Friday, August 31, 2012

August 2012 cetacean sighting statistics

The month of August was really good for whale watching here in São Miguel. Throughout the month we sighted 9 different cetacean species. This time of the year we always have a high chance of seeing sperm whales which is a resident species here, and it is also the time of year that we see many large groups of dolphins with many babies in the groups. 

This month's sighting statistics were:

A very social group of sperm whales as well as Risso's dolphins and common dolphins

Today we had another very successful day on the sea. We started our morning tour with a group of common dolphins near the coastline. Not much further out we encountered a group of sperm whales socialising at the surface. The group consisted of at least 10 individuals of which we got to see 7-8 at the surface together. The whales were very curious towards our boats so we had some great sightings.

Sperm whales together at the surface

A sperm whale we call "Orca"

Curious sperm whales spyhopping

Large sperm whale head

Common dolphins

In the afternoon the sperm whale group had moved on but we did encounter some Risso's dolphins, common dolphins and a marlin (for those people on our catamaran). 

Common dolphins

Our zodiac with Risso's dolphins

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The sperm whale Mr Liable and dolphins

Today we had a familiar meeting with "Mr Liable", one of the sperm whales we recognize, but when we arrived to the area he was diving. Luckily, while we were waiting for Mr Liable, a group of bottlenose dolphins kept us company until he surfaced. Photos from today:

The sperm whale "Mr Liable"

Bottlenose dolphins

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sperm whales and dolphins all around

Today in the morning we had sperm whales and four different dolphin species, bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins and striped dolphins mixed with common dolphins, giving us a great show with a lot of bowriding and jumping. In the afternoon we encountered common dolphins and spotted dolphins again and later we had a third trip with swimming with dolphins. Photos from today:

Bottlenose dolphins

Spotted dolphins

Striped dolphins

Common dolphins

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dolphin day

Today we had bad visibility due to mist and rain but we had a nice playful group of common dolphins and a few spotted dolphins around our boat. Photos of common dolphins from the morning:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dolphins and Mr Liable the male sperm whale

After a morning of rain and fog the sun started shining when we were out on the sea and we had great encounters with common dolphins, spotted dolphins and Risso's dolphins. Video from the swimming with dolphins can be found here. In the afternoon the dolphins were re-sighted and we were also lucky enough to encounter a large male sperm whale that we know well and call "Mr Liable". Photos from today:

Swimming with common dolphins

Risso's dolphin

Spotted dolphin from the catamaran

Spotted dolphins around our zodiac Alfredo baleeiro

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One of our sperm whale groups

The last few days we have had a group of sperm whales including 4 adults and 2 playful calves on São Miguels south coast. One calf lobtailing (slapping its tail) and breaching a lot and you can see some photos of that calf in a previous post here. Read more about this group, get to know there names, when we first sighted them and how to recognize them. A short video of on of the calves approaching our small zodiac boat can be seen here. But first below are some photos from today:

Calf lobtailing

Adult sperm whale diving

Risso's juvenile jumping

Juvenile and adult

Risso's dolphins

A tern close to our boat

Here are fluke identification photos of the 4 adult sperm whales in this group. If you have taken photos of sperm whale flukes here in São Miguel in the last couple of days you might have seen one of these 4 individuals, compare for yourself and see which ones you have been watching.

Pm17 "Orca"
First sighted in June 2008

Pm21 "Freddy"
First sighted two days after "Orca" in June 2008

Pm46 "Bear Paw"
First sighted in July 2009

Pm 170 "Left Tip"
First sighted in November 2011

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A well known sperm whale group is visiting São Miguel

Today we had more great sightings of sperm whales and Atlantic spotted dolphins in both the morning and afternoon tours. A well known group of sperm whales has moved into the area, so we are starting to resight some individuals that we have seen here on several occasions in previous years. This group includes two young calves that are often very active at the surface. Throughout the day we have been seeing several breaches (jumping out of the water) and lobtailing (tail slapping) from these young whales. We also got to see some beautiful high tails from the adults as they go down on their deep feeding dives. Here are some photos from today's sightings...

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