Monday, August 8, 2011

Rare beaked whales, pilot whales and more!!

We just had another great day of whale watching and dolphin swimming in São Miguel! Today we had encounters with pilot whales, Atlantic spotted dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and a very rare encounter with beaked whales. It already started off great first thing in the morning when we had just left the marina and we came across a group of common dolphins. In this group we spotted one bottlenose dolphin swimming with the rest of the common dolphins. It is not unusual to see solitary bottlenose dolphins, and they have been known to associate with other species of dolphin as well as humans on some occasions. We did not recognise this individual, but we have yet to look through our dorsal fin catalogue to see if the bottlenose dolphins is one of our "regulars".

Some of the common dolphins seen this morning

Later in the morning we had an excellent encounter with a large group of pilot whales. This was a bonus for the crew as well as our passengers, as it was the first time in a few weeks that we had pilot whales in the area. Conditions were really great for watching the group as they were calmly resting on the surface.

A large group of pilot whales seen in the morning

The highlight for the afternoon was a surprise encounter with at least 6 beaked whales. Beaked whales are very shy and elusive animals, so it is often very difficult, if not impossible, to get close enough to see even one individual. So we considered ourselves very lucky to have this fairly close encounter and to also be able to capture some photos which may help us to identify exactly which species we saw.

Beaked whales (adult and calf) seen this afternoon

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