Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 sighting statistics

As 2010 draws to a close the team at Futurismo is looking back to another great year of whale watching experienced here in the Azores. This year we saw 16 cetacean species: common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, Atlantic spotted dolphin, striped dolphin, Risso's dolphin, pilot whale, false killer whale, Northern bottlenose whale, beaked whale species (probably Sowerby's beaked whale), sperm whale, Bryde's whale, humpback whale, blue whale, minke whale, sei whale, and fin whale. We had some very memorable moments, including a record sighting of 7 species in one day and a rare encounter with breaching humpback whales. 2010 has also been a good year for us to see blue whales, the largest animals in the world!

Ofcourse we can't forget the numerous other species encountered, including our local seabirds, turtles, flying fish,and sharks. We would like to thank our visitors from the past year. It has been a pleasure sharing our unforgetable tours with you. We look forward to another great year to come, and hope to share the beauty of the Azores with many more people.

The Futurismo team

Last tour of 2010 and December sighting statistics

This morning we had our last whale watching tour of 2010. Visibility wasn't the greatest, making it difficult to find animals. But we did manage to encounter a small group of our resident bottlenose dolphins, as well as a loggerhead turtle.

Bottlenose dolphin seen on this morning's tour

Todays encounter brings us to a total of 6 cetacean species for the month:

  • sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus)
  • Pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus)
  • Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus)
  • Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis)
  • Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)
  • Common dolphins (Delphinus delphis)

Not bad considering we only had 5 tour during the month of December due to the unsettled weather and lower passanger numbers which is typical for this time of the year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

This morning we took a group of passengers out on our catamaran. Luckily the sea state was very good and our vigias (watch men) were able to find us a nice group of Risso's dolphins. For this type of dolphin the group size is normally very small, so it was great that we were able to see at least 15-20 inviduals. There were several young juveniles and calves inbetween the larger adults of the group. Some of us got to see a few of the dolphins tail slapping and being very active at the surface.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This morning we were lucky to go out on a whale watching tour and encounter a very large group of Atlantic spotted dolphins. We would usually expect this species to leave our waters around this time of the year, so it was good to still see them around. It was even better to see that many of them had recently given birth, so there were a lot of newborn calves among the group of adults and juveniles.

We saw at least several hundred dolphins (it was difficult to estimate the numbers because there were so many of them spread over a large area). Although there was a very large swell from our recent bad weather, it gave for excellent surfing conditions for the dolphins. Our passengers were delighted to see large groups of dolphins coming up to surf the waves in unison. Among the surfers we also saw several of the younger juvenile dolphins leaping several metres vertically out of the waves. Definitely a great memory for this morning´s passengers.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Futurismo Azores Whale Watching proporciona Natal mais alegre.

Mais de 50 crianças de instituições de solidariedade social de São Miguel vão poder observar baleias e golfinhos. A oferta das viagens aconteceu num almoço/festa organizado hoje no hotel Açores Atlântico, em Ponta Delgada. A iniciativa é da agência de viagem Hispania, da Finlandia, e contou com a colaboração da Bravo Tours e Solresor, bem como da Futurismo, Bensaúde, BigBlue e Auto Viação Micaelense. É o quinto ano que é organizado este convívio para crianças de lares de acolhimento. Esta é uma forma de levar a quem mais necessita, uma oportunidade de convívio e de, simplesmente, poder receber uma prenda este Natal.

A participação da Futurismo deve-se ao facto da empresa entender que assume, também, uma função social e de abertura à sociedade onde está inserida.

Da nossa parte sentimo-nos felizes por poder levar um sorriso a mais crianças e jovens. Um Bom Natal!
This morning offered a "smooth" time at sea, with long waves and a sea the colors of silver and blue. We headed soutwest and there under a group of yellow-legged gulls we met up with some comnon dolphins. It was a small group of some ten animals, a group size very representative for the winter time here. In the vicinity we had some local fishing boats that were out catching squid and unluckly for them but luckly for us this had some hungry Risso´s dolphins comming around. Most of them were old animals, white and big, and when they had had their pick of the food they started socialising and jumping, giving us the chance to take some good ID photos. We also saw four Macaronesian shearwaters flying around and bobbing about on the surface, very cute, as we are more costumed to the bigger Cory's shearwater. Here are some photos from this morning's tour:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Great start to the month of December!

Sperm whale going on a deep dive

Risso's dolphin
Large male pilot whale going on a dive

Pilot whales

This morning we had a great start to the month of december. Today is a beautiful day and the sea was calm and clear. During our morning whale watching tour we saw a group of sperm whales (mothers and their young), several groups of pilot whales, and a group of Risso's dolphins. Our passengers were very pleased to have a very good look at these 3 species. Both the pilot whales and Risso's dolphins dived under our boats and came very close for us all to see. The above photos are from the tour this morning.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November sighting statistics

Today we lucky enough to have a break in the weather and go out during the morning. There were sperm whales in the area to mark the last day of November. During this past month we have seen 7 different cetacean species:
  • Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus)
  • Pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus)
  • Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus)
  • Striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba)
  • Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis)
  • Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)
  • Common dolphins (Delphinus delphis)
Tommorow the weather is expected to be even more settled then today, so we are hoping for a great start to the month of December.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

These photos taken this morning show a feeding frenzy that involved a large group of common dolphins and many seabirds (Cory´s shearwaters and yellow-legged gulls). It is always great to see this activity, as the dolphins work together to bring large schools of fish together to the surface. Several of the dolphins can be seen jumping, slapping their bodies on the surface to scare the fish underneath. The birds never miss an opportunity to dive down and grab as many fish as they can. It´s always a bonus for our passengers when we are able to see the dolphins and other interesting marine life such as birds.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dolphin day

Striped dolphin travelling at top speed

Today we had a full day of very good tours. The sun made an appearance and the sea was calm and clear. Although we did not see any whales today it turned out to be a great to to view (and swim with) several of our dolphin species. In the morning we saw Atlantic spotted dolphins, and during the afternoon we saw two groups of common dolphins and some striped dolphins passing through the area.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We have been experiencing some bad weather the past few days, so unfortunately we had to cancel all of our tours yesterday and the day before. Luckily today there was a break in the bad weather, and the sea had calmed down enough for us to head out for a tour this morning. We managed to find a good group of Atlantic spotted dolphins. No sperm whales today, but the last day we went out, before the bad weather hit, we had a male sperm whale (Mr Liable) feeding off our coastline:
Mr Liable - A large male sperm whale that frequently visits our waters
Tomorrow´s forecast predicts more rain and wind for us, but you never know for sure what will happen. We are looking forward to the next time we can get back out on the water for more great sightings.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ribeira Quente walking tour

Our walking tour department has been busy recently, mainly with some nice German guests. Yesterday, we had a smaller group that did a walking tour in Gaiteira - Ribeira Quente. The day was very warm, the views were good, and after a few (unexpected) challanges, we finally made it to the end. After the 5.2km long walk, we drove to Furnas where we had the traditional "cozido" for lunch. After a few photo stops we ended our day with a visit to the Gorreana tea factory to have our 4 oclock tea break.

Here are some photos of the hike:

Our best regards to Peitersen and to Tabbert.
Thank you for joining our hikes!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bottlenose dolphins jumping next to our boat this afternoon

Atlantic spotted dolphins swimming beneath our boat

Cory´s shearwater seen feeding among the dolphins this morning

Today we had another round of very good tours on the water. In the morning and afternoon we saw the same group of pilot whales that we saw yesterday. In the morning the group was fairly spread out and diving frequently, but by the afternoon they had come together and we were able to see at least 30 individuals. In the morning our swimming clients had a great swim with a group of Atlantic spotted dolphins in our crystal clear calm waters. The Atlantic spotted dolphins were also great to watch for the rest of us that didn´t swim. We were lucky enough to see several hundred of these dolphins feeding together with a large number of birds (Cory´s shearwaters) flying overhead. Those that were on our afternoon whale watching tour got to see a very large and social group of bottlenose dolphins. There were at least 50 individuals in this group and they were all concentrated around our boat. We were lucky to see a lot of social behaviour, including tail slapping and some very impressive high jumps very close to our boat.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The last few days have been a little windy so we had to make a few cancellations. But luckily today is not too bad and we have been back on the water. After a bit of searching this morning we were able to locate a group of pilot whales. They were very spread out at first, but after a bit of patience the group came together and we were able to see a few mother-calf pairs:

2 pilot whale mothers with their calves swimming closely behind

In the late morning we also saw a large group of common dolphins. This group appeared to be feeding as we saw a lot of activity including a large number of birds flying above the dolphins.

At the moment we have another boat out at sea for the afternoon tour. Hopefully this tour will be another sucessful one.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Anti-whaling day - November 5th/6th

Today is anti-whaling day. Throughout the world people are coming together to show their support for an end to illegal whaling activities that continue today, despite a global moratorium on commercial whaling. There are many events taking place in major cities around the world, which anybody is welcome to attend (click here to find events near you). You can also show your support by posting a S.T.O.P photo of yourself to the official anti-whaling day website ( Here at Futurismo Azores whale watching we are supporting this very important cause, and we have been gathering S.T.O.P photos of our staff and other people that work with us in the marina. Here are some of our photos:

The more photos we are able to contribute the stronger our voice will be. It's not to late to contribute, so we would like to encourage as many individuals and groups (such as schools, businesses and organisations) as possible to upload their S.T.O.P photos.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November sightings so far

This month we are off to a pretty good start with our whale watching and dolphin swimming tours. During the first two days of November we have already seen 4 different cetacean species: sperm whales, pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins, and Atlantic spotted dolphins. A sei whale was also spotted of the coastline on the 1st of November, although we were not able to catch up with this individual to watch it from our boats.

Watching pilot whales - yesterday a group of at least 15 pilot whales was seen

A sperm whale mother and calf just a couple of miles off the coastline

This morning the wind has picked up so the sea state is too rough for us to go out whale watching. Hopefully the following days will be more settled so we can continue with our tours.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The weather and sea state have been great the past two days, so we have been able to have some fantastic tours out on the water. Yesterday we saw sperm whales, Risso's dolphins and bottlenose dolphins in both the morning and afternoon. Today we saw the same group of sperm whales, and also the same bottlenose dolphins that were seen yesterday. The Risso's dolphins were not around anymore today, but instead we had pilot whales and common dolphins in the area.

A very curious bottlenose dolphin

Incredible experience: swimming with wild dolphins

Large group of at least 40 pilot whales that were seen today

The weather is expected to remain good for at least the next week, so we are hoping for some more great tours during this time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A day of dolphins and rainbows

Today has been a good day for dolphin swimming and watching here in the Azores. Within minutes of leaving the marina this morning we came across our first group of dolphins, and from then on we saw several more groups throughout the day. Although we did not see any whales today ,we saw 3 different dolphin species: Risso's dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and common dolphins. We encountered brief patches of rain, but this created some very beautiful rainbows to brighten up our encounters. It was a very memorable experience, watching and swimming with dolphins beneath a rainbow:

Swimming with bottlenose dolphins under a rainbow

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Today the weather allowed us to return to the sea again for another great day of whale watching and swimming with dolphins. During both the morning and afternoon 3 different cetacean species were seen, giving a total of 5 different species throughout the entire day. Our encounters in the morning were with a group of common dolphins and a mixed group of bottlenose dolphins and Risso´s dolphins that were socialising together. During the afternoon we saw common dolphins again, striped dolphins, and a large male sperm whale that we call "Mr Liable".

One of the Risso´s dolphins we saw with a group of bottlenose dolphins this morning

Our passengers viewing "Mr Liable" - a male sperm whale that regularly visits our waters

Some of the striped dolphins that we saw this afternoon - they were "running" at very high speeds, which is typical behaviour for this species
Hopefully tomorrow the weather and see state will remain favourable so that we may have another day of successful tours.

Friday, October 15, 2010

After a week of almost continous bad weather, we have been lucky to have a return to calm seas in the past 2 days. Both yesterday and today we saw our resident bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, and sperm whales. Yesterday's sperm whale sighting was of a large male that we have come to know as Mr Liable. This individual frequently visits our area, and he has been doing so for many years. We can easily recognise Mr Liable when he dives, just by seeing the distinct marks on his tail. Today we had a group of sperm whales in the area during the morning and afternoon. This group was made up of several females and their calves, and we were lucky to see many of their tails as they went on their deep dives. Here are some of the moments that today's passengers got to witness:

Common dolphins jumping and bowriding in front of our catamaran

Sperm whale mother and calf

Thursday, October 7, 2010

STOP killing whales

On November 5th, "Anti-Whaling day" will be celebrated around the world. Here in the Azores we support the protection, and not the hunting of whales. To help with this important cause we will be informing and educating as many people as possible on the effect of whaling on the status of the world's whale populations. This is part of our ongoing goal to prove that it is not necessary to kill whales, and that they can in fact be important to the local economy. We do this daily by taking our guests on educational tours to see whales and dolphins in their natural environment, and by monitoring their populations through scientific research. Whale watching in the Azores has sucessfuly replaced our old memories of whaling.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Common dolphin bowriding in crystal-clear waters
Risso´s dolphin

After a full day of rain and wind yesterday it was a pleasant surprise to find the water calm and flat this morning. We had some great tours this morning, with sightings of 5 different cetacean species: sperm whales, Atlantic spotted dolphins, striped dolphins, common dolphins, and Risso´s dolphins. The water is so clear today that we were able to see the dolphins diving to at least 20 metres beneath our boat. This afternoon´s tours that are currently underway are hopefully just as great as those of the morning.

Friday, October 1, 2010

September sighting statistics

September has been another good month for whale watching in the Azores. The weather allowed us to run tours for 28 of the 30 days of the month, and each of those days we were able to see whales and/or dolphins. Throughout the month we saw 11 different whale and dolphins species:

  • Common dolphins (Delphinus delphis)
  • Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)
  • Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis)
  • Striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba)
  • Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus)
  • Pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus)
  • Beaked whales (Mesoplodon spp.)
  • Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus)
  • Bryde's whales (Balaenoptera edeni)

It has been a particularly good month for seeing very large groups of Atlantic spotted dolphins and nursery groups of sperm whales. Although we are coming to the end of our busy season we are still seeing plenty of whales and dolphins, and we are ready for another good month of great sightings. We are already off to a good start for October, as this morning we saw a group of sperm whales (including one small whale that breached 3 times in a row) and Atlantic spotted dolphins.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Large male sperm whale known as "Mr Liable"

Today we had another great day of whale watching and swimming with dolphins. In the morning we saw sperm whales, pilot whales, striped dolphins, and Atlantic spotted dolphins. During the afternoon the sperm whale pod had moved too far to the East, but we were able to see a large male sperm whale that was much closer to shore. This sperm whale turned out to be an individual that is very familiar to us, referred to as "Mr Liable". In the afternoon we also came across a very large group of several hundred Atlantic spotted dolphins spread over a very large area, and to top it off we came across a shark, and a turtle on our way back in to the marina.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Some of the sperm whales we saw this afternoon
The last two days we have had a large group of at least 10 sperm whales off our coastline. Yesterday they were a long way out of Ponta Delgada, but today they had moved in much closer. The group consisted of several females with their juveniles and calves, and during the morning they were seen socialising and breaching. In the late morning and afternoon the whales began their long and deep feeding dives, which meant that we were able to see many spectacular tails as the whales went down. We also had encounters with common dolphins, striped dolphins, and Atlantic dolphins. This afternoon we were especially lucky because the Atlantic spotted dolphins stayed with us the whole time that we were in the sperm whale area. Some of these dolphins even came with us to visit the sperm whales on the surface.

Atlantic spotted dolphins that stayed with us for most of our afternoon whale watching tour

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