Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dolphin day today



The morning was dark but the sea conditions were excellent!! We started our day with a huge but very lazy group of bottlenose dolphins. These were in random displacement and with association to Cory's shearwater and Great shearwater. Then we went a little further, near to Mar da Prata, in search of a sperm whale that was sighted very early... but without success. While searching... we found a group of atlantic spotted dolphins and also a group of common dolphins who were very curious and having fun with our boats.

 In the afternoon  we saw big groups of common and spotted dolphins


 
Photos from today:

Common dolphins this morning
Great Shearwater

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Big groups of sperm whales and dolphins

The ocean has calmed down again so today we could go out to see some of the Azorean whales and dolphins. We started this day very well, with a big group of sperm whales. At first they were constantly going underwater, but with a bit of patience we managed to see a big part of the group at the surface. We were seeing their blows everywhere, even further in the distance, so we estimated there were about 20 sperm whales in the area! Among this family group we could also see some small calves. The morning tour ended nicely with another one of our resident species: common dolphins. As with the sperm whales, we could enjoy the company of a large group of these dolphins, and this group also included some newborn babies. The dolphins looked to have been finishing their breakfast, as we could see a lot of activity and many Cory's shearwaters that often feed together with the dolphins.

In the aftenoon we started with the dolphins and then went to the whales. This time we encountered both our resident common dolphins and the seasonal Atlantic spotted dolphins, both in really large groups. The sperm whales were like in the morning - a large group spread out over a large area and coming and going to the surface. 


Photos from today:

Sperm whales

Sperm whales heads surfacing to breathe

Sperm whale tail

Sperm whale dorsal

Watching common dolphins

Adult Atlantic spotted dolphin

Juvenile Atlantic spotted dolphin

Friday, September 22, 2017

Summer Statistics

Today the ocean is too rough to go out, so we are using this time to compare our sightings of this year and last year.

The highlight this year has been the presence of Bryde’s whales, a species that has been seen very little in the archipelago over the past 10 years, with encounters registered only in 2009 and 2013. This year we have also noticed that sei whales have been around later than usual, as we continue to encounter them now in the middle of September. Also, Atlantic spotted dolphins have been more sighted during this summer. So what do all these species have in common?? They all feed on small fish, which we have seen very frequently during this season: balls of fish and large feeding frenzies!

During this month we noticed that Atlantic spotted dolphins arrived earlier than last year. As for blue whales, this year they stayed for a month longer. Last year we didn’t see blue whales in June and this year we saw them 7 times ;)

During this month we noticed that Atlantic spotted dolphins appeared in large numbers and we observe a lot of socializing, feeding and babies. During this month we were surprised that Bryde’s whales appeared for the first time since 2013. We also noticed that in July 2016 we saw more fin whales and in July 2017 we saw more sei whales.
In August this year Atlantic spotted dolphins were the most sighted species. We continued to see Bryde’s whales, with the majority of our encounters being with a mother and calf that stayed since the 15th until the end of the month. During this month we also noticed that in 2016 we saw more fin whales whereas this year we saw more sei whales.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Spying sei whale among sperm whales

After wind and rain yesterday we found ideal conditions today out on the ocean. In the morning we had the pleasure to meet common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins. All of them approaching and bow riding. The Atlantic spotted dolphins were in a big groups even speeding up and porpoising, this means many individuals leaping flat completely out of the water at the same time. Making the water look like boiling. In the afternoon we first watched a pod of bottlenose dolphins and then we went further out to look for blows. Finally we found a very calm group of five sperm whales from the red group our most familiar residents. Three females and two juveniles were logging while a curious juvenile Sei whale checked out the boats and whales in the area. While the interested whale was circling around us we could have a perfect look at it while it was observing us.


Photos from today:

Sei whale very close to the sperm whales group

Sei whale

Family of sperm whales 
Bottlenose dolphins



Bottlenose dolphins

Atlantic spotted dolphins

Atlantic spotted dolphins

Common dolphin

Two of the sperm whales of the group

Our swimming boat with common dolphins in the morning

Watching bottlenose dolphins in the morning

Atlantic spotted dolphin (juvenile without spots) racing our boat




Watching sperm whales from aboard our catamaran "Cetus"

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Active dolphins and sei whales

Today we have a bit more wind, but this makes for nice conditions to see active dolphins, because they enjoy leaping out of the waves. That is exactly what we saw first thing this morning when we went out on our boats. We had a nice group of about 40 to 50 bottlenose dolphins that were all leaping together in sync out of the waves. We could see several young juveniles and even some calves in this travelling group. A bit further out we could enjoy a  nice group of Atlantic spotted dolphins that seemed to be feeding, as they were also active, but staying in one area and accompanied by many birds. As for the whales, those aboard our zodiac boat in the morning managed to see two sei whales that were far to the east. From aboard our catamaran we tried to see a different baleen whale, possibly also a sei whale. Although we saw several blows and we remained very patient, this whale did not want to show more of itself. We did end our catamaran morning tour nicely by encountering our friendly bottlenose dolphins again.

In the afternoon the sea was not the best but the dolphins were! We started the trip with a very nice group of common dolphins that were surfing the waves and jumping over them. There was some babies as we often see at this time of the year and they were all having some fun around the boat. We continued our trip and found a group of Atlantic spotted dolphins thanks to a huge group of Cory's shearwater looking for fish. Like that, all of us were happy (except the fishes), we found the dolphins, the dolphins and birds found the fish. On our way back to Ponta Delgada we saw a beautiful rainbow waiting for us. 


Photos from today:

Young bottlenose dolphin

Juvenile bottlenose dolphin leaping

Adult bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphins

Common Dolphin leaping

Three common dolphins ready to fly

Common dolphin surfacing

Two young Atlantic spotted dolphins approaching

Juvenile Atlantic spotted dolphin

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Socialising sperm whales and other great sightings

Today was a fantastic day to be out on the ocean with Futurismo!
We had some really great sightings during all our tours today. The ocean was calm, the weather was great and the animals showed themselves really well. In the morning we started with sperm whales and we could identify some individuals that we know well since at least 2003. We could identify a sperm whale we call "Orca" as well as another we call "Left tip". We also had a really good encounter with a travelling sei whale in the morning, as well as some Atlantic spotted dolphins and a surprise sighting of Risso's dolphins (for those on the catamaran) before returning to the marina. In the afternoon all the sperm whales from the group came together at the surface to socialise and at one point we counted at least 11 whales together! We got to see tails, heads and even open jaws! If that lucky encounter wasn't enough, the afternoon was completed with bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins.


Photos from today:

A sperm whale we call "Left tip"

A sperm whale we call "Left tip" diving

A sperm whale we call "Orca"

A sperm whale we call "Orca"
 
Sei whale

Sei whale

Atlantic spotted dolphin

Atlantic spotted dolphin

Risso's dolphins

Risso's dolphin

Risso's dolphin

Socialising sperm whales

A sperm whale with an open jaw

Socialising sperm whales

Socialising sperm whales

Socialising sperm whales

Sperm whale watching

Sperm whale watching

Bottlenose dolphins

A very spotted Atlantic spotted dolphin

Atlantic spotted dolphins

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