphins in the morning. São Miguel was definitely the place to be today!

Photos from today:


Watching the orcas from aboard our catamaran

One of the big male orcas


Jumping Atlantic spotted dolphin

Watching the Atlantic spotted dolphins

Common dolphin watching

Male Orca

Family of Orcas

Orca in São Miguel

Loggerhead turtle

"Lady" Bottlenose dolphin

Sperm whales blowing

Sperm whales surfacing

Sperm whale diving

Mobula tarapacana

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