Friday, May 23, 2014

Pilot whale and fin whale encounters continue

Today we still have pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) around São Miguel Island. This group of pilot whales have now been around for a week. In the morning we saw about 10 of these pilot whales, just a fraction of the whole group that we have been seeing for the past week. After our pilot whale encounter we saw 2 fin whales. It's great to still have these whales around for a bit longer. This year we have had a great spring season!
The afternoon trip started with  2 fin whales, probably the same ones we have seen in the morning, but this time they were together with at least 2 more individuals. These 4 fin whales were really curious towards our boat, swimming in circles around us. At this point our lookout did not see any other species, so we tried our luck closer to the coast line. We approached the small volcanic islet of Vila Franca do Campo and we decided to start our way back. But it was right at the end when we saw a big group of birds flying around the same area. When we got closer we found a group of about 40 common dolphins feeding on mackerel, together with yellow-legged gull. Underwater footage of the dolphins feeding taken during the trip will be uploaded on our facebook page. It was an amazing show to end the trip!

Photos from the morning:

Fin whale breathing

Fin whale

Pilot whale

Pilot whale

Photos from the afternoon:

 The dorsal part of a fin whale

 Fin whale surfacing

 Our boat approaching the Vilafranca islet

Our boat close to the natural swimming-pool of the islet

 Red rock crab found on the islet

High-speed sailing catamaran

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