Friday, October 21, 2011

Big groups of dolphins with calves

Today we had were lucky to have very calm seas and great sighting conditions for our whale watching and dolphin swimming tours. In the morning we started of with an encounter with common dolphins not too far out of Ponta Delgada. After watching these resident dolphins for a while we headed further east while our swimmers stayed to swim with the common dolphins. At the eastern end of São Miguel island we encountered a large group of bottlenose dolphins. The dolphins were very social and we got to see several of their calves in the group.

 Bottlenose dolphins: Young calf surfacing alongside its mother

Bottlenose dolphins

Our afternoon tours began again with the common dolphins close to shore. As our swimming clients were in the water they had the bonus of seeing a loggerhead turtle right where the dolphins were passing. Later in the afternoon we also saw a large group of several hundred Atlantic spotted dolphins. There was a lot of activity within the group, as several dolphins were putting on amazing acrobatic displays while great shearwaters and Cory's shearwaters were swooping around (to the delight of several bird enthusiasts we had onboard), probably indicating that the dolphins were feeding.

Adult Atlantic spotted dolphin

Juvenile Atlantic spotted dolphin

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