Friday, March 30, 2012

6 cetacean species sighted, including a blue whale and fin whale feeding!

Today we sighted 6 different cetacean species throughout our morning and afternoon whale watching tours.

Morning tour:
In the morning we encountered our resident common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and a group of pilot whales. On our way back we also came across a loggerhead turtle.

  Aboard our catamaran - Another beautiful day at sea

Watching common dolphins

Bottlenose dolphins

Pilot whales

Afternoon tour:
Our afternoon tour started with a minke whale encounter (the first time this year that we have seen this small whale species). Next we encountered the friendly common dolphins again, followed by encounters with a fin whale and a blue whale. Both the fin whale and the blue whale were feeding at the surface so we got to see some action and a few tails from the blue whale (which turned out to be the same blue whale we have seen the past two days). These whales have baleen plates in their mouth - a type of filter which they use to filter small food like krill and small schooling fish out of the water. We could see the whales rolling on their sides, opening their mouths and skimming across the surface to take in huge mouthfulls of water food.  Several times we got to see parts of the whales' tail flukes, pectoral fins and throat pleats (folds in the throat which allows their mouth to expand to take in large volumes of water).

Fin whale - This individual was a young one, not very large

Fin whale feeding on its side - Here you can see a pectoral fin sticking up and the expanded throat

Fin whale - Blowholes from directly behind

Blue whale blow!

Blue whale feeding - Here you can see the throat pleats

...and the final show, the massive tail of the blue whale (from this tail we could see it was the same whale we have been seeing here over the last two days)

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