Friday, July 1, 2016

Familiar sperm whales return to São Miguel

Today a familiar sperm whale group visited us off the coast of São Miguel island in the Azores. It was a group that we know well from our past years of whale watching and research and we recognised some of the individuals by the unique marks on their tails when they dived. In the morning from aboard our catamaran we first encountered a whale we call "Nele", soon after Nele dived we saw another whale in the distance, too far to identify. Later we encountered another familiar sperm whale we call "Iris". The groups of female sperm whales with their young we encounter frequently in the Azores stay together, often for life. We already know many of them very well and have therefore given them nicknames  (some have been named by clients who have shared their photos with us for our photo-ID research. As for dolphins, this morning we also encountered two of our resident dolphin species. Firstly we had some common dolphins close to the marina and a bit further out the clients aboard our zodiac boats got to see some bottlenose dolphins too.

In the afternoon the sperm whales were difficult to find at first, but after we encountered some bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins we went searching offshore. We hadn't been looking long yet when a whale breached (jumped out the water), giving away the group's position to our lookout watching from land. We went straight to the area and got to see some more jumps and tail slaps from a distance. The whales were more elusive this time so we didn't get to see them long at the surface, but we were all happy to see them in the end.

Photos from today:

A whale we call "Nele"

Whale watching from aboard our catamaran

Another whale we call "Iris"

Common dolphins

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