Thursday, April 21, 2016

Humpback whales, fin whales and dolphins

It's another great day in São Miguel with whales and dolphins everywhere! The humpback whale we encountered yesterday was still around, very close to Ponta Delgada in the morning. One of our boats went to see this whale while others headed offshore to see a different humpback whale. When we returned to land later we received the exciting news that a whale watching guide working in Iceland encountered the very same whale in northeast Iceland in July last year (this can be seen by comparing photos of the underside of the tail which is unique with different marks for each individual). It's exciting to see that our photo-ID research is helping us to learn more about these endangered animals that we still know very little about. In the past we have also matched humpback whales with Cape Verde and Norway, with the help of researchers that maintain the NAHWC (North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalogue).

As for other species, today we also had some fin whales around in the morning, although they were a bit more difficult to watch than the humpback whales. Our boats that went offshore managed to see two different fin whales. We also had a nice encounter with a small group of bottlenose dolphins inshore that our swimming with dolphins clients spent the morning with, having some memorable underwater encounters. 

In the afternoon we resighted the humpback whale and once again we got a true show from this playful and curious indiviual. Check out the photos of the whale lobtailing, the whale was also tailbreaching and pec-fin slapping. Then we set of to see fin whales, although they were less playful then the humpback whale. We also encountered bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins and we ended with a last glimpse at the humpback whale.

Photos from the morning:

One of the two humpback whales from today, close to Ponta Delgada

Humpback whale diving - the one that was sighted in Iceland last year

Humpback whale curving its back to dive

Humpback whale with its long pectoral fins spread out

Watching the humpback whale from aboard our boat "Song of Whales"

Fin whale

Watching bottlenose dolphins

Curious bottlenose dolphins

Our swimming boat with the bottlenose dolphins

Photos from the afternoon:

Humpback whale lobtailing

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