Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 2012 cetacean sighting statistics

During the month of May we have sighted 9 different cetacean species during our whale watching tours:
At this time of the year the baleen whales like the blue whale, fin whale and sei whale are passing the Azores on their annual migration, and this year in São Miguel we have had record high sightings of blue whales and fin whales in particular. We were also very lucky at the start of the month with a sighting of a pod of orcas that were also seen at the end of last month.

We are now reaching the end of the baleen whale season, but as these large whales leave we can expect more sightings of our resident sperm whales as well as increased sighintgs of pilot whales, larger groups of dolphins and the return of the Atlantic spotted dolphins that generally arrive here in June.
We are looking forward to another great Azorean summer, and this is a perfect time for you to come and join us on one of our tours!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sperm whales in São Miguel

Today we encountered a group of sperm whales off the coast of São Miguel. The group was made up of at least 12 individuals, including several adults we recognise from previous encounters here and also a couple of younger whales including a very small calf. We were lucky to see several great tails as the whales went on their dives. On our way back inshore we also encountered a group of about 30 common dolphins, again with young animals sighted among the group.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sei whales sighted today

This morning we sighted sei whales on our tour, a bit of a change from the fin whales that we have been seeing recently. There were two individuals, an adult and juvenile travelling together not too far from Ponta Delgada. The sea conditions were a bit rough so we did not manage to find any dolphins this time, but nevertheless everybody was very happy to see the two whales.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sunset tour on our catamaran

Yesterday evening we had our first sunset tour for the year and we were lucky with nice sea conditions, a beautiful sunset and a group of common dolphins around our boat as the sun was going down. Our sunset tours are done aboard our catamaran and include a selection of cheeses and wine from the Azores. The following photos were taken during yesterday's tour:

Wine and cheese from the Azores

 Begining of the tour: Cruising along the beautiful south coastline of São Miguel Island

And the fin whales keep coming

Over the past few days we have been seeing many fin whales on our tours, as well as common dolphins every day and bottlenose dolphins yesterday. Yesterday we also had an additional sighting of sperm whales that were passing the island and were already leaving again early this morning. Yesterday our biologists on board managed to capture several really good photos during our encounters:

Photos from the morning tour:

One of our boats with a fin whale

One of the sperm whales sighted in the morning

Sperm whale diving (and pooing)

Bottlenose dolphins (a very social group)

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins travelling in a tight group

Photos from the afternoon tour:

One of the two fin whales we sighted

 Sequence of one of the fin whales becoming curious and surfacing near one of our boats

Our other boat got just as lucky with the fin whales coming up very close!

Loggerhead turtle

One of the sperm whales resighted in the afternoon

Our happy clients returning to Ponta Delgada after another great tour

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

More fin whales in São Miguel

This morning we were back on the water and had a great encounter with three fin whales travelling together as well as a group of common dolphins that were swimming around the whales and our boat. The sea was a bit mixed up but it was not a problem for our catamaran and we got to see the whales very well as they seemed to be watching us with curiosity.

Fin whale (notice the common dolphin swimming in front of the whale and another one just behind the head of the whale

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Another fin whale sighted today

This morning in São Miguel we sigthed another fin whale (we have been seeing many fin whales as well as blue whales over the past week). The individual we saw today was a very large one and we were able to see it very well on several surfacings. We also sighted a group of friendly common dolphins to complete our tour. Here are a few photos from this morning's trip:

 Fin whale

 Common dolphins

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Three species of dolphins today

Today was a great dolphin day for us!
In the moring we encountered (and swam with) our resident bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins. The group of bottlenose dolphins was very large and included several young calves. In the afternoon we encountered a large group of striped dolphins, also with a lot of calves, and common dolphins. The sea was a bit mixed up today but it created perfect surfing conditions for the playful dolphins. Here are a few of our photos from today:

Baby bottlenose dolphin following its mother

Watching bottlenose dolphins off our catamaran

Swimming with bottlenose dolphins

Large group of bottlenose dolphins all around us

 Striped dolphins travelling at speed alongside our boat

 Common dolphins sighted in the afternoon

Friday, May 18, 2012

3 fin whales, common and bottlenose dolphins

We are still seeing many baleen whales passing the Azores on their migration. Today we saw three fin whales travelling together in both the morning and afternoon. Throughout the day we also saw many common dolphins and one of our swimming tour in the morning had an additional encounter with bottlenose dolphins.

Fin whale photos from the morning:

Fin whale photos from the afternoon:

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