Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Orcas feeding in São Miguel, Azores

Today there were whale watching tours during the morning and afternoon. On both tour we had the incredible luck of encountering orcas and whales! In the morning we first spotted the orcas,  a small group of 5 individuals that we recognise well now, including "Mr. Ray". The orcas were hunting and we got to see Mr Ray leaping out of the water while throwing a turtle from his mouth into the air. The turtle went flying while Mr Ray landed with an incredible splash. For the next few minutes we watched the orcas feeding and many seabirds joined in to make the most of the turtle meal. The morning tour ended nicely with an encounter with two large fin whales

In the afternoon we re-sighted the orcas, this time displaying a more social behaviour. Again we got to see breaching, this time from the younger individuals of the group, very close to one of our zodiac groups. In the afternoon we also encountered a sei whale and several more fin whales that were surfacing frequently so that we could see them well. Again we had a nice ending to the tour, this time with a friendly group of common dolphins. Below are some photos from today's tours.

Orca landing after launching a turtle into the air

Gull picking up some remains of the turtle

Orcas and seabirds feeding together

Common dolphin

Watching a fin whale from our catamaran "Cetus"

Fin whale

Fin whale surfacing - showing the white bottom jaw on the right side

Our biologist Miranda on the microphone

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