Thursday, October 5, 2017

A feeding frenzy in the morning followed by blue whales and a famous sperm whale

Today we encountered a great variety of marine life off São Miguel Island. In the morning we started with a small group of Risso's dolphins not far from the marina. A bit further out we had a large feeding group of Atlantic spotted dolphins together with a sei whale. We could often see the dolphins and the whale together, in fact the dolphins seemed to be enjoying riding the wave created in front of the whale every time it surfaced. In this area we could also see a lot of active seabirds (mostly Cory's shearwaters, but also great shearwaters and Manx shearwaters) which is a good indication that there was some feeding going on here. There were also fishing boats in the area and we could smell the fish, so its a good sign that there was plenty of fish for all. Those that were on the dolphin swimming tour in the morning got to swim with common dolphins, so a 4th cetacean species for the morning tours!

We started our afternoon in the company of a lovely pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins and as usual they were jumping, bowriding and surfing the waves of the boat. It's never a boring trip with these dolphins as they really like to play with the waves created by boats. A group of bottlenose dolphins was also spotted by one of our smaller boats in the afternoon. We continued our trip and we saw a big blow coming out of the water. In the beginning weren't sure about the species, but after a few minutes we could confirm that it was the biggest animal that ever lived on the planet...a blue whale! Actually we realised later that it was not one, but two blue whales. We couldn't believe our luck and we were as surprised as the clients because it isn't common to see this animal at this time of the year here (normaly we see them in the spring time). It's probably that they are returning to warmer waters after spending the summer in the northern colder waters. After this big surprise the end of the trip couldn't be better, we also saw our most famous sperm whale (Mr Liable) showing us his tail!

Photos from the morning:

Subadult Risso's dolphin

Adult Risso's dolphin

Atlantic spotted dolphin

Sei whale surfacing, with an Atlantic spotted dolphin leaping in front of its head

Sei whale

Sei whale surfacing

Cory's shearwaters

Atlantic spotted dolphin

Photos from the afternoon:

Blue whale surfacing high

Blue whale blow

Blue whale

Approaching the sperm whale "Mr Liable"

Mr Liable the sperm whale arching his back to dive

Mr Liable's tail

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