Monday, September 16, 2013

Sperm whales socialising,breaching and lobtailing

The Azores islands are well known for sperm whales, a resident species that has become the icon of the Azores. Throughout the year we are lucky to have encounters with these incredible gentle giants who are very social animals with strong family bonds. On today's whale watching tours we witnessed some of their social behaviours like grouping up at the surface together in close body contact and communicating with each other though breaching (leaping entirely out of the water) and lobtailing (slapping their powerfull tails on the water's surface). In both the morning and afternoon we counted at least 8-9 sperm whales together at the surface, including several calves of which one was a newborn of about 4 m in length. Throughout the day we also encountered groups of bottlenose dolphins (the type from the flipper movies) and Atlantic spotted dolphins as well as common dolphins in the morning.

Watching a sperm whale from the top deck of our catamaran

Sperm whales socialising - notice how they are all touching each other in close contact!

Atlantic spotted dolphins playing in the waves

Bottlenose dolphins - a large and tight group

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