Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Minke whale feeding, showing its baleen!

Today we encountere a minke whale!!! Just like a dolphin the small whale followed the boat and made us burst from enthusiasm!! It even made some our guest cry from emotion. Even I couldn't believe the behaviour of the curious minke whale. It was the first time that I was able to see the entire length of the whale from the tip of the head to the tip of the fluke. To add to the excitement we were able to see the whale feeding.  The minke whale is a baleen whale, meaning that it has fibrous baleen plates in the mouth instead of teeth. The baleen are used to filter tiny planktonic animals out of the water. The whale that we saw feeding kept its mouth open at the surface so that we could see all of the baleen inside its mouth! It was an amazing day that was made even better by the common dolphins that are almost always there to put a smile on our faces. day!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Futurismo has a new boat

Today we received a new boat: a catamaran that is our to use while our new custom-built catamaran is under construction. With this vessel we believe that we can offer a better service to our clients. This boat offers more comfort, spacious viewing decks, toilet facilities, easier communication between crew and clients and the chance for people of all ages and levels of fitness to come out whale watchçing with us. Also, we can go further to explore new areas with even more chances to see whales. With this catamaran Futurismo can now cater to clients' different preferences or requirements with the option of three different types of boats: zodiac boats, open fibreglass boat and a bigger and all protect boat for a pleasant tour.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The three largest animals in the world all sighted in São Miguel, Azores

Today the tours brought us more good news to register on the blog: sei whales, fin whales and BLUE WHALES! During this time of the year we are constantly reminded of how lucky we are to be in this area where we can see the three largest whales, and the largest animals in the world (as well as the 4th and 5th largest, the sperm whale and humpback whale). During the spring months these baleen whales migrate past the Azores and often stop for a day or two to feed before arriving to their summer feeding grounds further north. Today's tours were another one of our "Fanstastic Experiences" that we hope our guests will remember forever.  Today we also saw a lot of dolphins, both common dolphins and Risso's dolphins. What a day! The last couple of days have been amazingly blessed with good weather and the lookout has been able to easily track the animals. And at least for the next few days we hope this situation will remain the same!

Another blue whale and sei whales in São Miguel

Today we had another successful tour in São Miguel, Azores. On both our tours we saw some sei whales and a blue whale. This is the best time of the year to go whale watching in the Azores, as it is the time that we see many baleen whales (mostly fin whales, sei whales and blue whales) as they pass by on their migration to areas further north where they spend the summer feeding. Of course today couldn't be complete without the common dolphins who always are there for us!!!

Another season of whale watching begins in Pico, Azores

Today we began operating another season whale watching in Lajes do Pico. The new season started with a tour in the afternoon, during which we encountered our 3 resident dolphins: common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and Risso's dolphins. Our vigia (onshore lookout) also sighted sperm whales in the morning, but unfortunately we didn't see them on our tour. Nevertheless, our clients were very happy with the playful dolphins.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sei whales sighted again

Today we had another great tour for seeing migratory baleen whales. Two sei whales were sighted far from Ponta Delgada, directly off the coast of Lagoa! Because the sea was a bit rough it took quite some time to get to the area and the pictures didn't come out as good as we wanted them to be. However, the important thing is that everybody go to see the sei whales, the third largest animal in the world! Also, some common dolphins and a tiny turtle were sighted, making the trip complete and making today's clients happy!

Sei whale - here you can see a small part of the back and the blowholes releasing the vertical blow

Although it was really dificult to find the whales with all the waves, in the end it was really worth it and everyone fully enjoyed the day!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sei whale and many sperm whale sighted

Today the sun made a short appearance. Finally, the sun!!! The forecast was surprisingly positive for good weather and we had a lot of anxious tourists looking forward to experiencing the whale watching in the Azores. The crew members were also eager to go to the sea because that is where they feel most comfortable. And so we went on the trip in the morning...

We received information from our lookout that there were some big animals not too far from the marina, maybe six miles away! Although he wasn't able to identify the species he knew that from the body size it couldn't be dolphins. Suddenly the small thrill we all had grew to a lot eager anticipation! When we got to the area we still didn't have the correct identification of the species so it was an amazing surprise when we saw it was a baleen whale! The big blow hole and the footprints at the surface of the water were a big help for us to identify it as a sei whale! At the surface we could identify the characteristic high dorsal fin and the roundness of the body!

The footprint that is formed at the surface of the water from the movement of the whale's tail

Viewing the sei whale from our zodiac boat

After the sei whale, the lookout told us that he had spotted more big animals, so we followed his directions towards the area of the whales When we arrived there was an very big group of sperm whales. Throughout the day we encountered about 20 different animals that made up this large group. The group consisted of whales of different ages, and we could see the small females with their juveniles alongside the bigger animals (probably males) staying close to the main group.

Four animals spent almost 15 minutes socializing and playing with each other 

Double fluke! Two of the sperm whales that decided to give us the sight that every tourist is looking for to capture on camera!!

Surprisingly, although it was a huge day for those who wanted to see whales, only a few dolphins showed up at the end. They were common dolphins that were just passing by and were not in the mood for people watching. So in the end it was a really wonderful day for whale watching!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Blue whales!!

Although the bad weather that has been tormenting our islands this endless winter, we were able to go out on another whale watching trip today!! And it's not very often that we get the luck that we did this day!! A shout from the vigia (lookout) on the radio: BLUE WHALES IN SIGHT!!!! Not one, not two, but three beautiful and incredibly big blue whales! We always feel incredibly lucky this time of the year to have many baleen whales, including blue whale, passing the Azores on their spring migration to the North Atlantic.

The blue whale has two huge blow holes which release a 8 - 12 m high blow when the whale comes to the surface to breathe

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sperm whales

11th, March:

Today a nice group of sperm whales (around 10 animals) met up with us at sea. It was a group of females with young ones and a very small calf. The sun was also with us and we got a reminder that it is always good to put some sun block on.

One of the sperm whales sighted
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