Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer whale and dolphin watching

In we experienced a perfect Azorean summers day with barely a cloud in the sky and a flat and calm ocean. These are the perfect conditions for spotting and watching whales and dolphins as well as enjoying some beautiful views of the coastline of São Miguel Island. Out in the calm blue ocean we encountered both whales and dolphins in the morning and afternoon. We started with a small group of Risso's dolphins that were very calm. They were mostly old adults which are very white in colour, so we could see their bodies gliding through the clear water before they surfaced to breathe. Nearby our lookout had spotted two sperm whales in the early morning, and not long after leaving the Rissos's dophins the captain of our catamaran spotted the distinct blow of a sperm whale. Both whales were up in the same area and we could watch them for a while before they both went on a deep dive. Later during the morning tour we also encountered a small group of common dolphins and our clients aboard also spotted several loggerhead turtles.

In the afternoon we headed straight out to a small group of bottlenose dolphins. The dolphins seemed to be socialising and grouping up together. After a few minutes of watching them we were suddenly surprised to see a sperm whale surface right in the middle of this dolphin group. Our lookout on land had spotted this sperm whale a bit earlier but we never expected it would surface right there. The dolphins and the whale seemed to be interacting together and rolling around at the surface. The biologists aboard were not really sure of exactly what kind of interaction it was so it will remain a mystery of nature. To finish our afternoon tour we met up with a group of about 100 striped dolphins. This group had some really tiny newborn babies that were joyfully leaping alongside the larger adults.

To see a video of the sperm whale with the dolphins from the afternoon click HERE.
To see an underwater video of the swimming with dolphins click HERE.


Photos from the morning:

Risso's dolphins

Risso's dolphins

Risso's dolphin

One of the sperm whales

A distant sperm whale fluke

The second sperm whale



Common dolphins

Common dolphins

One of our zodiac boats


Photos from the afternoon:



Bottlenose dolphins

A sperm whale surfacing amongs the bottlenose dolphins

The sperm whale with a bottlenose dolphin surfacing in front of it

The head of the sperm whale (notice the peeling skin - they get sunburned and shed skin just like us)

Watching the sperm whale from the front of our catamaran

Striped dolphins

A juvenile striped dolphin leaping

Striped dolphin mother and babies

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