Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Humpback whales and familiar sperm whales

Today we had fantastic sightings of humpback whales, sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins. We started our morning tour with a group of sperm whales that we recognise from previous years. In total we encountered 6 individuals, including several mother and juvenile pairs. It was a group that includes individuals that we refer to as "Bear paw", "Left tip" and "Orca". Some of these whales date back to 2008 in our photo-ID catalogue, so we have been seeing them for many years now. We also encountered some common dolphins close to Ponta Delgada at the end of the morning tour. In the afternoon we re-encountered some juveniles from the same group of sperm whales. Between our sperm whale encounters we had a surprise encounter with a curious and playful group of bottlenose dolphins, and later an even bigger surprise from a humpback whale. From our catamaran we encountered a small adult humpback whale, while our zodiac boat (and even our swimming boat) had a brief encounter with a different, slightly larger adult humpback whale. In total our coastal lookout reported 3 different humpback whales along the south coast of São Miguel Island. Not bad for a species that is not sighted often in the Azores! Our afternoon tour ended with a few common dolphins spread out along our way back to Ponta Delgada.

Photos from the morning:

Juvenile sperm whale (left side) and an adult we call "Bear paw" (right side)

A beautiful sperm whale fluke

A sperm whale we call "Orca"

Juvenile and adult sperm whales

Juvenile sperm whale diving behind an adult female

Common dolphin

Common dolphin outside of Ponta Delgada

Aboard our zodiac boat this morning

Photos from the afternoon:

One of the sperm whales from the afternoon

Humpback whale, showing its long white pectoral fins through the water

Humpback whale

Humpback whale

Bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins

Aboard our catamaran "Cetus"

A beautiful view of Ponta Delgada with Sete Cidades mountain behind

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