Saturday, September 30, 2017

Another sperm whale day

Today was another great day for us to see sperm whales, as well as dolphins, off São Miguel Island. It feels like we are still in the middle of summer, with really great weather and sea conditions for whale and dolphin watching, as well as fantastic sightings. In the morning there was one sperm whale for us to see, who was always staying near the surface, going on shallow dives and coming up occasionally to breathe. This whale wasn't staying up for long, but with some patience (which is essential when it comes to wildlife watching) we were able to have several glimpses of this whale. During our morning tour we could also enjoy the company of a large group of bottlenose dolphins that was spread out over a large area with many seabirds. These dolphins were probably looking for food, but again with some patience we got some nice looks at them. Those that were on the zodiac boat got to see Atlantic spotted dolphins instead of bottlenose dolphins.

In the afternoon we returned to the sea, but this time we went to another area where we had a group of sperm whales awaiting us. To get there we made more miles than usual - we went off the coast of Mosteiros! First, on the way there we saw a spread group of bottlenose dolphins with their calves and a spectacular. From our catamaran "Cetus" we also had time for a quick stop to see some playful common dolphins. Finally, when we arrived to the family of sperm whales we could see them socialising. We saw a show of tails and playing behaviours that are not normally sighted!

Photos from the morning:

Bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphins

Sperm whale

Sperm whale breathing

Sperm whale head

Photos from the afternoon:

Bottlenose dolphins

Playful common dolphin

Common dolphin in crystal clear water

Sperm whales socialising

Sperm whales socialising

Sperm whales socialising

Sperm whales

Sperm whales diving

Friday, September 29, 2017

Mr. Liable around!

We started the day with some clouds in the sky but we take a chance of going out and it was rewarded in the end! In the morning trip the first specie that we saw was the common dolphin, a very small group but they were a bit curious with the boat. We continued our trip and we encountered specie of dolphin, this time it was a seasonal specie, the Atlantic spotted dolphin. Very big group with a lot of adults and juveniles and we also some mating behavior among them …working for the next generation of babies! The morning trip ended with a juvenile of a sperm whale.

In the afternoon we had some rain and also a lot of sun …typical Azorean weather. We started by seeing the most famous sperm whale in the Azores, Mr. Liable alongside with a female also known here as Marble …maybe a girlfriend, who knows. After that we went to an area with some Atlantic spotted dolphins very playful and very curious as well. In the end we had a pod of bottlenose dolphins with some babies to. 

The beaturiful tail of Mr. Liable

'Marvble' has already been seen with Mr Liable several times

Bottlenose dolphins were very active today

And many babies in the group!

   -Common dolphins were also very active and friendly with the boats:

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Feeding frenzy of dolphins, a sei whale and seabirds

This morning we went out on a fun wavy ocean to encounter a feeding frenzy of Atlantic spotted dolphins together with many Cory's shearwaters and even a whale. The whale was a sei whale, one of the several individuals that has been passing by São Miguel during the past weeks, and just like yesterday afternoon this whale seemed to be feeding. This meant that it was spending most of its time underwater, but when it did come up it was always among the dolphins and birds. There must have been a lot of small schooling fish beneath the surface that these animals were all feeding on. The afternoon tour seemed to be a continuation of the morning, as we encountered the same species and with the same behaviour. This time they were a bit closer to Ponta Delgada, as the sei whale was slowly travelling west while the dolphins were keeping it company. Over a large area we encountered several hundred Atlantic spotted dolphins so it was another fun filled tour with dolphins and a whale.

Photos from the morning:

 Sei whale

Atlantic spotted dolphins

Photos from the afternoon:

Playful Atlantic spotted dolphin (adult in the foreground, calf behind)

Sei whale surfacing

Sei whale

Juvenile Atlantic spotted dolphin leaping alongside us

Active Atlantic spotted dolphins

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Whale of a time

This morning we met Mr. Liable our most frequent seen sperm whale male. He went for a deep dive and presented us his famous fluke which is easily recognizable like a finger print. We also encountered common dolphins in the morning and afternoon. In the afternoon we went along the coast to the far east end of the island. On our way there we also observed a big group of Risso's dolphins coming quite close. Beautiful moments to see, from the baby to the white scared adults, all different age classes. Close to the edge of the rain we enjoyed a Sei Whale accompanied by Atlantic spotted dolphins. On our long ride back along the south coast we got scenic views of the south coast of São Miguel in the evening light, a close look at the islet of Vila Franca do Campo and even a rainbow behind us.

Photos from today:

Common Dolphin with it's colorful hourglass design

Risso's Dolphins

Risso's Dolphins Smile

Mr Liable Tail

Mr Liable
Sei Whale next to an Atlantic Spotted dolphin
Typical Sei Whale appearance, big straight blow at the same time visible as the fin

Young Atlantic Spotted Dolphin

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dolphin day today

The morning was dark but the sea conditions were excellent!! We started our day with a huge but very lazy group of bottlenose dolphins. These were in random displacement and with association to Cory's shearwater and Great shearwater. Then we went a little further, near to Mar da Prata, in search of a sperm whale that was sighted very early... but without success. While searching... we found a group of atlantic spotted dolphins and also a group of common dolphins who were very curious and having fun with our boats.

 In the afternoon  we saw big groups of common and spotted dolphins

Photos from today:

Common dolphins this morning
Great Shearwater

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Big groups of sperm whales and dolphins

The ocean has calmed down again so today we could go out to see some of the Azorean whales and dolphins. We started this day very well, with a big group of sperm whales. At first they were constantly going underwater, but with a bit of patience we managed to see a big part of the group at the surface. We were seeing their blows everywhere, even further in the distance, so we estimated there were about 20 sperm whales in the area! Among this family group we could also see some small calves. The morning tour ended nicely with another one of our resident species: common dolphins. As with the sperm whales, we could enjoy the company of a large group of these dolphins, and this group also included some newborn babies. The dolphins looked to have been finishing their breakfast, as we could see a lot of activity and many Cory's shearwaters that often feed together with the dolphins.

In the aftenoon we started with the dolphins and then went to the whales. This time we encountered both our resident common dolphins and the seasonal Atlantic spotted dolphins, both in really large groups. The sperm whales were like in the morning - a large group spread out over a large area and coming and going to the surface. 

Photos from today:

Sperm whales

Sperm whales heads surfacing to breathe

Sperm whale tail

Sperm whale dorsal

Watching common dolphins

Adult Atlantic spotted dolphin

Juvenile Atlantic spotted dolphin
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