Thursday, November 30, 2017

November 2017 sighting statistics

We are experiencing a quiet end to the month of November, with very few tours due the weather. However, the tours that we did have throughout the month were very good ones, and in total we encountered 9 different whale and dolphin species. Each tour was really different, with no particular species being sighted a lot more often than others. We had a few days with our resident sperm whales, a few with migratory sei whales and fin whales, a day with pilot whales and even an encounter with a humpback whale. Dolphins were also around in large numbers, including the Atlantic spotted dolphins who were probably enjoying the extended summer weather that we were lucky to have this year.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Rainbow Day :D

This morning started with a little bit of rain, but during the trip it stayed mostly dry and we even had some sun! First, we encountered some playful dolphins, the bottlenose dolphins that were swimming around the boat. They stayed around our boat for a while which gave us the opportunity to make some nice pictures. Afterwards we got information of the lookouts that there was a baleen whale in the area, a sei whale! However, the whale was playing hide and seek and after some time we had to cancel our search and had back to Ponta Delgada.
The afternoon trip started with some amazing weather (especially for this season) and with a lot of rainbows, which gave a beautiful effect. The dolphins enjoyed it too! We encountered the same group of dolphins as at the morning tour; bottlenose dolphins, although this time they were very active and even made some amazing jumps! After this amazing show we went further up south to find a sei whale that was spotted by our lookout. However, this individual was also good in the game hide and seek, which made it very difficult to find the animal. Again, we had to cancel our search and headed back to Ponta Delgada. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Risso's dolphins

This morning we went out for a whale watching trip in our catamaran Cetus! The conditions were not the best, we had some wind blowing strong from north-east and so the ocean was a bit ruff, still we tried our luck and it was worth it. We started the trip moving to the west of the island (in the south coast) looking for some dolphins that our lookout spotted before but after reaching the area we had no luck finding them. We decided then to leave and travel to the east part. When we passed by a fishing boat we saw some dorsal fins and..  a nice group of Risso's dolphins. Adults, sub-adults and even some juveniles all together and this time they were not shy at all. They passed quite close to our boat and we all saw the scars and how gorgeous this animals can be! Today only one species, but a speechless sighting. 

Photos from today:

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Sei whales and Risso's dolphins

This morning we saw baleen whales again! They were sei whales, and we could confirm there were at least two of them in the area. It's been really nice this autumn season, we have been seeing quite a few sei whales and we hope that the sightings will continue like this throughout the winter. We also encountered a group of Risso's dolphins on our morning tour today. They were very nice to watch as they were staying up for long periods between their dives and they were very calm at the surface. It was another nice November tour to add to our other very successful ones this month.

Photos from today:

Risso's dolphin

Risso's dolphins

Sei whale dorsal

Sei whale surfacing

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Full menu

A lot of activity today at the sea! During the morning we started with very good news from our lookout. There was a humpbackwhale very close to the coast! When we got to the area we started to look for the whale, and after some minutes a blow appeared out of nowhere but unfortunately it was impossible to see the whale again. In the same area  also a few common dolphins showed up. We continued our trip and by far away we could see a sperm whale showing us its tail …and as we all know, that normally means goodbye. At the end of the trip a sei whale appeared very close to our boat but once again the whale was not in the mood to show herself. Very shy animals this morning!

In the afternoon we returned to the sea to have another great tour seeing dolphins and whales. We started with a group of common dolphins close to shore, who seemed to be enjoying surfing the waves. After some time with them we set out offshore where our lookout had seen some whale blows. After some travelling to our luck we spotted the blows of some sperm whales at the surface. In the end we encountered 5 sperm whales together. The final surprise of the day was that we got to see one of these whales breach (jump out of the water). What a great day!

Photos from today:

Common dolphins

2 sperm whales at the surface

Sperm whale breach! We were very lucky in the afternoon tour

Juvenile Northern gannet

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sei whales and a lot of dolphins

This morning we had another great whale and dolphin watching tour with sightings of 4 different cetacean species. We started with a surprise encounter with a couple of shy Risso's dolphins. We came across these resident dolphins by chance while we were travelling, not long after leaving the marina. These dolphins weren't so interested in us, so we continued our journey to an area where our lookout had seen some large whale blows. We didn't have to wait long to see two big sei whales - the third largest animal species in the world! They were travelling and surfacing frequently so that we could follow their footprints and see them well. Next we had Atlantic spotted dolphins to see. It was a very large and active group with a lot of small babies. It's nice to still have them in such large groups at this time of the year. Just when we thought we had seen it all we still had a really big group of bottlenose dolphins to see. There were many spread out over a large area and they seemed to be feeding. It was a nice way to end our tour before heading back to the marina with smiles on our faces.

Photos from today:

Sei whale surfacing

Sei whale dorsal

Sei whale

The face of a young Atlantic spotted dolphin

Two adult Atlantic spotted dolphins

A very active Atlantic spotted dolphin

Atlantic spotted dolphin - mother and calf

Bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphin ID photo - we can recognise each individual by their unique dorsal fin marks

Friday, November 17, 2017

Pilot whales and baleen whales!!

This morning the weather conditions were really good and soon we discovered that it was a good decision to try our luck today. After leaving the harbour our lookout spotted something that is not so common to see in this season of the year: pilot whales! Around 30 animals and even some calves! There was as also a big male (with a large dorsal fin!). It was a really good encounter and we were very lucky to see this species in the middle of November. After leaving the pilot whale area the lookout guided us to an area where he spotted some blows. When we arrived we spotted some blows, but when we were trying to approach the whale just dove. This happened several times but we managed to identify the species: sei whale! Lot's of footprints but just one blow when surfacing. When we finally decided to leave the area, suddenly two big blows! Two fin whales just appeared and we saw them before returned back to Ponta Delgada.

In the afternoon trip, the conditions were still very good and we quickly manage to saw a lone bottlenose dolphin which is not usual to see as they are very social animals. We also encountered pilot whales again in the afternoon, which may have been the same group that we saw in the morning, our photos will be able to tell us this later. The final surprise for the afternoon tour was a combination of Atlantic spotted dolphins and sei whales in the same area. There were also a lot of birds here and a lot of activity, so they were probably all feeding in this large area. Just like in the morning, some patience was needed to see the whales, but after a while we did get to see their blows and eventually also some of their bodies as they came to the surface. It was a real delight to see the active Atlantic spotted dolphins inbetween, while we were waiting for the 2 or 3 sei whales to surface.

Photos from the morning:

Pilot whales logging

Pilot whales surfacing. Notice the broad dorsal fin of the male

Pilot whales up close

Fin whale - this morning they were very difficult to watch so this is the best shot we got!

A client's review about today's morning trip

Photos from the afternoon:

Solitary bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphin face

Pilot whales

Pilot whales

2 male pilot whales, recognisable by their wide dorsal fins

Atlantic spotted dolphins

Watching Atlantic spotted dolphins from the bow of our catamaran

The distinct pointy fin of a sei whale

Sei whale

Sei whale blow in the beautiful soft light at the end of the afternoon

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A shy fin whale and playful dolphins

Today the sun is shinning strong here in São Miguel and we enjoyed the morning of this perfect day out on the ocean on our catamaran. It didn't take long before we came across our first dolphins of the tour - a small but curious group of common dolphins that were playing around the front of our boat. After enjoying their company for a while we continued further to watch a larger group of bottlenose dolphins. There were many of them, very spread out so that everywhere we looked we could see their splashes. Not long after arriving our captain spotted a larger spash, which turned out to be a whale! It was an exciting moment as we didn't know this whale was in the area of the dolphins. It was a young fin whale that we could see up for a few breaths, then it went down and left a trail of footprints at the surface. We waited and waited for the whale to return to the surface but it disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. Nevertheless we enjoyed groups of bottlenose dolphins spread out for a bit longer before heading back to land at the end of the morning. 

Photos from today:

A beautiful morning out on our catamaran

Common dolphin

Common dolphin

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphin

Fin whale back

Fin whale dorsal fin
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