Friday, August 31, 2018

Amazing sightings today!

It looks like summer is getting to an end.. but with amazing sightings!

In the morning we sighted very big groups of bottlenose dolphins and of common dolphins. Both full of babies! And after having the four seasons in half an hour (sun, wind, waves and heavy rain), we found the sperm whales with a huge sun shining in the blue sky! It was the same group which we saw yesterday!

In the afternoon, the four resident species in a fantastic tour. We started with common dolphins, bottlenose (very active), and heading to the area of whales, we found Risso’s dolphins! So things we learned from Rafa’s presentation on Wednesday were more than useful!

After waiting for a while, on the way back to Ponta Delgada, the sperm whales surprised us to finish this amazing afternoon. So good to be out at sea in days like today!

Photos by Mariana Silva

A family of bottlenose dolphins

Watching bottlenose dolphin

Family of sperm whales

Sperm whales "Green Family"

Risso's dolphin

Photos by Laura González

Common dolphin

Sperm whale spyhopping

Well marked dorsal fin sperm whale

Swimming with dolphins

Thursday, August 30, 2018

More sperm whales...some of the old friends!

Finally the Sperm Whales came closer, this time we found them 6 nautical miles out of Ponta Delgada and we were able to recognize members from the green group as they showed us their flukes before they went for a deep dive in search of squids. 

We observed Dilys twice and also group of 2 with a calf from the distance, then the calf closer and later on the baby together with Sumo Wrestler, another well-known individual

On our way back we found a nice group of Common Dolphins to spend some time with them, while the ones doing swimming with dolphins enjoyed the Atlantic Spotted dolphins
In the afternoon we went back to the “sperm whale zone” where we found again several individuals like a female with a calf in the distance while we watched a juvenile swimming faster and then showing its fluke and later Dilys again.

After a short travel we watched more familiar individuals in a big group of Bottlenose Dolphins, having a look at us from the water perspective. Happy faces all around from pleased people on board to the ones of the dolphins which sure are much happier in the wild.

Photos Rafael Martins

Dolphin jumping

Atlantic spotted dolphins

Sperm whale tail

Photos by Mariana Silva

Sperm whale "Sumo Wrestler" with baby

Sperm whale "Dilys" tail 

Common dolphin

Baby Bottlenose dolphin

In Pico Island we had a windy day in the morning. We saw Pilot whales. There where many males in the group. They are quite big, like the one in the photo. After we found a beautiful group of sperm whales.

Photos by Rui Santos

Pilot whale

Sperm whale diving

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Sperm whales with babies in São Miguel and more pilot whales in Pico

Do you know that the Azores are great for baby sperm whales? The last few days prove it! 

Today we have seen a family of sperm whales, with several animals in the area, and of course, with babies! In the morning our lookout found the sperm whales breaching, and when we arrived, they were resting calm on the surface.  In the afternoon, we have the opportunity to see a very small animal, probably born some days ago! It made us thought about the “Baby boom” day recorded a couple of years ago. If you didn’t see it yet, go for it!

Photos by Mariana Silva

Sperm Whale with calf

We also saw a huge and friendly group of bottlenose dolphins and some common dolphins as well. In the afternoon, while waiting for the sperm whales to come up to the surface, two breachings were seen far on the distance. Northern bottlenose whales confirmed with our photos!

Baby bottlenose dolphin

Northern bottlenose whale jumping

Common dolphins

In Pico Island, the sea was wavy but it was not a problem for us to see 4 different species. 

We saw our resident species: common dolphins

On our trip today, we also saw pilot whales and spotted dolphins and striped dolphins, three species which visit the Azores mainly during the summer.

Photos by Rui Santos

Pilot whale

Watching Spotted dolphin jumping

Common dolphins surfing the waves

Striped dolphins

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

6 species of cetaceans sighted in São Miguel Island!

Some animals of today's tours where far away but we don't mind since we love their company so much. We had 6 species, all of them odontoceti. 

Sperm whales, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, risso's dolphins, pilot whales and atlantic spotted dolphins. 

Photos by Rafael Martins

Common dolphin

Common dolphin close to the shore

Flying fish

Bottlenose dolphin jumping

Bottlenose dolphins

Common dolphins

The sperm whales were sighted by all of our boats and in the afternoon our resident male sperm whale, Mr. Liable, was there again to show us its majestic tail.

Photos by Mariana Silva

Mr. Liable tail 

Pilot whale

Risso's dolphin shows its belly

Abnormally white spotted dolphin in Pico Island

Several days ago we found one Atlantic spotted dolphin near the coastline of Pico Island with white spots that caught our attention.

This is most likely one individual that suffers from Piebaldism, one disease associated with individuals being more white than usual, a real similar phenomenon to Albinism. As you may know, this is a condition found on humans or animals that show really white skin and red eyes. Cetaceans are different from human beings and that is why in this particular, Atlantic spotted dolphin, we can see several white marks and really dark ones as well (contrasts between dark and white marks), this is why we think this might be Piebaldism.

Unfortunately, we cannot collect genetic material from this dolphin, and that is also the reason we cannot know for sure the specific condition. Other cetacean species have been described as abnormally white for example Orcas or Humpback whales. Also, who knows if the famous story about "Moby-Dick" written by HermanMelville is also based on an abnormally white individual? 

In the Azores the first sighting of an abnormal white cetacean was in 1997 by Roland Seitre, also one Atlantic spotted dolphin, and some other sightings have been registered on the past decade. These events lead our marine biologist Rui Santos to publish one article with the title "Anomalously White Atlantic Spotted Dolphins (Stenella frontalis, Cuvier, 1892) Off the Azores". It was published in 2016 in the  "Aquatic Mammals” journal from the (EAAM) - The European Association for Aquatic Mammals and you can read the full article here

Written by Rui Santos

Monday, August 27, 2018

More sperm whale breaches!

Today in São Miguel Island we had the 4 seasons in one day and two completely different tours: our zodiac boats saw different things than the catamarans. In the morning, with the zodiacs, we saw our great resident sperm whale ... Mr. Liable and we could find a group of bottlenose dolphins with babies. In the afternoon we went further, north coast. We saw a family of at least 12 sperm whales socializing. Before we left, one decided to jump 4 times in the farewell form. Coming to the sea gives us the possibility of having these beautiful surprises.

Photos by Mariana Silva

Sperm whale breaching

Sperm whale breaching

Sperm whale breaching

Sperm whale "Mr. Liable"

In the catamarans, we had a great day for bottlenose dolphins who were being very social, curious and playful. We got to see many jumps, rolling in the water, faces out if the water and white bellies. We also had common dolphins throughout the day which were just as beautiful and accompanied by many small calves.

Photos by Rafael Martins

Swimming with bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphin jumping

Family of bottlenose dolphins

In Pico Island, we had a beautiful swimming with dolphins day! We saw bottlenose dolphins and then a big group of common dolphins with more than 300 individuals and that group was amazing to swim with. The striped dolphins also showed up just to say hi to our boats. On our way home we saw Sowerby's beaked whales, 6 of them.

Photos by Rui santos

Sowerby beaked whales

Striped dolfins

Bottlenose dolphins

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Great encounters with Sperm whales, pilot whales and lot of dolphins

Today we had some really great encounters with our resident sperm whales and bottlenose dolphins.

The sperm whales were socializing throughout the day and we could see a group of at least 20 individuals both in the morning and in the afternoon. There were many juveniles in the group, and even some calves, including a newborn. We could see some really interesting behaviors like them rolling around in the water, showing tail tips and raising their heads out of the water (spy-hopping).

In the afternoon some of us were even lucky enough to see a juvenile sperm whale jumping out of the water (breaching) several times. 

Photos by Laura González

Sperm whale breaching 

Sperm whale breaching 

Sperm whales were socializing 

The bottlenose dolphins were also very social today, as they often are. We had a nice group that was often approaching our boat and our swimmers got to enjoy them underwater too.

Photos by Rafael Martins

Botllenose dolphin

Botllenose dolphin

Botllenose dolphins jumping

Swimming with Botllenose dolphins

In Pico Island, it was a very interesting day. The sea continues fantastic. 

We started the day in the best way with a male sperm whale showing his high tail. Then we went to see a group of common dolphins, who really liked our presence. 

Then we went back to try to see the sperm whale again. And one hour and 15 minutes after, we could see him to the surface. 

Returning home we had a group of Risso's dolphins

In the afternoon we had with a group of pilot whales that had several calves that showed themselves very well. And the high point of the afternoon it was a group of several males of Sowerby's beaked whales. It was possible to see the only two teeth the males have.

Photos by Rui Santos

Sowerby's beaked whale

Sperm whale tail

Pilot whales

Risso's dolphins

Common dolphin

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