Friday, May 29, 2015

A summer's day on the ocean

Today it felt just like summer in the Azores, with a clear blue sky and bright blue crystal clear water full of marine life. In the morning we encountered our three resident dolphin species: common dolphins, Risso's dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. The Risso's dolphins were particularly nice to see because we haven't seen them around lately, despite them being resident in the Azores. There were some very small Risso's dolphins in the group that were often jumping out of the water playfully. We could see from the vertical lines (fetal folds) on these calves that they were newborns no more than a few weeks old. The bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins were also great to see, gliding under the waves through the clear blue water for us all to see. We also encountered a few loggerhead turtles during our morning tour.

In the afternoon we had five different species, we started with the bottlenose dolphins, and later on 3 sei whales. They were travelling slowly west, but stayed close to us. When we slowed down, they slowed down. When w sped up a little bit to keep up with with them they went with us. Like previous encounters with sei whales this month - they acted wonderfully around our boats. After the whales we headed of towards Risso's dolphins, the same group as in the morning with the playful newborns. And last, but not least, we ended up with a mixed group of pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins. Oh, not to forget, we squeezed in a final species: common dolphins feeding with Cory's shearwaters. 

Photos from the morning: 

Eye contact with a common dolphin

Cory's shearwater. We saw a large group of them feeding with some common dolphins

Adult Risso's dolphin jumping

Risso's dolphin newborn calf jumping (notice the blue eye)

Adult and calf Risso's dolphins surfacing together

A well-marked adult Risso's dolphin

Watching Risso's dolphins

Bottlenose dolphin gliding through the perfect water

Our catamaran "Cetus" with bottlenose dolphins

The return to Ponta Delgada aboard our boat "Song of Whales"

Photos from the morning (from our catamaran Cetus):

Watching common dolphins

Common dolphin jumping

Common dolphins

Common dolphin 

Watching a loggerhead turtle and dolphins further away

Song of Whales and bottlenose dolphins

A dolphin looking at our clients in the bow of Cetus

Watching a dolphin while our biologist Sara explains about them

Photos from the afternoon:

Sei whale

Sei whale

Pilot whales

Pilot whale

Bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphin

Risso's dolphin

Risso's dolphins

Risso's dolphin smile

Risso's dolphin baby and mother

Pilot whale baby and mother

Watching bottlenose dolphins

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