Friday, August 22, 2014

Sperm whales in a choppy ocean

Today we had a bit of a choppy ocean throughout the day, but the bumpy and splashy ride was well worth it to see sperm whales. We had a group of at least 8 sperm whales that we could count, directly off the coastline of Ponta Delgada where we depart from. We got to see plenty of beautiful whale tails throughout the day, starting with one that was lobtailing (slapping its tail on the surface of the water) in the morning. The other tails we saw were all raised gracefully out of the water as the whales went on their deep feeding dives. Later we will analyse our tail photos to identify the individuals that we saw today (a research technique called photo-ID). As usual we also encountered some dolphins today during the morning and afternoon tours. In the morning we encountered common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins, while in the afternoon our whale watchers encountered the common dolphins again while our swimmers swam with Atlantic spotted dolphins. We also had some keen bird watchers aboard with us today and we were able to show them some more rare Bulwer's petrels in the morning and afternoon and a Manx shearwater in the afternoon, as well as our regular Cory's shearwaters that are very abundant in our waters during the summer.

Photos from this morning:

A sperm whale lobtailing

Sperm whale going on a deep diving

Sperm whale logging - this one did not show us its tail

Common dolphin

Common dolphins

A very old bottlenose dolphin

Curious bottlenose dolphin approaching one of our boats

Photos from this afternoon:

Due to rain I only photographed the sperm whales during this tour, but as you can see we got to see some fabulous tails:

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