Monday, May 4, 2015

5 species including false killer whales

Today we had a day full of surprises and lovely encounters. In total we saw 5 different dolphin and whale species. We had 2 fin whales around that were a bit difficult to watch, but nevertheless were seen a few times at the surface. Closer to shore we encountered a nice group of common dolphins that were enjoying some wave surfing. One of our boats also encountered our resident group of bottlenose dolphins that includes the well known dolphin we call Egípcio. From two of our boats a loggerhead turtle was also encountered.

In the afternoon we were very lucky to encounter an energetic group of false killer whales. This is a species that we don't see often so both the crew and our passengers were very happy to see them. It was a group of at least 70 individuals (including some small babies) spread over a large area and travelling fast in the direction of the west of São Miguel Island. We encountered these false killer whales at the beginning of the tour, and again at the end mixed with a group of bottlenose dolphins. Between our false killer whale encounters we encountered 3 fin whales together - 2 adults and a smaller juvenile. This time we got to see them much better than in the morning. 

The 5th species of the day was the Risso's dolphin. This is one of our resident dolphin species that has been very elusive in recent months. One of our boats was lucky to have an encounter with them in the afternoon. It was a group of about 10 to 15 individuals that were seen very clearly at the surface. Normally this species is quite shy, but today it was quite the contrary. The white colour of the adults could be seen clearly and easily compared to the grey colour of a juvenile that was in the group. 

Photos from the morning:

Common dolphins playing in the waves

Watching common dolphins wave surfing from our catamaran

Loggerhead turtle

Photos from the afternoon:

False killer whale breaking the surface

Our zodiac boat with a false killer whale

Three false killer whales

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whales

One of our young whale watchers with a souvenir to remember his whale encounter

Young false killer whale surfacing next to its mother

Watching false killer whales from our catamaran

Bottlenose dolphins

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