Thursday, December 22, 2016

An early Christmas surprise...Fin whales!

Today we had a whale watching tour in the afternoon with a nice early Christmas surprise waiting out to the east of the island for us...fin whales! We started with one whale that became very curious towards us and kept approaching our boat, then to our surprise a second one surfaced right on the other side of our boat! The two whales showed themselves very well and they even showed us what they had been feeding on recently - krill, as we could see from their bright orange-coloured poo. Towards the end of this amazing encounter the whales started travelling to the south, joining up with at least two other fin whales so that we got to see 4 or perhaps 5 in total. Before the whales we also saw dolphins on this tour, in fact two different species. First we encountered a small group of common dolphins that came to check us out and play in the waves from our boat, and just after in the same area we had a couple of Risso's dolphins to give us a total of 3 different cetacean species for this tour.

Photos from today:

Common dolphin surfacing

This common dolphin had a distinct dorsal fin that we can recognise in the future

Two Risso's dolphins

Risso's dolphin ID photo (we identify individuals from the natural marks on the dorsal fin)

Fin whale along the east of São Miguel island

Fin whale blow

Fin whale surfacing with Santa Maria island in the background

Two of the fin whales together

Our last look at the fin whale in the beautiful light at the end of a calm winter day

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