Friday, March 4, 2016

Humpback whales, fin whales and dolphins off São Miguel

We are having a great start to the baleen whale season off São Miguel Island in the Azores. Here the season for seeing these migrating whales has started early and today was another great day for seeing them. It is only the start of March and this morning we already had our third humpback whale sighting and our 10th fin whale sighting. We started with a big fin whale, which we saw well and turned out to be a different individual to those we have been seeing the last days. Next we headed inshore where we spotted the blow of another fin whale, but this time we were focused on finding a humpback whale our lookout had spotted nearby. To our luck it turned out to be two humpback whales; a large adult and a juvenile travelling together. Most of the time we saw them come up to the surface they curved their backs very high, almost raising their tail flukes out of the water. One time we saw one tail breach and right at the end of our encounter we were treated to seeing the adult raise its tail out of the water to start a dive. Our ID photos of these two whales reveal we have not photographed them here before, so they are new additions to our catalogue.

We also encountered some lovely dolphins today which were eager to play around our boats, as they often are. Our swimming clients spent the first part of the morning with these common dolphins, entering their underwater world and later enjoying watching them from above water. Later our whale watching clients also got to watch them swimming around the bow of our boat before we returned as very happy passengers to the marina.


Photos from the morning:

Fin whale blow

Fin whale

Fin whale

The adult humpback whale

Curving to dive, showing the white pectoral fins through the water as a bright aqua colour


Both humpback whales together

The juvenile humpback whale

Another high curve

This time showing the tail

Common dolphin making eye contact

Our swimming clients

The swimmers enjoying the dolphins from above water

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