Monday, August 4, 2014

Beaked whales and dolphins

Today all our boats left the marina to find cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and we did find some interesting animals today. We got our "ABC" Atlantic spotted dolphin, bottlenose dolphin and common dolphins, one of our boats saw a loggerhead turtle and the whale watchers in the morning got to see beaked whales. There are over 20 species of beaked whales in the world and we can see six of them here in the Azores. Many of the Mesoplodon species look very much the same and are therefor difficult to tell apart without good close-up photos, but most likely the group we saw today was Sowerby's beaked whales. In the afternoon we did not resight the beaked whales as they are hard to observe, as they spend only about 8 % of their life on the surface and they can hold their breath over one hour! But we did see some wonderful common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins in the afternoon. We also came across a "ghost net" drifting around which is a big threat to all marine life so of course we stopped and picked it up. A "ghost net" is a fishing net that is lost in the ocean and unfortunately kills whales, dolphins, birds, turtles and many more marine animals. We also had swimming boats out there today enjoying the company of bottlenose dolphins throughout the day, and in the morning we had a visit from Azores FIXED swimming with dolphins.

Photos from today:

Bottlenose dolphins - the head surfacing is a tiny newborn baby

Common dolphin

Common dolphin leaping

Bottlenose dolphin leaps (they were very active in the morning)

Beautiful bottlenoses (above and below)

One of our swimming boats with bottlenose dolphins

Beaked whales

Beaked whales

Azores FIXED swimming with dolphins

One of our swimming boats in the afternoon

Enjoying our catamaran "Cetus"

The huge net our sailor pulled out of the ocean during the afternoon tour

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