Today our catamaran clients in the morning had a nice start to their tour with an encounter with a fin whale. To be seeing fin whales so late in the summer probably means that they are on the return migration south to their breeding grounds in warmer waters. We never really stopped seeing fin whales since their north-bound migration to the cooler feeding grounds in the north, so we don't really know if these whales we have been seeing are late migrators, early returners or of they never really made the complete journey to the north and have found enough food in the Azores to sustain them throughout the summer. From one of our other boats some beaked whales were also seen in the morning and among all the boats we also registered encounters with common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins and Risso's dolphins.
In the afternoon we returned almost to the same area as the fin whale, but this time we received the information that there was a male sperm whale diving there. We didn't have to wait long before we spotted the whale at the surface and we could enjoy a full ten minutes with this large male before he went down on his next deep dive. We were almost sure of this whale's identity from seeing his dorsal fin and when he lifted he tail for the dive we could confirm that it was the famous Mr Liable. Mr Liable is the most encountered sperm whale off São Miguel Island and we have been seeing him every year and almost every month since at least 2006. He gets his name because he is very reliable in always returning to us, staying up a long time and showing us a beautiful high tail. As always, today he didn't dissapoint. We haven't seen Mr Liable for about 4 months, so it was great to see him back from wherever he has been. He sure has got big!
Photos from the morning:
Fin whale photos
Photos from the afternoon:
Mr Liable, the male sperm whale at the surface
Watching Mr Liable
Mr Liable's tail
Common dolphin calf