Wednesday, February 11, 2015

False killer whales off São Miguel, Azores

This morning we had a really fantastic whale and dolphin watching tour. In total we encountered 4 different cetacean species: sperm whale, false killer whale, bottlenose dolphin and common dolphin. The common and bottlenose dolphins were near Ponta Delgada, and beautiful as usual. The sperm whales were further out in much deeper water. We saw the blows of several whales, but we spent all our time with a very large male, waiting for him to dive. He never did show his tail, maybe he was resting, so after a while we left him to return inshore to see false killer whales. It was such a nice surprise to see that these amazing animals were still around since yesterday morning when we found them. Our false killer whale encounter was a really magical experience that we will not forget. As well as cetaceans we also came across 4 loggerhead turtles, some krill in the sperm whale area (a great sign that the baleen whales will be here shortly) and seabirds including ruddy turnstones and a sanderling on Vila Franca Islet. We really are blessed to have so much marine life here in the Azores. To make this morning even better the ocean was really calm and we enjoyed the warming sunshine without a cloud in the sky until our return to Ponta Delgada.

A short video clip of the false killer whales

 False killer whales off the coastline of Ribeira Quente 

A powerful blow from a false killer whale

A male sperm whale resting at the surface

The large bulbous head is a good indicator that this is a mature male

Bottlenose dolphin

Common dolphin

One of the loggerhead turtles we found this morning

Great skua - one of our winter birds

The return to Ponta Delgada

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