Monday, November 19, 2018

Another day with Risso's dolphins

Today we had a calm sunny day. 
The sea, with an intense blue, welcomed us and the sun kept us warm. 
It didn't take too long to find a group of Risso's dolphins that we could enjoy for a long time. 
They stayed close to us and we were able to take some great photos. We kept on searching following the indications of our vigia but were not lucky to find any other species. On the way back we could enjoy a unique spot, the islet of Vila Franca.

Photos by Rafael Martins 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

A morning with risso's and common dolphins!

The weather gave us a break today and allowed us to go out to the sea. We started the morning with a group of around 30 common dolphins, a bit shy at first but very social and playful later, bowriding, lobtailing, feeding and jumping. 

We continued our way towards a group of Risso's dolphins, they were very close to our boat, which allowed us to make great photos for Photo ID purposes. Our lookout was able to see one more species, apparently a false orca, but we were not lucky to find it ourselves from the boat, the waves were getting bigger and visibility reduced. Overall was a great and intense adventure :)

A couple of common dolphins

Common dolphin

Common dolphin surfaces

Group of common dolphins

Risso's dolphin

Risso's dolphin

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Sperm whales with a very small baby today!

One more opportunity to see cetaceans! We spotted 2 adult sperm whales with a very small baby. They were a little difficult to observe because of the waves but it ended in beauty with the tail of one of the sperm whales. 

To finish the trip we saw very curious common dolphins and with some babies always playing with the boat. One more morning spent with our resident species :)

Sperm whale blowhole

Common dolphins

Sperm whale tail

Common dolphins surfacing

Group of common dolphins

Monday, November 12, 2018

Risso's and bottlenose dolphins together!

Today we had a beautiful morning, after a few days on land due to bad weather. Early in our trip, we were able to spot a small group of common dolphins, with some birds (cory's shearwater and seagulls). 

After leaving the area, we were lucky to find risso's dolphins along with bottlenose dolphins, an association that is not common to see attending an event of interactions between species (more aggressive behavior by the risso's dolphins). There are already some reports of rissos's dolphins showing more aggressive behavior towards other species, like sperm whales and pilot whales. 

After the event the species took opposite directions, we stayed with the small group of bottlenose dolphins in constant dives and then we returned to the risso's dolphins that were also in constant dives.

Photos by Rafael Martins

Thursday, November 8, 2018

October whale watching statistics 2018: São Miguel Island

Although this month we could already feel the arrival of autumn, with some windy rainy days and rough sea conditions, we were still able to go out a lot and enjoyed some really beautiful trips, full of surprises and unexpected findings.
During October we were able to see 6 different species of whales and dolphins. Our resident species were very present this month, with the common dolphin as the most encountered species followed by the bottlenose dolphin. 

Sperm whales didn’t cease to amaze us, with few breachings along the month, spyhopping or flukes among other typical behaviors from these animals. 

Risso’s and spotted dolphins and pilot whales were the icing on the cake.

We were lucky to find other animals like flying fish, a loggerhead sea turtle or even a hammerhead shark. 

Besides that there was a notable presence of Cory’s shearwaters, the juvenile individuals are now leaving the nests with limited flying ability and we must keep an eye for individuals in difficult situations and help them get to the shore safe and sound.

Let’s see what November holds for us!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Dolphins watching in São Miguel

Today we had the opportunity to go out. We went to the east, where the sea was not so bad. We saw some groups of common dolphins that accompanied our boat for a long time. 
Since we were close to the islet of Vila Franca do Campo we decided to have a look. We hope the good weather just returns quickly.

Photos by David Rodrigues 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

How to reduce plastic consumption?

China and Indonesia are the countries that produce largest amount of plastic in the world, including more than a third of the plastic bottles, bags and other detritus washed out to the sea. These two countries are responsible for 12 million metric tons of poorly processed plastic, from which 8.42 million tons end up going to the oceans every year.

This image below realize the TOP 10 of Marine debris:

Fortunately, there are many groups of people that want to do something about this problem. They, for instance, clean up beaches or try to reduce the number of plastics we use in our daily lives. And we can also help, decreasing our plastic consumption:
  • Carry reusable shopping bags (over 700 plastic bags a year are consumed for every single person on the planet);
  • Carry a reusable water bottle or coffee cup in public (a normal plastic bottle takes about 450 years to break down completely, so the components of a bottle dropped in the ocean today could still be polluting the waters for our great-great-great-…-grandchildren);
  • Say no to straws or carry a metal straw in your bag (straws harm marine wildlife and ecosystems);
  • Switch to reusable menstrual products;
  • Avoid take-away food or food products that are wrapped in plastic or styrofoam;
  • Don’t be fooled by “compostable” plastic products. These items are only truly compostable in composting facilities (which we often don’t have access to.);
  • Do not support stores that use plastic, bring your own containers or avoid them completely;
  • Don’t release balloons into the air. They travel far and end up in our oceans where they are often consumed by marine life that mistakes them for food;
  • Recycle. Learn how to if you weren’t taught in school. 

    When traveling:

  • Pack reusable bags, containers and water bottles. Fill up your water bottle at restaurants or hotel fill-ups to avoid buying plastic;
  • Pack zero waste snacks for flights/ travel. Re-use your food containers throughout your trip as you empty them;
  • “No straw please”, again;
  •  Avoid takeout/ delivery food and opt for local markets or restaurants instead;
  • Make the effort to recycle your trash aboard. Wash it and carry it with you until you find proper disposal bins;
  • Opt for Eco-friendly accommodations. Give back to your vacation destination. Get creative.

We have to take care of the oceans, we have to take care of the Earth!” Sylvia Earle

Written by Andreia Vieira


Monday, November 5, 2018

Risso's dolphins and a Sperm whale in São Miguel Island

Although the sea was a little bit rough today, we could still enjoy this beautiful sunny day.

In the beginning of the trip we found a small group of male risso's close to shore.

After some time of navigation, the crew saw one sperm whale blow at distance so we headed there and passed some time with the animal up to when it fluked to go in a deep dive. 

On our way back we were visited by a cory's shearwater that landed in our boat. Gladly he was safe and we were able to realeased it back in the ocean.

Photos by Rafael Martins 

Risso's dolphin

Sperm whale

Sperm whale tail

Sperm whale tail

Sperm whale at surface 

Risso's dolphin and a cory's shearwater 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Common and Bottlenose dolphins in whale watching tours of São Miguel Island

Today the wind was a bit stronger. We went to the east and we found a group of bottlenose dolphins. 

Our lookout called our boat because he had seen a blow of a baleen whale. We still went to the area, but we could not find the animal. 

We were coming back to Ponta Delgada when we found a surprising group of common dolphins.

Photos by Rafael Martins

Common dolphins

Bottlenose head slapping

Bottlenose head slapping II

Bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphin

Saturday, November 3, 2018

What do you do when you encounter a disoriented cory's shearwaters

Today early in the morning, one of our lookouts found a young shearwater on his way to work. What should you do in this situation? You have several options: you can pick up the shearwater and give it to the Police or to the Vigilantes da Natureza

They will take care of the bird and release it within the best possible conditions. Or you can pick it up and put it inside a box to set it free early in the morning by the sea. And that's what we did!  

At this time of the year, it is not rare to find young shearwaters lost or disoriented in unexpected places. Usually, they are young animals, which has just left their nests and are ready (or almost ready!) to undertake their first oceanic journey. When these shearwaters appear on the roads or nearby, we all should help! 

This time, our lookout picked up the shearwater, brought it back to our activity center at Portas do Mar, and we arranged a SOS Shearwater box to keep it while heading to a place to set it free. We went to the north coast of the island and put it out of the box. It was moving around for a while, taking its time, and finally, it opened their wings and started to fly into the open ocean. In spite of their youth, visible because of the kind of feathers on the head and belly, this young shearwater look ready to fly away into its oceanic journey!

Furthermore, we didn't forget about reporting the encounter on the SOS Cagarro website, where there is a special application to report these situations. Just need some personal information, location and any other comments. Easy for everyone! And helpful for this species!

Rescues Registration – SOS Cagarro check this link 
Learn more about this seabird (migration and reproduction) 

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