Sunday, November 30, 2014

November 2014 sighting statistics

This past month has been all about our resident species: sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and Risso's dolphins. we have encountered at least one of these species during all of our tours in November. On the days that we did manage to get out on the water we were lucky to have some really good weather with plenty of sunshine. We have had a great start to the winter whale watching season and we are looking forward to more wonderful tours during the festive season.

November sighting frequencies:

Risso's dolphins and common dolphins

This morning we had some fantastic encounters with Risso's dolphins and common dolphins. We had many individuals of both species spread out across a large area and there were even times that their areas were overlapping so that we got to see mixed groups of both species. We could really see the differences in the appearance of the two - Risso's dolphins are larger, very white and have a rounded head with no prominent beak whereas the smaller common dolphins have yellow sides and a long beak. We could also observe the different types of behaviour of these two species - the Risso's dolphins were calmer and going on deep dives to feed whereas the common dolphins were more curious and playful towards us and we saw them chasing fish right at the surface. There were also some sperm whales lurking out there somewhere as our lookout on land had spotted them, however we never did end up finding them from aboard the boat. Nevertheless it was a very nice morning with the Risso's dolphins and common dolphins.

The first group of Risso's dolphins we encountered calmly surfacing together

Common dolphin surfacing in a calm blue ocean

Common dolphin leaping out of the water with a mouth full of fish

Risso's dolphins

Four Risso's dolphins in a row

Risso's dolphins raising their flukes to start a dive

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Today we had a morning of sperm whales, and we started with two adults that dived together raising their tails high out of the water (perfect for photos). We did not have wait long for the next whale to surface. We stayed some time with a smaller female that slowly came closer to us and we could see her very well and hear her blow. Then, surprise! A small new born calf popped up by her side. The little calf stayed between us and the mother maybe being curious as most babies are. Our lookout Roberto had seen the calf earlier jumping and talked on the radio with us about the baby, so we named it after him: Roberto. Soon the mother dived as well, the calf stayed a bit with us and after a few minutes Roberto started to swim away from us and we left him alone to see some dolphins. We found a great group of bottlenose dolphins and later common dolphins as well. What a fantastic morning on the sea.

Video of the common dolphins bowriding

Photos from today:

Two sperm whales diving

Sperm whale adult with a newborn baby we have named "Roberto"

Roberto - the baby sperm whale

Bottlenose dolphins


Common dolphin looking at the boat

Some love :)

A perfect morning out on the ocean

Monday, November 24, 2014

The taste of the Atlantic

Dolphins are fun, that is for sure! Today we enjoyed the energy of common dolphin babies all around us. They were not super curious and stayed a little bit away from us and checking us out from a distant. but slowly they came closer and closer and started to swim under our boat and looking up at us so that we could see their ghost-like shadows below. We got to see a few jumps too, but then a cargo ship passed by and according to the dolphins - the big boat is more fun! They all took of to bowride the big one and we got to see even more jumps. The two zodiacs we had on the sea today split up and one went searching for animals offshore while the other one tried inshore. We were both lucky in different ways, those that went offshore passed by a loggerhead turtle, but it dived so we couldn't stop and see it. The inshore boat came across a group of bottlenose dolphins. But something we all got was a free shower from the Atlantic ocean as the wind was blowing sea spray aboard and we got pretty wet. 

A baby common dolphin passing just behind the zodiac Cafre

In a silver sea

Where are the dolphins going? To the big boat!

Cargo ship Furnas

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A nice way to spend a sunny Saturday morning

This morning we went out on our catamaran and enjoyed a nice ride whilst observing brightly lit views of the south coast of São Miguel island. We spent this nice sunny morning in the company of three different groups of our resident common dolphins. In the nice light we could really see the characteristic yellow colour that these dolphins have on their sides, especially when they came close to our boat to check us out. The dolphins really seemed to enjoy diving around our boat and every time they resurfaced it was always right next to us. On our way back into Ponta Delgada we traveled close to shore so we could observe the rugged volcanic coastline and the small village of Rocha da Relva.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Our resident dolphins and rainbows

Today we had another wonderful morning out on the ocean with many great moments. Like yesterday the morning was made more colourful by the presence of many rainbows, starting from the moment we left Ponta Delgada marina. The rainbows came and went throughout all our encounters, starting with common dolphins, following with bottlenose dolphins and ending with Risso's dolphins. For most people aboard the Risso's dolphin encounter was the most special of the morning. We lucky that they were not being as shy as usual. Actually it was quite the opposite, as they stayed around our boat and seemed to be checking us out. This was also the moment that we had the best and brightest rainbows and the ocean was very calm. The conditions made for some very magical moments that we will not forget.

Photos from this morning:

Leaving Ponta Delgada aboard our catamaran "Cetus"

Watching common dolphins from the bow

One of our young dolphin watchers looking down at common dolphins from the bow

Bottlenose dolphin wave surfing

 A fishing boat and many birds around the bottlenose dolphins - all going after the same fish

A very white and very adult Risso's dolphin

A dark juvenile Risso's dolphin (over time they become white)

A Risso's dolphin and a faint rainbow over Vila franca do Campo

The beautiful markings on the Risso's dolphins help us to identify the individuals

A playful Risso's dolphin jumping

The final rainbow over the Risso's dolphins
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