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

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