Monday, May 19, 2014

From spring to summer

Today we had another great day of whale and dolphin encounters off São Miguel Island, Azores. The transition from Spring to Summer is often a great time of year for whale and dolphin watching here, as it is the time that we continue to see some of our spring time visitors, combined with those more typical of the summer months. We also have great weather here to brighten up our tours!

The spring time visitors sighted today were 2 fin whales in the morning. It was a mother and calf pair that was surfacing frequently together. Following this encounter we observed a group of pilot whales, a species we see here most often at the end of the Spring and beginning of Summer. During this time of the year, as the water starts to warm up, we see a boom in the number of babies. We observed at least 3 very young baby pilot whales in this group. Our last encounter of the morning was with a group of bottlenose dolphins (one of the same groups we encountered yesterday) that also included the newest babies of the season. At the end of the morning we still had a bit of time to pass by the beautiful natural reserve of Vila Franca Islet.

In the afternoon one of our zodiac boats returned to see and re-encountered the two fin whales from the morning. They were lucky to see them very well this time and spent some nice surfacings with this mother and calf pair. Our afternoon whale watchers also encountered a group of about 30 common dolphins and the final surprise for the day was an encounters with some Risso's dolphins very close to shore near Ribeira Quente. This shy species has been very elusive in the past months so it was in fact our first encounter with Risso's dolphins this year (although our lookouts have seen them from shore in the last months). The afternoon tour brought our statistics up to a total of 5 different species today!!!

Photos from the morning:

Fin whales - mother (right) and calf (left) surfacing together

The fin whale calf surfacing

Pilot whales

A pilot whale diving showing the fluke

Bottlenose dolphin leaping out with force

A friendly face

Enjoying the views of São Miguel Island

Passing by Vila Franca Islet

Photos from the afternoon:
 Fin whales (mather & calf)

Risso´s dolphin calf

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