Thursday, June 30, 2011

Big male sperm whale!

The highlight of today was a very big sperm whale that was in the area. We had a few other sperm whales around too, but we ended up watching the big male between its deep long dives that lasted up to 73 minutes in duration. This morning we also saw common dolphins while in the afternoon we had a great encounter with a mixed group of striped dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins.

It's always an amazing experience to be able to see all these animals which unfortunately face a lot of threats today. One of these threats is entanglement in objects like nets, ropes and plastic. We like to help when we can by removing such items from the water. Today we pulled out a huge rope (shown in the picture below) which had a diameter of about 15cm, a length of more than 20m and a weight of at least 100kg! Eliminating such potential threats can make a huge difference so that we can continue to enjoy the dolphins, whale and other marine life.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Welcome to the Azorean summer

We are well and truly experiencing the Azorean summer now! Over the past week we have had some really great hot days with calm seas that have been perfect for our whale watching and dolphin swimming tours. During this busy week we have had encounters with many sperm whales, pilot whales, Risso's dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, striped dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins, turtles, and even a marlin. It was a particular bonus this week to see the Atlantic spotted dolphins arrive here on Friday for the first time this year. Now we can expect them to stick around for the rest of the summer while the water is nice and warm. We are looking forward to the many more great summer days to come.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Another beautiful sunny day in São Miguel.. And we can know be sure that summer is here to stay as yesterday the Atlantic spotted dolphins arrived! We only see this species during the summer months when the water is warmer, usually 20ºC or above, so it's very exciting to have our first sighting.

We also had a reminder of how careful we should be with our litter when we recently came across an immature loggerhead turtle with a plastic bag wrapped around its flipper. Luckily for this individual we were able to stop and remove the rubbish but many turtles aren't so fortunate - rubbish in the oceans, especially plastic, can be incredibly dangerous to marine life. It was an opportunity to remind everyone on board of the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling our waste before this little guy was happily released back into the water to continue basking in the sunshine..

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sperm whale group socialising!

Today was another great day at sea in São Miguel. Today we saw sperm whales, Risso's dolphins and common dolphins. The sperm whales were socialising throughout the day, so we got to see many of them on the surface together. Some of us were lucky to see one of the whales sticking its head out of the water (spyhopping) and another rolling on its side to show part of its tail above the water. In the morning we counted 7 whales side by side, and in the afternoon 4, including a very small calf. The calf looked like it was very young, possibly close to newborn which is when they are only 4 metres long. We also saw many common dolphin calves, including some that were recently born as they still had skin folds. Here are some photos of today's sperm whales:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Video of whale watching and dolphin swimming with Futurismo

Have a look at this great video kindly shared by Toni Poikeljärvi, one of our recent whale watching customers. It's always great to receive such good feedback, thank you Toni!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The real summer has finally arrived to the Azores! The past few days have been just perfect to go to sea. The sea has been calm and clear, the water is warming up and we have had some great sightings. Over the past few days we have been seeing sperm whales, pilot whales, common dolphins, striped dolphins, Risso's dolphins and many other species like loggerhead turtles, a leatherback turtle, sunfish, sharks and many bird species. The following photos are just a small sample of the many great sightings we have had off São Miguel island over the past few days.

Loggerhead turtle in crystal clear water

Pilot whale mother and calf

Sperm whale with two of our boats in the background

Common dolphins bowriding with one of our semi-rigid boats

Friday, June 10, 2011

Discovering Sete Cidades in São Miguel Island

These are some of the photos taken during one of our walking tours to Sete Cidades yesterday. As well as our whale watching and dolphin swimming tours we also run jeep safaris and walking tours to various parts of the island. Although the morning yesterday started off a bit foggy and drizzly it soon cleared up as we made our descent down to the twin lakes of Sete Cidades. Our clients got to enjoy the amazing views as we made our way around one of the lakes to a picnic site where we enjoyed a relaxed lunch out in nature. During the end of the afternoon we went to Ferraria which is a special place where volcanic activity heats the sea water so that you can bathe and relax in the natural pool along this part of the coast. This is just one of the many tour options that we offer to show people the beautiful islands of the Azores.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A beautiful day on the sea with 5 species of dolphins and whales

Today was one of those beautiful days where the sea was perfectly flat and clear with barely any wind. It made for perfect conditions to spot and view dolphins and whales on our tours today. We were lucky that there were a lot of animals around today. In the morning we had a tour on our new catamaran "Cetus" and had some great encounters with sperm whales, pilot whales, rissos dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins. On this tour we got to see many sperm whale females and calves as well as some amazing jumps from the risso's dolphins. The afternoon was just as good as on this tour we got to see an exeptionally high tail from one of our resident sperm whales, a very small pilot whale calf and a very friendly group of common dolphins swimming close to our boat in the crystal clear waters.

Some of the curious common dolphins swimming alongside our boat during the afternoon tour

Pilot whale calf swimming close to its mother

One of the sperm whales we sighted throughout the day

Monday, June 6, 2011

Today was an exciting day for crew and passengers alike as we took one of our first trips on our new catamaran "Cetus"! With plenty of space to move around and the opportunity to view the animals from different viewing spots on the boat meant everyone had a fantastic chance to see the whales and dolphins.

Our coastal vigia spotted sperm whales not too far from shore, so we spent time with a group of females and calves as they socialised and dived to feed. One of our biologists Miranda took this great shot of one of the whales diving.

Other species included bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and striped dolphins in the morning, and Cory's shearwaters flying alongside the boats. A great day to have one of our first days out on the water with "Cetus" - especially with the new open layout of the boat's bow so we can look down on the dolphins bow-riding.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

May sighting statistics

The month of May was another good one for whale watching in São Miguel. This month we saw 9 cetacean species:

  • Common dolphins (Delphinus delphis)

  • Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)

  • Striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba)

  • Rissos dolphins (Grampus griseus)

  • Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus)

  • Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)

  • Blue whales (Baleanoptera musculus)

  • Sei whales (Baleanoptera borealis)

  • Fin whales (Baleanoptera physalus)

This month is also off to a good start so far. In the past 2 days we have already seen sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and Rissos dolphins!
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