Monday, December 31, 2018

The Best Moments of the Year

2018 was an incredible year full of experiences and whale sightings. We captured killer whales, blue whales, turtles, dolphins, even a whale shark and much much more. So many memories we summarized in a 3 minutes 30 seconds video for the Azores lovers. We hope you enjoy it :)

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Time for the sperm whales!

This thursday morning, despite the wind and some ripples, we had a good trip! We started the trip with one of our four resident species, the common dolphins feeding and socializing with some seagulls flying around. 

Common dolphins

Larus michahellis

Then we went to an area where our lookout spotted some sperm whales. We reached them and took these very nice pictures from the surface. We saw at least four individuals! During our tour we also saw two loggerhead turtles :)

Sperm whales

Yellow legged seagull

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A morning Risso's and Common Dolphins

Today still in Christmas mood, we had a very good morning! We started our trip with a nice  group of risso's dolphins, they were very calm and approaching the boat. Through the photo ID we were able to identify that it was a resident risso's dolphin family that we know very well.

Risso's dolphins near our boat

Then our lookouts spotted a group of  common dolphins, and after getting there we got to enjoy them being very active!

Observing a common dolphin

Before we finished our trip, we went to an area where one of our lookouts spotted a blow, we saw a spalsh but we couldn't identify what it was. After that, we started our return to Ponta Delgada.

We could see Santa Maria Island today!

The eastern extreme of our island

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve morning with Bottlenose dolphins!

We enjoyed this Christmas Eve morning out on the ocean enjoying the views of the island, followed by an encounter with our resident bottlenose dolphins. 

Bottlenose dolphins

It was a really great group of at least 50 dolphins, altogether in tight formation. They were approaching really close to the boat and coming up high out of the water so that we got to see them well. It took a while to find these beautiful dolphins, but in the end it was well worth the effort.


Big group of bottlenose dolphins

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Bottlenose dolphins in a wintry day

Finally, after a week not being able to go to the sea due to the weather conditions, we enjoyed a sunny wintery day, a bit cold and wavy, but still with an intense blue ocean. 

After a long search we managed to find a group of bottlenose dolphins, they were spread out and not very curious about us, but we could enjoy some of their jumps and bowriding.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Meteorology in the Azorean Archipelago

Within the ongoing low season training program of Futurismo, on the 6th the and 7th of December 2018 we learnt about climatic variations and meteorology in the Azorean Archipelago, thanks to the Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (IPMA).

In the first day Fernanda Silva Carvalho taught us about climate variations. She showed us the reference situation of our climate, which is calculated over 30 years, and compared that to the current one, which is totally influenced by anthropogenic activity. She showed us that the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) measured along the years here in the Azores, has been rising progressively. This trend is global and contributes to the global warming rising temperatures, which at local scale will decrease the rain in several places. With the existing anthropogenic pressure, this increase in temperatures will hardly return to their anterior balanced values. Also, we understood that air temperature is not directly dependent on the intensity of the sun rays but instead, on earth’s radiation. Thus, even though the temperatures are not so high outside make sure you protect your skin from the strong UV sun rays, unnoticeable for our body temperature sensors.

In the second day Diamantino Henriques helped us to understand local weather forecast maps. We learnt about the strong influence that the Azores High Pressure has on our local weather (and its sudden changes!) and as well in the entire North Atlantic; as well as the influence of the different types of fronts on the weather charts. He taught us how these forecast maps are created, and explained the different kind of models and limitations that exist to analyse the climatic variables. In the IPMA here in Ponta Delgada, high resolution weather forecast models are run for the Azores. They use parameters such as rain, temperature, wind or atmospheric pressure among others to create regional reliable 48h forecasts. Furthermore, they are the responsible to create the navigation warnings and alerts, considering meteorological and sea conditions. That’s something we really appreciate, because going out to the sea is our daily routine!

Finally, we still got to see the Forecast Station, where they make the predictions for the entire archipelago, beside the University and the Observatório Afonso Chaves.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Sperm whale "Mr. Liable" found!

Today we had a beautiful day with the sun shining above our heads and the atlantic ocean full of life surrounding us!

Common dolphins 

As we made our way up to the common dolphins spotted by the lookout we sighted some dorsal fins emerging from the water. It was a small pod of risso's dolphins swimming near some tradicional squid fishing boats. 

A little bit further east we started seeing the dorsal fins of some dispersed common dolphins and more ahead of them we found the rest of the group, that came to us and stayed bowriding the front of our catamaran all together, letting us see them really well. 

To finish our trip we headed to the area where our spotter sighted a sperm whale. As we arrived there we tried our hydrophone to search for the whale echolocating clicks and so to confirm its presence near us. Finally we saw it's blow and got a little bit closer to see this whale and when it dived to go foraging we were able to recognize that it was Mr.Liable, a resident sperm whale of our waters.

Sperm whale "Mr. Liable" diving

"Mr. Liable blowing"

Risso's dolphin

Our team using the hydrophone

Sperm whale diving

Group of common dolphins

Common dolphins

Time to organize the data

Sperm whale diving

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Common dolphins and spread out Risso's dolphins

Today was a wavy day out on the ocean, aboard two of our zodiac boats. We enjoyed the first part of the morning in the company of a nice group of common dolphins. We got to see them very well as they were surfing the waves and bowriding our boats. 

Next we went towards the east where we found a couple of Risso's dolphins. First we found a juvenile and a bit further out an adult. There were probably more Risso's dolphins around, maybe a bit spread out across a larger area.

Photos by Rui Santos

Common dolphin bowriding next to us

Common dolphins

Common dolphins

Juvenile risso's dolphin

Friday, December 7, 2018

A sunny day with common dolphins

Today we had a sunny day and various small groups of common dolphins with us. 

In the morning these groups weren't far away from shore so our path to meet them was made along the coastline giving us also the opportunity to enjoy and wander through the natural beauty of the island. 

As a curious and playful species, these common dolphins approached the boat to bowride the waves produced by our movement on the water, so we saw them pretty well from close sight as they went along with us for a while. Some of the juveniles in one of the groups found were jumping on their side and splashing against the water.

On both ways we also saw multiple groups of marine birds feeding on the ocean.

Photos by Rui Santos 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

False killer whales along with bottlenose dolphins in the Azores

What a beautiful December morning!

Our trip today was wonderful. We started the day with a huge group of false killer whales! This year we didn't see them a lot, so every time with them is special! Together with them, we spotted bottlenose dolphins. It was possible to see perfectly the differences between the two species swimming one beside the other.

False killer whales are found in tropical to warm temperate waters, but it is not known if they migrate as not much is known about their populations.

In the Azores, false killer whales are sighted occasionally, sometimes with other species such as today with bottlenose dolphins.

We enjoyed it a lot! At the end of our trip, we could still observe a group of common dolphins swimming very fast. Hope for more days like this!!

See also our video filmed today by our biologists! 


Photos by Rafael Martins 

False killer whale leaping

False killer whale

False killer whale

False killer whale calf

Fishing boat

Common dolphin

False killer whale

False killer whales and a calf

Photos by Laura González

False killer whale surface

Observing Common dolphin

False killer whales

False killer whales

False killer whale jumping

Bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphins

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