Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pilot whales staying around São Miguel

Today we have enjoyed the company of bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins throughout the whole day. The group of bottlenose dolphins were very familiar to us, as it was a group that we have been observing here along the south coast of São Miguel Island for the past week or so. We could recognise several individuals in the group by their distinct dorsal fins. Form both dolphin species we observed mating behaviour and we also got to see some of their newborn calves from this year. Both species were close to shore, near Vila Franca Islet so that we could enjoy the sights of this natural reserve after our dolphin encounters. Our lookouts didn't spot any large whale species today, but our catamaran did come across a group of pilot whales right at the end of the afternoon, just when we were heading back to the marina. It was the same group that we first encountered here 5 days ago and have been seeing on and off since then. This group is made up of at least 20 individuals, including several males, calves and many females.

Photos from the morning:

Baby face (bottlenose dolphin)

Bottlenose dolphins - mother and calf

A very flexible bottlenose dolphin tail slapping

Eye to eye with a bottlenose dolphin

Notice how different each dorsal fin is

Common dolphins

Observing Vila Franca Islet

Vila Franca Islet

Photos from the afternoon:

Our zodiac boat with common dolphins

Common dolphins surfing the waves

Common dolphin

Enjoying the south coast of São Miguel Island

Vila Franca Islet

One final surprise for our catamaran - pilot whales (male on the left and female on the right)

Male pilot whale

Pilot whale - notice the curled tail flukes

The same group of pilot whales from the past days

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