Friday, May 5, 2017

Friendly fin whales close to the coast

We continue with the sightings of baleen whales! Today we encountered different fin whales on our tours. We were really lucky with the behavior of the animals that we saw today, instead of diving for long periods the whales were really calm and surfacing often. Some of them were even curious towards our boats.  We are aware that we are trying to see wild animals in their natural enviroment, that means that it is not always easy... but today nature rewarded us! In the morning some of us also had a special sighting of a baby fin whale, baleen whales are coming back from their breeding grounds at this time of the year that is why we have the opportunity to see mothers with their babies heading to their feeding grounds in the cold waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Fin whales are the species of baleen whales that we encounter the most in spring time. The conservation status of this species (according with the IUCN) is ENDANGERED. Fin whales were hunted almost to the extintion during the 20th century, nowadays this species is protected by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the main concerns for this species of whale at the moment is polution of the ocean, bycatch and collisions with large ships. In the Azores we try our best to do responsible whale watching, as part of the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) we follow strict rules to observe these special animals. We feel so blessed to have them in our waters!

But it's not all about the whales... today we also encountered common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins and different species of marine birds: yellow legged gulls, common terns, Cory's shearwaters and a great skua.

Photos from today:

Fin whale surfacing close to Lagoa city

Another fin whale surfacing close to the airport of Ponta Delgada

Common dolphin close to the catamaran Quatro Ventos

The blow from the fin whale (up to 6 meters in height)

Common tern 

The clients from the catamaran seeing the blow from a fin whale 

Our afternoon fin whale encounter

One of the bottlenose dolphins from the afternoon

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