Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Azorean marine biodiversity

Today we experienced a diverse range of Azorean marine life. We encountered common dolphins throughout the day and also tried to see some whales that our lookout onshore was seeing. In the morning it was most likely a fin whale that the lookout saw, far to the west of the island. In the afternoon he probably saw a humpback whale closer to our base in Ponta Delgada. Although we didn't manage to see either one of these baleen whales it is good to know that they are already arriving to the island to hopefully kick start another great spring season for seeing migrating baleen whales off São Miguel island. 

At least during our search for a whale we came across a lot of other types of marine life. In the morning we saw Portugeuse man-o-war (another great sign that spring is arriving) and some common seabirds (yellow-legged gulls and Cory's shearwaters) as well as some more rare ones (Iceland gull and great skua). To add to our list in the afternoon we also encountered a blue shark, a loggerhead turtle and a big school of fish (Atlantic chub mackerel) at the surface that we believe was being herded by an unseen predator underneath.


Loggerhead turtle

Blue shark

A bait ball of Atlantic chub mackerel

Atlantic chub mackerel swarming at the surface

Great skua

Yellow-legged gull

Our dolphin swimming clients this morning

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