Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 2013 sighting statistics

This past month we have had tours on the sea on only 10 days, mainly due to many days with rough sea conditions or poor visibility. Still, we did have several good days, including a few beautiful sunny days. Most importantly we have been sighing whales and dolphins this month. We have encountered 5 different species, not counting the orcas that our vigia sighted one day but we unforunately missed. The highlight of this month was the fin whales that have started to pass São Miguel earlier than usual. Over the next few months we can expect to see more fin whales as well as blue whales and sei whales as they migrate past to spend the summer months in their feeding grounds in the North Atlantic.
Species sighted this February:

 Map of our cetacean sightings

Cetus back in the water

Yesterday our catamaran "Cetus" returned to the water after some time on land for maintenance. We are ready for another great season of whale watching. The whales are out there, we are just waiting eagerly for conditions to improve. And in the last photo you can see that the weather is not the best.

Cetus with two of our vehicles 

The bow

Up in the air

On the way

Back in the water

On the way back to our marina

And the weather today....

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rough sea with many dolphins

Today we left the marina very excited because our vigias told us we had orcas off the coastline. Three boats (two zodiacs and our fiberglass boat) left in the morning and we headed straight towards the orcas. But after searching for a long time we had to leave the area without seeing any orcas. Instead we saw two groups of common dolphins jumping and bowriding all around our boats. So after all, it turned out to be a great day on the sea. Photos form today taken onboard Alfredo baleeiro and Song of whales:

A young calf by its mothers side

Common dolphins (Delphinus delphis)

Can you spot the dolphin?

Young whale watchers today

Our fiberglass boat
Big waves today! 

And good speed over the waves!

One of our zodiacs
Both our zodiacs on the way back to Ponta Delgada

Thursday, February 14, 2013

So many Fin whales and Common dolphins!

This morning we went out with our catamaran Cetus and we traveled to the south-east of the island. First, our vigia guided us to a group of common dolphins. There were small groups spread out in a large area. After the dolphins we headed to south to try to see some baleen whales that our lookout had sighted. The whales were feeding, and spent little time on the surface, but still we managed to see several fin whales and one  very close to our boat, it was magical! Photos from today:

Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus)

Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus)
Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Curious fin whales and lots of dolphins

Today we had a lovely day full of cetaceans, two species of dolphins and fin whales both in the morning and the afternoon. In the morning we were lucky to see common dolphin and striped dolphins as well as the whales. In the afternoon we were lucky to see the whales very close. We had a group of 4 fin whales sometimes swimming right up to the boat passing very close so we could see their bodies through the water. They were feeding and turning to their sides and showing us their pectoral fins like they were waving to the boat and our clients. I think today the photos will speak for themselves: 

Fin whale pec-waving

Two fin whales next to the boat

Fin whale coming straight towards our boat, 
you can see that the right side of the lower jaw is white (the left side is dark)

Video of one of the fin whales passing behind the boat

The whale in front of the boat, surprising us!

Our skipper watching the whale

One of the fin whales, and Santa Maria in the background

Fin whale
Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba)
Common dolphins (Delphinus delphis)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Curious common dolphins and a majestic fin whale!

Today we enjoyed a sunny day and a calm sea in São Miguel, Azores. This morning we went out with one of our zodiac boats and we traveled to the east of the island to try to view some dolphins that our vigia (onshore lookout) had spotted for us. We saw several small groups of common dolphins. In one group we saw a baby who swam close to his mother. The last group of dolphins we saw was a group of very curious adult dolphins. They followed close our boat and they were watching us as we were observing them (see underwater footage). Then, the vigia told us that he had seen a baleen whale. We drove to south, south-east and we got to see the whale very well. It was an adult fin whale! She was feeding and we could see her close. Following are some photos from today: 

Our zodiac leaving the marina

Video of a common dolphin looking into the camera

Common dolphins

Santa Maria island

Fin whale 
Fin whale 
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