Monday, June 30, 2014

Our friendly humpback whale is still around

Today we resighted the humpback whale from yesterday, and today it gave us an more amazing show then ever: lots and lots of breachings! We also encountered common dolphins and sei whales from our whale watching boats. Our swimming boat swam with common dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and tuna! Today the photos will speak for themselves.


Click the video to see the humpback whale breaching two of many times!

Photos from the morning:

Humpback whale lobtailing

Humpback whale fluking

Common dolphins

Our swimming boat

Aboard Cetus watching dolphins


Photos from the afternoon:


Humpback whale pec-fin

Watching s humpback whale breaching

Sunday, June 29, 2014

7 species today: humpback whale, fin whale, false killer whale, striped dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin and Atlantic spotted dolphin!


Today we started with a humpback whale that gave us a spectacular show with lobtailing, pectoral fins out of the water and a few flukes (check out some of our videos of this on our Facebook Page). This whale was doing "human-watching" as we were doing whale watching as it came close to the boats to check us out. We were eye to eye with a humback whale. This humpback whale was also seen on the 15th of June so it has been hanging around the Azores and we know this by comparing the fluke which is like a finger-print. This is one part of the research that we do, called photo identification, to learn more about the animals we can see here. Later on we encountered two fin whales that were very curious towards our zodiac boat, and in the end curious towards the catamaran Cetus as well. Whales are wonderful creatures but the dolphins sure know how to create a party - a hundred striped dolphins "running" which is the typical behaviour of this species: jumping and leaping out of the water travelling fast and changes in direction all the time. And in the end of the morning, our loyal common dolphins paid us a visit.

In the afternoon we added two different species to our list (Atlantic spotted dolphin and false killer whale) to make a total of 7 species for the day! We started and ended the tour with a small group of the Atlantic spotted dolphins. The humpback whale from the morning was still in the area, again showing its flukes every time it dived, so we had a nice little encounter with this familiar whale. After our humpback whale encounter we went to two fin whales that were travelling together. After a while we noticed some disturbance a little further offshore so we went out to investigate. To our surprise we came across a group of false killer whales and 2 or 3 more fin whales in the same area. We had an impressive show as the false killer whales were travelling at speed, apparently harassing the fin whales. Like orcas (also known as killer whales), false killer whales are known to prey on other species of dolphins and even whales larger than themselves! On our way back to shore we encountered a nice tight group of about 40 bottlenose dolphins, and just when we thought the show was over some playful Atlantic spotted dolphins accompanied our catamaran for a while on our way home. What a fantastic day!


Photos from this morning:

Humpback whale lobtailing

Humpback whale

Humpback whale

Fin whale

Striped dolphin

Striped dolphins, mother and a very young calf

Striped dolphins 

Photos from this afternoon:

Humpback whale dorsal fin (also showing the white pectoral fin through the water)

Humpback whale flukes

Atlantic spotted dolphins

2 fin whales travelling together

False killer whale

False killer whale

Fin whale swimming fast chased by false killer whales

Fin whale

Bottlenose dolphins


Our zodiac with bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphins

Atlantic spotted dolphin racing our catamaran home

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fin whales and sei whales are still in the Azores

This year our baleen whale season is continuing right through June! In the morning we had at least 5 fin whales south of São Miguel Island and we had a nice encounter with 2 adult of these 5. There still seems to be enough food for these whales in our waters, as we observed them going on frequent dives and one also left a bright red poo patch (the red colour comes from the krill they eat) on the surface, giving us a great indication that it has been feeding recently. In the morning we also encountered a couple of groups of bottlenose dolphins, and later small group of common dolphins feeding at the surface together with Cory's shearwaters and common terns. We had perfect clear calm blue conditions so that all our sightings were perfect!

In the afternoon we had sei whales instead of fin whales, three of them travelling slowly close to us and coming up for one breath at the time and we could really smell them. And in the middle of all the whales our skipper Rui found a leatherback turtle - the largest turtle in the world. We also saw a loggerhead turtle in the beginning of the tour plus two species of dolphins: bottlenose dolphins and we ended the tour with a small group of common dolphins with lots of new born babies! We can repeat the words: all our sightings were perfect once again!

Photos from this morning:

2 fin whales surfacing and blowing together

Fin whales

Fin whale head just before surfacing

Fin whale blow

Bottlenose dolphin "smile"

Bottlenose dolphins in perfect calm water

Bottlenose dolphin dolphin

Crystal clear waters


Common dolphin with a Cory's shearwater

Photos from the afternoon:

Watching bottlenose dolphins

Sei whale

Sei whale

Sei whale

Sei whale

Leatherback turtle

A baby common dolphin looking at us

A baby common dolphin

Our swimming boat

Friday, June 27, 2014

Species interaction

On a rough sea today we had some species interaction between common dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins, Cory's shearwaters, yellowlegged gulls, common terns, bigeye tuna and yellowfin tuna (and humans). We also saw two other bird species that we could identify as they flew by very fast, one looking like a sooty shearwater and the other one like a Manx shearwater. All the species were feeding together and we were invited to be the spectators of this feast. We also encountered a large group of bottlenose dolphins surfacing in the waves.


Photos from today:

Common dolphins, mother and a new born baby



Common dolphin

Our swimming boat with bottlenose dolphins


Bottlenose dolphins

Atlantic spotted dolphin

Atlantic spotted dolphin

Cory's shearwater


Aboard our catamaran
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