Friday, July 10, 2015

Exceeding expectations

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:

Fin whale

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

Common dolphins

Common dolphin

Photos from the afternoon:

Afternoon fluke

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

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