Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wild dolphins smiling at us

Today we had a wild and beautiful sea full of the wild dolphins whose company we enjoy so much, both common dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins. Playful, bowriding and jumping next to our boats showing us their true smiles. The whales were unfortunaly not around today but that's how it is working with wildlife. 

Mother and calf surfacing together,
the calves stay close to their mothers for at least one year as they drink milk and need protection,
and the bond between mother and baby is very strong

Mother and calf surfacing together

A common dolphin looking at us :)

Spotted dolphins jumping next to our catamaran "Cetus"

Friday, August 30, 2013

Bryde's whale and sperm whales

Today we have another Bryde's whale (we have had many sightings this summer) and sperm whales in the area. In the morning the Bryde's whale was feeding together with Atlantic spotted dolphins and Cory's shearwaters, probably on mackerel, something which we have also seen a lot of this summer. The sperm whales were a bit further offshore as this species typically is, as they feed in deeper waters on squid. After a few minutes on the surface we saw two sperm whales raise their tails to begin their deep feeding dives. Atlantic spotted dolphins filled in the rest of the tour and the clients on our smaller boats this morning also had the chance to see bottlenose dolphins. In the afternoon we encountered sperm whales again as well as bottlenose dolphins. Some of our clients were lucky to see a sperm whale breaching very close to their boat. In total we encountered 7 different sperm whales in the afternoon, including 1 calf and a juvenile.

Bryde's whale

Sperm whales diving in the morning

Spotted dolphins

A spotted dolphin

A sperm whale from the afternoon

Bottlenose dolphins from the afternoon

Watching bottlenose dolphins from the catamaran

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bryde's whales are still around

This morning started off with a chase to the end of the island to catch with with 2 Bryde's whales (a mother and calf) that had been spotted there from the coast. The whales were very far but we took the risk in taking the long trip to try to see them. Unfortunately by the time we arrived to the area the whales were nowhere to be found and only one blow was spotted before we had to start making our way back. Luckily our dolphin friends saved the day and made everybody happy on the way back. We encountered groups of common dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. In the afternoon the dolphins were still there to great us and we had some more great watching and swimming for the rest of the day.

Bottlenose dolphin calf next to its mother

Bottlenose dolphins

Common dolphin

Bottlenose dolphin

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A beautiful dolphin day in the Azores

Today was another perfect summer's day full of dolphins everywhere! In the morning we had bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins and our swimmers were able to swim with all three species. In the afternoon some sperm whales were spotted from the coastline. They were seen to be breaching but unfortantely they were too far away for us to reach them so we ended up re-encountering the bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins. A few people on one of our smaller boats also had a brief look at a devil ray while they were travelling.

Photos from today:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A crystal clear blue ocean full of dolphins

Today was one of those perfect days where the water is a bright blue colour and clear to more than 10 m down. These conditions are perfect for watching dolphins and that is just what we had today. We had groups of common dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins and bottlenose dolphins keeping us company throughout the day. As usual the playful dolphins were keen to bowride in front of our boats and were curiously looking up at us (see the video below). As in many previous tours today we got to see plenty of feeding behaviour together with Cory's shearwater, great shearwaters, yellow-legged gulls and yellofin tuna.

For the best quality watch the video in youtube and select the highest quality

Photos from the morning:

Our catamaran "Cetus"

Bottlenose dolphins bowriding in front of our catamaran

Cory's shearwaters feeding together with common dolphins

Juvenile Atlantic spotted dolphin bowriding and looking up at our boat

Monday, August 26, 2013

Swimming with a devil ray

Today we had swimming tours during the morning and the afternoon. This is another activity that is possible to do with us. During the morning we swam with playful common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. In the afternoon our tour provided us with a rare encounter - a sicklefin devil ray. The ray approached the swimmers without caution providing us with a extroadinary underwater experience. We were also fortunate to swim with an energetic pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins and tuna (according to one of our costumers - Christina Mosconas).

Today´s post highlights encounters with three dolphin species and the devil ray which is just part of the diverse marine life that surrounds the waters of the Azores Archipelgo.

Futurismo would like to thank Christina Mosconas for sharing her pictures.

Photos from the afternoon:

A Swimmer with the sicklefin devil ray 

 sicklefin devil ray and a pilot fish

 sicklefin devil ray

Pilot fish leading the sicklefin devil ray

 Atlantic spotted dolphins

Atlantic spotted dolphin looking at one of our swimmers

Dolphin watching

Today has been a great day on the sea full of dolphins. In the morning we encountered 3 species: common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins. In the end the bottlenose dolphins joined up with the Atlantic spotted dolphins and we had the two species bowriding side by side in front of our catamaran. We could all see the big size difference between the bottlenose dolphins (3.5-4 m) and Atlantic spotted dolphins (3.2 m). In the afternoon we resighted the Atlantic spotted dolphins and common dolphins and both our observation boat and swimming boats got to enjoy their company while they were feeding together with Cory's shearwaters. Those that were swimming also had the lucky and rare chance to swim with a devil ray (check back later for a blog post on this encounter which will include underwater images taken by a client aboard).

Photos from today:

Common dolphin - our first sighting of the day

Photos of dolphin watching from our catamaran

Atlantic spotted dolphins

Our boat in the morning with bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphin calf jumping next to its mother

Baby face (bottlenose dolphins)

Newborn bottlenose dolphin calf (the stripes are fetal folds)

Face to face with a large bottlenose dolphin

Atlantic spotted dolphin (the adult is spotted, the juvenile is grey)

2 bottlenose dolphins with a Atlantic spotted dolphin in front (note the size difference)

A leaping Atlantic spotted dolphin in the afternoon

A leaping Atlantic spotted dolphin in the afternoon

Cory's shearwaters - seen during a feeding frenzy with common dolphins in the afternoon

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Breaching beaked whales

This afternoon we had an extremely rare encounter with beaked whales. Beaked whales are very shy and elusive animals that we know very little about because they spend very little time at the surface (about 8% of their lives) and a lot of time underwater on very deep dives. Beaked whales are known to usually avoid boats and are very difficult to have even a small glimpse of. However this afternoon we were very lucky to observe 3 very social beaked whales (2 adults and a juvenile) from aboard our catamaran. The whales were breaching (jumping out of the water) and we were able to get some nice photos and video footage of this rare event (see below). From our photos we could later confirm that the species was the Sowerby's beaked whale.

The beaked whales were not our only sighting of the day. In the afternoon we also encountered common dolphins and a very social group of bottlenose dolphins that were great for our swimming tour. In the morning we encountered a large male sperm whale and mixed groups of bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins that were observed to be feeding together with bluefin tuna and hundreds of seabirds.

Photos from the morning:

One of our boats watching a male sperm whale

Large male sperm whale with a big head

Watching a juvenile Atlantic spotted dolphin from our catamaran

Bottlenose dolphin

Video from the afternoon - beaked whales breaching:

Photos from the afternoon:

Beaked whale breaching

Beaked whale breaching

2 of the 3 beaked whales we saw

Bottlenose dolphin
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