Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sperm whales all around

Today we had many sperm whales spread along the south coast of São Miguel island. We spent the morning not too far from Ponta Delgada with a very familiar group of sperm whales. We encountered some of the same individuals from yesterday, including the whales we call "Orca", "Bear paw" and "Left tip". We have encountered these whales many times over the past years so we have got to know them well, and they also seem recognise our boats. We got to see many tails from these whales, allowing us to take photos and identify the individuals from the unique marks they have on the underside of their tails. We also encountered common dolphins in the morning (and our swimmers were with bottlenose dolphins), but the dolphin highlight for this tour was an encounter with a very energetic and huge group of striped dolphins. We tried to guess the group size and came to the conclusion there were about 500 dolphins! It was a dolphin stampede and all individuals were taking part in leaping out of the water in unison. We spotted many tiny newborn babies that were leaping just as high as the adults. It was a really energetic encounter that really got everyone aboard buzzing. 

In the afternoon we travelled further to the eastern part of the island to encounter sperm whales again. This time it was a different family group that were not so keen to show their tails. Our lookout out on land who had spotted them for us let us know that they were going on frequent shallow dives without lifting their tails, even without the presence of boats. Nevertheless we did have some nice encounters with them for the time that they were at the surface and from afar we spotted a big sperm whale coming up with its head high out of the water. We also had some closer encounters with two sperm whales logging at the surface before they slipped back beneath the surface. We also encountered bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins in the afternoon, rounding off the tour nicely.

Photos from the morning:

Watching a sperm whale breathing at the surface

Going on a deep dive

Striped dolphins!

Watching the striped dolphins from aboard our catamaran

Photos from the afternoon:

Bottlenose dolphins

Our swimming boat with bottlenose dolphins

Common dolphins

One of the sperm whales from the afternoon almost raising its tail out of the water

Tail tip

Watching another sperm whale

Sperm whale logging

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