Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A fin whale baby makes a visit

Today, our morning trip started between the clouds. On the way to the whales we stopped to see one of our resident species: the bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). They were very playful and active around our boat, going straight to the west side of the island. We did not stay with them for much time because our lookout informed us we had bigger animals to see further out to the south. It was a long way to get there, but we encountered the whales, fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus). They were swimming very fast to the south, around 40 km/h, as they are the fastest swimmers among all the whales. We could see the most part of the body perfectly through the water, including the white on the lower right jaw. Then the whales stopped and apparently they started feeding, as they were constantly diving and coming up to the surface randomly. Then suddenly these same fin whales started to feel confident around us and it seemed they started to become comfortable in our presence. We just stopped our boat and we let them approach us to satisfy their curiosity. They were circling us and swimming underneath our boat! It has been and unforgettable morning. With this sighting we have reached 34 days straight observing fin whales! 

In the afternoon we continued with our fin whale record. We started the afternoon tour aboard our catamaran with 2 fin whales directly south of Ponta Delgada. This time it was a mother and calf travelling together. Like in the morning we could see their bodies very well through the water every time they reached the surface. Several times both mother and calf came up together, bringing their heads high out of the water to surf over the rolling swell. Closer to our base in Ponta Delgada we encountered a lovely group of common dolphins. The group included some calves and an individual that we recognise from its rounded dorsal fin (we have decided to name this dolphin Hector).

Photos from this morning:

One of the two curious fin whales this morning

Tail of the fin whale

One of them up-side down

The fin whale right under our boat - for the forth time!

Two fin whales

Photos from this afternoon:

Fin whales: mother and calf

Common dolphin

Watching common dolphins from our catamaran

Whale waiting on board Cetus


Darcy Webb said...

I would really like to go and do some whale watching this summer. It seems like the perfect thing to do while you are on a honeymoon or something. I imagine it would be really engaging.

Miranda van der Linde said...

It's definitely a nice idea for a honeymoon, for something completely different and related to nature. There is also plenty to see and do here on São Miguel Island, especially during the summer time. We will be happy to have you here for a visit.

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