Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sei whales and many dolphins

Today's jouney took us along the south coast of São Miguel to see sei whales and very large groups of dolphins. On all of our three tours today we saw the whales and dolphins. Even though we missed having the sperm whales today everybody was happy to see sei whales instead, and the common dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins were both in really large pods.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Whale blows, blows and tails!!!

Today we had more adventures of the coast of São Miguel Island! We had three tours and all of them were full of whale sightings. Our first encounter in the morning was with several different groups of sperm whales just in front of Ponta Garça. There were 10 whales here, another 12 there, 6 more in the distance, basically sperm whales everywhere! As far as we could see the horizon was full of blows.
In the afternoon we had the same situation, only this time the whales were in front of Vila Franca. For our last tour the sperm whales were still there and we alos had a bonus sighting of a sei whale.
On all of our tours we also encountered bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins.
What a day!!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sperm whales, sei whales and dolphins

Today Futurismo had three whale watching tours in São Miguel Island. All three tours were very sucessfull: In the morning and afternoon we saw a group of sperm whales, three sei whales and dolphins and during the evening tour we we saw the same sperm whales and more dolphins. Virtually every day in the Azores is like this, full of many whale and dolphin sightings. One of the reasons of our great success is due to the way we find the animals. We simply spot them from land, using skilled whales spotters (known as vigias in Portuguese) equiped with powerfull binoculars. Futurismo has a network of lookouts along the south coast of São Miguel Island that spot almost everything we see on our tours. Hopefully tomorrow they will continue to see the whales out there...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

More sperm whales and a sei whale

This morning we resighted our well known group of sperm whales that we have been seeing here in São Miguel over the past week. Today the group was spotted about two miles off the coast of Ponta Garça, along the south coast of the island. The group is made up of several juveniles, females and a large male. As well as the sperm whales in the morning we also encountered groups of common dolphins and a few bottlenose dolphins.
By the time we went on our afternoon tour our vigias (onshore lookouts) had unfortunately lost sight of the sperm whales due to poor visibility and wind on the sea. It was almost impossible to see anything from shore, but luckily our boats found a sei whale just half a mile from the marina where we depart from in Ponta Delgada. There were many birds around, feeding together with the sei whale on a large group of mackerel. It was a great encounter and everybody on our boats got good images of the sei whale. After this encounter we came across a group of common dolphins, so despite the bad visibility we still had a great tour!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The same success with the same group of sperm whales

Today Futurismo had three whale watching tours in São Miguel. On all three tours we saw sperm whales: the same group that we have been seeing in the past few days. Earlier in the morning we encountered the group close to the coastline of Agua de Pau, just in front of our vigia (onshore lookout). Throughout the day they were seen travelling very slowly, all the time staying in the same area. This gave us the perfect opportunity the see the group on all our tours today!
To make our tours even more complete today we also encountered  groups of common dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A new group of sperm whales sighted on the south coast of Pico Island

Today we had 3 tours, all of them with sperm whale encounters!
On Sunday a new group of sperm whales appeared along the south coast of Pico Island. We resighted this new group both yesterday and today and both days we did not know where to look because there were whales everywhere! Today we encountered them close to Queimada, and our biologist Romeno took photos of the "new tails of Pico" for our sperm whale catalogue. Some of the whales were very curious and they were spyhopping, showing us their heads and they came high out of the water. The most impressive whale of the group was a very large male that was huge alongside the much smaller females and calves.
Ofcourse we cannot forget the pilot whales we saw today and in many previous days, the Atlantic spotted dolphins that were playing with our boat in the beginning of today's tour and the bottlenose dolphins we encountered right at the end of the tour. Now we are waiting for tomorrow for the next adventure!

A huge group of sperm whales!

Today a big group of sperm whales surrounds the south coast of São Miguel Island, bringing us up to more than four days that we have seen this same group travelling together. In the morning they appeared close to the village of Agua de Pau where Futurismo has a vigia (onshore lookout). The group was later seen travelling southwest, further away from the coastline. This situation allowed us to see sperm whales both our morning and afternoon tours today.
The dolphins are an almost constant presence and they usually come close to our boats as they did today. The dolphin species sighted today were Atlantic spotted dolphins, common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Another day with sperm whales

Today we had two tours again, as we are still in the busy summer season. On both our tours we encountered sperm whales, the same group that we found yesterday. Our encounters left our passengers with some wonderful memories. On both tours today we also saw common dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A festival of sperm whales

 Sperm whale breaching. Photo taken by: Ronald de Vries and Annemarie Nijssen
The festival of sperm whales continues off the coast of São Miguel Island. Today Futurismo had two tours; one the morning and another afternoon. On both we observed sperm whales and beaked whales with the added bonus of a lot of dolphins as well. The weather was beautiful, the sea flat and the whales made the most of it by spending the day socialising and resting in groups. The young juvenile whales surprised us by breaching (jumping) here and there (see the photo kindly shared with us by Ronald de Vries and Annemarie Nijsen). In conclusion it was another spectacular day with whales.

Friday, August 3, 2007

A show of whales in São Miguel

Today we had sperm whales spread out everywhere, blowing and breaching in a spectacle that never seemed to end. We got to see this incredible show at the end of the day, just a few miles from Ponta Delgada. On this tour we also sighted common dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins.

Observing a dolphin dying from plastic

Today Futurismo's crew and clients witnessed the tragic moment of a dolphin dying. The dolphin had plastic caught around it's mouth and unfortunately we could not do anything to save it. Other dolphins were trying to help remove the plastic by using their noses to to push against the distressed dolphin's stomach while also trying to help it stay at the surface. Despite these efforts after a few minutes the dolphin stopped breathing. The worst part is that humans are responsible for this death and it reminded us how carefull we must be and what happens in nature when we let our rubbish end up in the oceans.

Who is watching us?

Today in the morning we had a great tour at sea to the west of São Miguel Island in an area near Mosteiros. In this area we encountered three very curious sperm whales that seemed to be watching us more than we were watching them. They were very quiet at the surface and when our boats approached them they began to spyhop, lifting their heads out of the water to look at us!!It was a lovely and magic moment that can only really be appreciated if you see it for yourself. Furthermore we saw two different kinds of dolphins: bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins. It's always a lot of fun to see the dolphins!!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

What a day in Pico! 7 cetacean species!

Today was another great day in Pico. We had three tours, all of them with many animals to observe. We encountered sperm whales, northern bottlenose whales, Sowerby's beaked whale, bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins. In the Afternoon trip we resighted the sperm whales, Sowerby's beaked whale and bottlenose dolphins but also encountered Risso's dolphins and common dolphins. During the late tour the sperm whales and dolphins again as well as a loggerhead turlte. What a day!

A tour with four species of dolphins

Although today our vigias (onshore lookouts) sighted whales off the coast of São Miguel (sperm whales and a blue whale) our boats did not arrive in time to see them. So instead we spent our time with four different species of dolphins: bottlenose dolphins, Risso's dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins and common dolphins. So in the end it turned out to be a nice tour full of dolphins!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

António Guterres with Futurismo

 António Guterres and family with our zodiac in which they went whale watching

António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, spent some time on holiday in Pico Island, Azores. Mr. Guterres and  his family took the opportunity to go on board with Futurismo to observe whales and dolphins in the wild. The highlight for Mr. Guteres was an encounter with a huge pod of dolphins close to Ribeiras Village. The tour finished with sperm whales off the coast of São João Village. It was a pleasure for the Futurismo team at Lajes do Pico to have Mr. António Guterres on board!

Shy Sperm Whales in São MIguel

Today we had sperm whales again in São Miguel, although they seemed to bea bit shy and therefore difficult to observe. Their timid behaviour just meant that we had to watch them from a bit further away than usual, which was not a problem for our clients that were just happy to see whales.
Today we also spotted bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins.

6 Cetaceans species sighted in Pico

Today we had a really special afternoon in Lajes do Pico. We saw 6 species. Yes, SIX species of whales and dolphins in one tour! We encountered sperm whales, pilot whales, striped dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins, common dolphins and Rissos's dolphins. According to one of our passengers this tour was something to preserve in mind for the rest of his life, something that we definitely agree on!

Sperm Whales in São Miguel

Today is a grey day with poor visibility but our vigias (onshore lookouts) still managed to find us a sperm whale with a calf close to Ponta Delgada, just three miles to West. One of our boats arrived to the whales in time, just before they dived. The remainder of the time of our morning tour was spent with bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins. Let see what the afternoon tour brings us...

An encounter with 12 sperm whales in Pico

Our biologist Romero has just reported to us that this morning they had good weather and a very good tour aboard one of our zodiac boats which departed from Lajes do Pico. On this tour they watched 10 sperm whales at the surface together, followed by two more whales in the same area. It is not uncommon for us to see so many sperm whales together as they are very social with strong family bonds. As well as the whales on this morning's tour Risso's dolphins and Common dolphins were also encountered.
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