Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Azorean marine biodiversity

Today we experienced a diverse range of Azorean marine life. We encountered common dolphins throughout the day and also tried to see some whales that our lookout onshore was seeing. In the morning it was most likely a fin whale that the lookout saw, far to the west of the island. In the afternoon he probably saw a humpback whale closer to our base in Ponta Delgada. Although we didn't manage to see either one of these baleen whales it is good to know that they are already arriving to the island to hopefully kick start another great spring season for seeing migrating baleen whales off São Miguel island. 

At least during our search for a whale we came across a lot of other types of marine life. In the morning we saw Portugeuse man-o-war (another great sign that spring is arriving) and some common seabirds (yellow-legged gulls and Cory's shearwaters) as well as some more rare ones (Iceland gull and great skua). To add to our list in the afternoon we also encountered a blue shark, a loggerhead turtle and a big school of fish (Atlantic chub mackerel) at the surface that we believe was being herded by an unseen predator underneath.

Loggerhead turtle

Blue shark

A bait ball of Atlantic chub mackerel

Atlantic chub mackerel swarming at the surface

Great skua

Yellow-legged gull

Our dolphin swimming clients this morning

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lots of splashes? Common and striped dolphins!

This morning we went out for whale watching trip and just after leaving the marina of Ponta Delgada we spotted our first species of the day: Common dolphin. A small pod, but they were very curious about our boat. They even approached to bowride with our boat! Was really good to be with them. We continued our trip and we spotted something ahead. We approached slowly but it was actually a tree trunk that looked like a sperm whale! Suddenly the lookout spotted a blow and by its form it was a baleen whale. We arrived to the area, but unfortunately it was not possible to see this whale. We decided then to leave the area and continue our trip. After a while we spotted some splashes. What a big surprise: Striped dolphins! They were very active on the surface and provided us with an authentic show of jumps and acrobatics. It was such a speechless moment!

Common dolphin

Striped dolphin

Striped dolphins performing a high jump!

Striped dolphins

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Our first pilot whales of 2017

Today was a great day for whale and dolphin watching. Throughout the day we encountered a total of 5 different species, starting with a sperm whale in the morning and continuing with bottlenose dolphins, striped dolphins, common dolphins and finally pilot whales in the afternoon. It was our first encounter this year with pilot whales and it was a nice large group of them that were resting calmly at the surface. Here are a few of our photos of these lovely pilot whales:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Summer day with common dolphins

Today we had a summer here in Sao Miguel. In our tour we saw common dolphins and we also visited Vila Franca islet and its birds.

 Common dolphins swimming in the surface


 Vila Franca Islet

 Some photos of Vila Franca islet

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sperm Whale far far away

Toda in the morning we went until the end of the island to see a sperm whale, it was a quick encounter as it dove quickly after we arrived and showed it tail when it when to catch its breakfast. We also saw a lonely bottlenose dolphin and several groups of common dolphins.
In the afternoon we saw different groups of common dolphins in very nice sunny day

 Sperm whale diving, it started just when we arrived

 Curving its back just before diving

                                                      View of the west part of our island

                                                Small vilage of Mosteiros and its islets

                                                              Common dolphins diving

Monday, February 20, 2017

Beautiful Sperm Whale

What an amazing morning we had in company of a big male sperm whale! We saw it resting, preparing for the big diving for around 15 minutes and then going in a deep dive putting its majestic tail very high.
We also spent some time with a curious group of common dolphins that were having a lot of fun surfing the waves!
In the afternoon we weren’t so lucky with the visibility so we only spot our dolphin friends

Some photos of the trip:

 Tail of the Sperm whale


The whale  in the surface

 The big blow of this male could be seen from far away

We can apreciate the big head this animals have, specialy the males

 Common dolphins surfacing

 All the dolphins together


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sperm whale, striped and common dolphins

This morning we had a fantastic day full of encounters! We started with our well-known common dolphins and then we found a group very active of striped dolphins. To finish our morning we observed our resident whale- the sperm whale!

 The sperm whale


Common dolphins bow riding

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Look! Dolphins and a curious turtle!

Another summer day in São Miguel island! Today we went out in one of our zodiacs and after leaving the marina of Ponta Delgada, we soon spotted some common dolphins! Just a few individuals a bit spread out. Maybe because it was so early they were still a "bit sleepy", so we continued our trip. We soon found another pod of common dolphins firstly they were feeding and we even saw some small fishes jumping out of the water. Then the dolphins changed the behaviour, the feeding time was over so  they became more curious about us and even performed some bow ridding! After saying goodbye to the dolphins, while we were speeding up, we spotted a small Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) very calm at the surface. We approached very carefully and we got her out of the water! It was a very special moment in which it was possible to observe very closely and even touch it! Meanwhile our lookout spotted a different species of dolphins and he guided us to the area. When we arrived we saw a dorsal fin. We approached and had a big surprise: Bottlenose dolphins! They were a bit spread out but we were able to see their beauty. We had not seen this species for almost a month and a half, so it was really good to be with them again! It was such an amazing morning! In our way back we passed near the islet of Vila Franca do Campo.

Common dolphin jumping while feeding
Loggerhead turtle resting at the surface

Bottlenose dolphin

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fin Whales around!!

 Today we had an amazing sunny morning that we spent two amazing Fin whales showed up!  Sea was very calm and even thought it wasn’t easy at the beginning we got to see them. It is always nice to see these enormous beautiful animals!
And of course our very dear friends the common dolphins spent some time playing around our boat!!

Some photos of our trip:

 Fin Whale


 The two of them swimming togheter

 Common dolphins

 The group of common dolphins was full of juveniles

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