Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Humpback whales in São Miguel, Azores

Today we had two humpback whales visiting us. In the morning we encountered both whales together, very close to the coastline not far from Ponta Delgada airport. In the begining they appeared to be an adult and juvenile, but later we could see that what we though was a juvenile was a small adult, while the other one was a very large adult. Perhaps a male and female travelling together? They pair did not stay together for long, after a some time they split up. We tracked the bigger one for a while as it headed offshore, while the smaller one stayed closer to the coastline. In the afternoon we caught up with the smaller humpback whale again as it was still near the island, further to the west. Several times this humpback whale showed its tail so that we could get ID photos for our catalogue. Later it was determined that this same humpback whale was photographed off Pico Island by researcher Lisa Steiner. We compare our humpback whale ID photos to the NAHWC (North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalogue) to try to learn more about the movements of the small population of humpback whales of the eastern north Atlantic Ocean. As far as dolphins go, today we enjoyed the company of a group of bottlenose dolphins. In both the morning and afternoon they were in the humpback whale area, so close that we could often see both species at the same time. 

Photos from the morning:

Photos from the afternoon:

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