Today was a day that we exceeded many people's expectations. It's always nice to get this comment from our clients, and even though the Azores is considered one of the top 10 places in the world to go whale and dolphin watching it's always nice to be surprised. We never know exactly what we will see during one of our tours, but the chances of seeing something are always high.
In the morning today we were first surprised by a fin whale that surfaced near our catamaran as we were heading out. This relatively small fin whale is very late in its migration north, so it was a great surprise. The fin whale was very calm and often surfaced near us so we got to see it very well. The next treat was a group of sperm whales a bit further out. We saw several different individuals and the highlight was seeing a breaching sperm whale to the left of our catamaran, while we were watching 2 other sperm whales at the surface together on our right. It's not often that we get to see one of these huge whales leaping out of the water (breaching). We also briefly encountered both common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins in the morning to complete the tour.
The afternoon was just as nice as the morning. This time we started with sperm whales and again we encountered several different individuals of the family. At one stage we had 3 sperm whales as the surface together and one of them was an individual we call "Orca" because she has a pale coloured patch on her back that reminds us of the saddle patch of an Orca. We also encountered some familiar bottlenose dolphins called "Submarino" and "Egípcio". These dolphins have very distinct dorsals fins and belong to a group of about 80 dolphins. While we were watching them from our catamaran the swimmers on our zodiac boat had some nice up close and personal underwater encounters with them. What a day!
Photos from the morning:
One of many flukes
A breaching sperm whale
The two final sperm whales of the morning
Another beautiful fluke
Watching one of the sperm whales
Photos from the afternoon:
The female sperm whale with the white spot known as "Orca"
Sperm whale watching
A pretty-faced bottlenose dolphin
The bottlenose dolphin with a pyramid dorsal fin called "Egípcio"
Watching bottlenose dolphins
Eye contact with wild dolphins
Swimming with bottlenose dolphins