Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A full day of fun with whales and dolphins

Today was a full day, with 4 of our boats going out in the morning and afternoon, and even a third tour for some which is currently underway. It's great to be so busy again as we are now in full swing, right in the middle of the baleen whale season. Today's sightings showed that this is the best time of the year to see whales in the Azores. During both the morning and afternoon tours we encountered fin whales, 3 of them in fact! From one of our boats we also had a very brief but close encounter with a minke whale, the first of the year (no photos sorry, it surprised us while we were travelling and we never saw it again). As for dolphins, during the morning some of us encountered a small group of bottlenose dolphins (a well known group we refer to as "Bubblemaker's group") and in the afternoon we all re-encountered them very close to shore. We also had some loggerhead turtle encounters during the day and in the afternoon clients aboard one of our zodiac boats had the chance to witness conservation in action as we removed a piece of plastic rubbish from the ocean that a turtle was approaching (a big threat to them as they often swallow this plastic). What a day!

During our third tour we took off to an area of whales right away but it was not easy to get there as dolphins kept distracting us. First common dolphins and later on Risso's dolphins. A nice delay. We needed patience with the fin whales but as soon as we were with them it turned magical, three fin whales close to us so we could really appreciate their size. But also by seeing the blows in the distance you will get amazed by the power and size. So, whales from 09:00 until 19:00 today and five species throughout the day. 

Photos from the morning:

Fin whale making a rainbow blow

Going out aboard our boat "Song of whales"

One of the 3 fin whales from the morning tour

Fin whale surfacing

Fin whale

Watching bottlenose dolphins

A great bottlenose dolphin encounter

Morning turtle

Photos from the afternoon:

One of our zodiac boats leaving Ponta Delgada

Our other two zodicas

Waiting for the bottlenose dolphins to surface

The bottlenose dolphins were very close to shore in the afternoon

Fin whales - we saw 3 again!

Fin whale blow

2 of the fin whales (the 3rd surfaced just behind)

 Beautiful fin whale head

A loggerhead turtle swimming towards plastic rubbish

We removed the plastic from the ocean, leaving the turtle swimming free without the threat

Photos from the third tour:

Two fin whales

The third one

Fin whale

Fin whale

Enjoying the sunset on the way back

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