Friday, June 20, 2014

Whale Watching and a visit to a volcano in the ocean

Today is a typical summer's day in São Miguel, Azores. Our day was spent whale watching, swimming with dolphins and for some also snorkeling inside a lagoon inside an extinct volcanic crater in the ocean (Vila Franca Islet). Today marks the first day of the season that we are running our "full day tour" which includes whale watching in the morning, a local lunch in Vila Franca and an afternoon spent snorkeling in the islet which is a protected area and great place to see a variety of fish. In the morning our whale watchers first encountered bottlenose dolphins together wth some common dolphins close to Ponta Delgada and later sperm whales. After some waiting we encountered two sperm whales at the surface, one of which was a large male and showed a beautiful high tail. We also had a boat going out to swim with dolphins in the morning and they had a great underwater experience with the bottlenose dolphins.

In the afternoon we started the trip with a playful group of common dolphins but we soon left the area looking for some sperm whales. Unfortunately these sperm whales never showed up and we found instead a nice group of Atlantic spotted dolphin feeding together with Cory's shearwaters.

Photos from today:

Swimming with bottlenose dolphins

Large male sperm whale head (this head can make up one third of the total body length)

Male sperm whale stretching, showing almost the entire body length

Male sperm whale diving

Vila Franca Islet

The lagoon inside Vila Franca Islet

Red rock crabs/Sally lightfoot crabs (Grapsus adsecnsionis)

Yellow legged gull (the only gull species that nests in the Azores)

Yellow legged gull with its chick (one of the first of the season)

Photos from the afternoon from the full day tour to the islet:

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