Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sperm whales, our resident dolphins and spotted dolphins

It's another beautiful summer's day in the Azores with more summer cetacean sightings. In the morning we all encountered a group of sperm whales off the south coast of São Miguel Island. Our first boats to arrive to the area had to be a bit patient, as the whales were repeatedly going on shallow dives. However, after a while their behaviour changed and our catamaran arrived to the scene just in time to see an adult female sperm whale breaching (leaping out of the water) several times. A different whale became curious and spyhopped (stuck its head out of the water) and then swam near two of our boats. The final part of the show was the beautiful tails of the breaching whale and the spyhopping whale. We also encountered some common dolphins closer to shore to complete the morning.

In the afternoon we didn't have the luck to see the sperm whales, but we did encounter some wonderful Risso's dolphins. A small group of 15-20 individuals that was fairly curious for being Risso's dolphins. We also got a visit from a small flying fish as it flew into the boat. We had a quick look at it before it swam safe and free in the ocean again.

Photos from the morning:

Sperm whale head (the biggest head in the world) - notice the blowhole on the left tip

The first sperm whale fluke

Sperm whale head - this behaviour is called spyhopping

A sperm whale passing near one of our zodiac boats

Sperm whale

One of our zodiacs with common dolphins

Photos from the afternoon:

Risso's dolphins - adult and juvenile

Risso's dolphins

Risso's dolphin

The shadow of a Risso's dolphin

The small flying fish held by our captain before going back into its home - the ocean

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