Friday, September 5, 2014

A rare encounter with beaked whales as well as 4 dolphin species!

This morning we were very lucky to have a rare up close encounter with a group of at least 8 to 10 beaked whales. Normally beaked whales are very shy and elusive and almost impossible to watch during the short time they spend at the surface. However, today these whales were relatively close to shore in an area where the water was only about 300 m deep (this is considered shallow for beaked whales which can dive to over 2000 m deep). Every 10 minutes or so they were coming up to the surface and we all got to see them very well. We even spotted a juvenile in the group which was a bonus. From looking at our photos we can confirm that they were Sowerby's beaked whales, something which is always difficult to confirm with beaked whale species but this time we could see their heads and beaks very well which helps in identification. From all our observation boats we also encountered groups of common dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins and Risso's dolphins (the later species was in the same area as the beaked whales). From one of our boats a group of bottlenose dolphins was also encountered. Now for the afternoon we have a boat returning to sea to swim with the dolphins.

Photos from this morning:

 Sowerby's beaked whales

 Sowerby's beaked whales

 Sowerby's beaked whale very close to shore

 A white adult Risso's dolphin

 A very dark Risso's dolphin calf

Risso's dolphin mother and calf

 Juvenile Risso's dolphin with beautiful markings

 Atlantic spotted dolphin

 Our boat "Song of Whales"

 Our zodiac boat alongside our catamaran

 Our zodiac boat with Atlantic spotted dolphins

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