Monday, July 14, 2014

False killer whales, sperm whales and dolphins

Today in the morning some of us on the first boats out on the water were lucky to encounter false killer whales, a species we don't see often here in the Azores. A bit further out we also tried to see a male sperm whale that our coastal lookout had spotted. We had several boats join in on the search and we all waited a long time for the whale to come up to the surface. Unfortunately it surfaced about 2 miles away from the area we had predicted so we had a long way to travel when the lookout finally spotted the whale up at the surface. We saw some distant blows and just as we approached we saw the tail come up, indicating the whale was beginning another long and deep dive. Wildlife is always very unpredictable, you win some and you loose some. Nevertheless, we were able to spend some more time with several dolphin species: Atlantic spotted dolphins and bottlenose dolphins for all and common dolphins for some. We also had a swimming boat out on the water that had a really great swim with both bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins.

In the afternoon our whale watchers had more luck with the sperm whales. In fact they encountered a family group of at least 15 sperm whales on the surface together! The group was made up of a mixture of adult females, a huge male, juveniles and calves. We were lucky to observe them staying up on the surface for a long time, as they were socialising. During the afternoon tour we also encountered a nice group of bottlenose dolphins to complete the tour.

Photos from the morning:

False killer whale breaching

 One of the false killer whales with a spinal deformation 

False killer whales next to our boat

Atlantic spotted dolphins - mother and baby

Bottlenose dolphin

Our catamaran - Cetus

Our swimming boat this morning

A Cory's shearwater taking flight

Photos of the sperm whales from the afternoon:

The tail of the afternoon

The head of the large male sperm whale sighted in the group

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