Sunday, December 22, 2013

4 whales, 4 tails

Today is a beautiful winter's day in São Miguel, Azores. Actually it seems more like summer, with a clear blue sunny sky, mild temperatures and sperm whales off the coast! It was the perfect day for us to return to the ocean, after what seemed too long confined to land. Our lucky clients on board with us got to see 4 very large sperm whales, all of them males and all of them with magnificent large tails. We have already compared their tails to our catalogue and all of these 4 whales are new to us! We can identify sperm whales by the natural marks on their tails, and sometimes their dorsal fins. The next step for us is to compare our photos to a larger catalogue of the Azores and then to other regions such as Norway, Madeira and the Canary Islands (we already have matches with these regions).  

This morning we also encountered our resident common dolphins, including one distinct dark individual that was lacking the characteristic pale yellow colour on its sides. The dolphins were feeding, at one point we were able to see a school of mackerel just next to our boat. We also had some winter bird sightings (a great skua and some storm petrels) and we spotted the first Portuguese man-o-war of the winter season. Even in the winter there is always plenty to see here in the Azores!

Some photos from this morning:


Dark common dolphin

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