Sunday, August 25, 2013

Breaching beaked whales

This afternoon we had an extremely rare encounter with beaked whales. Beaked whales are very shy and elusive animals that we know very little about because they spend very little time at the surface (about 8% of their lives) and a lot of time underwater on very deep dives. Beaked whales are known to usually avoid boats and are very difficult to have even a small glimpse of. However this afternoon we were very lucky to observe 3 very social beaked whales (2 adults and a juvenile) from aboard our catamaran. The whales were breaching (jumping out of the water) and we were able to get some nice photos and video footage of this rare event (see below). From our photos we could later confirm that the species was the Sowerby's beaked whale.

The beaked whales were not our only sighting of the day. In the afternoon we also encountered common dolphins and a very social group of bottlenose dolphins that were great for our swimming tour. In the morning we encountered a large male sperm whale and mixed groups of bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins that were observed to be feeding together with bluefin tuna and hundreds of seabirds.

Photos from the morning:

One of our boats watching a male sperm whale

Large male sperm whale with a big head

Watching a juvenile Atlantic spotted dolphin from our catamaran

Bottlenose dolphin

Video from the afternoon - beaked whales breaching:

Photos from the afternoon:

Beaked whale breaching

Beaked whale breaching

2 of the 3 beaked whales we saw

Bottlenose dolphin

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