Friday, April 18, 2014

Our fin whales encounters continue

Today in both the morning and afternoon we enjoyed more encounters with fin whales in São Miguel, Azores. Starting in the morning we had two fin whales surfacing beautifully near our boats. Their behaviour was very calm as we have been observing in recent days. We recognised one of the two fin whales from previous encounters on the 14th and 15th of April this year. So, this particular whale has been around São Miguel for at least 4 days, probably feeding along its migration to the cold waters of the North Atlantic. The way we recognise different individuals is by the natural marks they have on their bodies, around the dorsal fin region. The whale we re-identified today has a very distinct dorsal fin with the tip cut. On many occasions we have re-sighted fin whales around São Miguel within one season, but not yet in different years. Each season we build up our photographic catalogue in the hope of learning more about the fin whales (and also blue whales and sei whales) that pass the Azores each year during the spring.

Dolphins did not make a huge appearance during this morning's tour. Only those aboard our catamaran were lucky to have an encounter with a small group of common dolphins. This time of the year the main focus is on the large whales!

Photos from the morning:

Two fin whales surfacing together

The white side of the fin whale

Fin whale

The same fin whale encountered on the 15th of April (above) and today (below)

Watching common dolphins from our catamaran

Common dolphin

Great skua - a rare visitor to the Azores

Photos from the afternoon:

Fin whale white jaw on the right

Fin whale from the left side 

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