Sunday, April 29, 2012

Orcas in the Azores!!!

Today we were incredibly lucky to have a group of orcas (also known as killer whales) in São Miguel!!!

It is very rare for us to see this species in the Azores, in fact the last time we sighted them here in São Miguel was in 2008. We were able to see the group of at least 6 individuals during both our morning and afternoon tours. The group included a very large male and also a calf. In the morning we were very lucky to see the male snatch a (very unfortunate) turtle off the surface of the water! Later we could still see the orca holding the turtle in its mouth. Just have a look out our photos below to see what we were treated to today. In the morning we also sighted bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins while in the afternoon we also encountered a large male sperm whale that we call Mr Liable...

Watching orcas from our catamaran (male orca on the left, female on the right)

3 of the individuals from the group

Mother and calf

Watching the big male from aboard our catamaran

Male orca snatching up a turtle

male orca with his prize (loggerhead turtle)

Later the male was still seen grasping the turtle between its teeth

A great view of the orcas from our zodiac

One of the orcas tail slapping in front of our catamaran (afternoon tour)

 More tail slapping from the big male

Here you can see the eye of the male orca

 Mr Liable - a large male sperm whale that is a regular visitor to our island (seen during our afternoon tour)


Anonymous said...

Wow! The orca's look impressive!

What brought them to Sao Miguel? Is it because they are following the whales here, and they're looking for prey?

Miranda van der Linde said...

Thank you for looking at our blog.
Yes the orcas are very impressive to see!
We do not know what brought them here, as we still know very little about the patterns of occurence of this species in the area (see The orcas we see in the Azores seem to be constantly on the move and may take advantage of any prey they can come across on the way. Hopefully in time we can learn more about what brings these amazing animals to our waters.
Miranda van der Linde
Marine Biologist.

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