Thursday, July 14, 2016

Weird and wonderful encounters

We  had some weird and wonderful encounters out on the ocean today. In total we encountered 6 different whale and dolphin species throughout the day, as well as other types of marine life. We had a group of sperm whales in the morning, at least 12 whales which were staying near the surface and going on shallow dives. From one of our boats all 12 whales were seen together in a tight group. Later from this boat a group of beaked whales was also seen. They were probably Sowerby's beaked whales, although we cannot be certain as it is very difficult to confirm the exact species of these elusive animals. Our resident common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins also joined us during the day and gave some nice experiences to our swimming with dolphins guests. In the afternoon we started with the dolphins and they went further out to search for whales. Our zodiac found  Atlantic spotted dolphins further out and from our catamaran we had an encounter with a leatherback turtle, the largest species of marine turtle. It was a very special moment as the turtle stayed up for along time and then rolled over in the water, showing us its belly. We also got to see its head out of the water, with a mouthfull of impresive sharp teeth. A bit further out we came across a young fin whale. We waited and waited patiently as it was doing long dives, but all we got was 3 glimpes of it at the surface. In this area we had one more strange sighting...a small fish jumping repeatedly out of the water. It was just a bit bigger than the mackerel that the dolphins feed on in the Azores, so when we saw our photos we were surprised the jumping fish was actually the world's largest bony fish: the sunfish. This one was ofcourse a very small baby one and it was the first time the crew saw this. What an excellent day!

Photos from today:  

Sperm whales

Enjoying the bottlenose dolphins

Swimming with the bottlenose dolphins

Beaked whales

Common dolphins

Leatherback turtle upside down

Leatherback turtle upside down 

Young ocean sunfish jumping

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