Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Azorean marine diversity

Today once again we have been reminded of how great the Azores is for observing a great diversity of marine life. In the morning we encountered 3 cetacean species: bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins and common dolphins. We also observed some of the usual seabird species (mostly Cory's shearwaters, yellow-legged gulls and common terns) feeding together with some of the dolphin groups. The sea is flat as a mirror today so it has also been great for spotting other marine life that is sometimes more difficult to find. In the morning we spotted two different hammerhead sharks (one from our catamaran and another one from one of our zodiacs) and from our catamaran we also encountered a small loggerhead turtle covered in goose barnacles. Even when we don't see whales there is always plenty of other marine life to enjoy.

In the afternoon we were once again surprised by the false killer whales from yesterday. It was the same group that was seen just yesterday morning. A group that includes a strange looking individual with a very curved back. During this tour we also encountered bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins.

Photos from the morning:

Atlantic spotted dolphins

Bottlenose dolphins

A bottlenose dolphin that picked up a plastic bag today on its dorsal fin. It swam around for a short while and then dropped it - luckily. Plastic is a big threat to dolphins, and other marine life, killing tens of thousands per year. 

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins

Hammerhead shark - look carefully to see the hammer-shaped head on the right side in the picture

A loggerhead turtle with gooseneck barnacles on its back

Aboard our catamaran "Cetus"

Our medium-sized boat "Song of Whales"

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