Friday, October 18, 2019

Big schools of fish, lots of dolphins and another Sei whale!

Today we started with a rainy morning. However, despite the rain and the poor visibility at the beginning of our tour, a group of Common Dolphin was waiting for us just in the entrance of the harbour. We have had the opportunity to observe them playing with the waves. Little by little the weather began to improve and became sunnier.

After leaving the common dolphins a huge cloud of Cory’s shearwaters and Yellow Legged Gulls helped us to find a very active group of Atlantic Spotted Dolphin, they were feeding together. Some of the dolphins started to jump; this species can jump over 4 or 5 meters over the surface!

Suddenly, we found a blow! It was a Sei whale feeding as well. The Atlantic spotted dolphin accompanied and guided us to contemplate the baleen whale, they have been very loyal. We have been very fortunate to see all these species feeding together!

Photo by Georgina Ferraz

Photo by Georgina Ferraz

In the afternoon we found a group of common dolphins really close to Ponta Delgada. At first, they were a bit elusive and spread out. As time passed, they got more curious with our boats and we witnessed some amazing bowriding behaviour and high-speed traveling.

We changed of area to find another species. Atlantic spotted dolphins this time. There were lots of birds in the area, Cory's Shearwaters and seagulls. 

We quickly found the reason for all that activity. Big schools of fish were all around the area. Intensity increased, there were splashes, bubbles and jumps everywhere. Lot of sound from birds were creating an amazing atmosphere in the area. We got amazing footage, even underwater. What an amazing scene to see, we felt inside a nature documentary.

We returned to Ponta Delgada with a huge smile in our face.

You never know what to expect in these beautiful blue waters.

If you are on holidays in São Miguel make sure to join us! 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A great day with 5 cetacean species

Wonderful morning!! After two days on land because the wind, today we return to the big blue and it was amazing! This morning we saw 4 species!! We saw three resident species and one seasonal species.

The morning trip started with a small group of common dolphins but suddenly more and more individuals arrived to our catamaran. Our guests could see the characteristic pattern of colours of the common dolphins, with their yellow sides. 

Then, we received the information of our lookouts from land that they saw a sperm whale blow further. So, quickly we headed to that area but in the way we found a group of seasonal species, Atlantic spotted dolphins, which only arrive when waters temperatures are over 20ºC.  

After a bit with these beautiful dolphins, we left the area and finally we arrived to the sperm whale to see it was Mr Liable, our famous resident male sperm whale which we are seeing during the last days. As per usual he didn’t fail to show the magnificent tail.

Returning to Ponta Delgada, we were followed by the Atlantic spotted dolphins, it was crazy the amount of dolphins jumping all the time.

And finally we encountered a group of bottlenose dolphins with calves and doing a common behaviour in dolphins, the bow ridding, just being pushed by our bow and the waves that we created.

Continuing the wonderful day we went out with high hopes and the animals delivered! Started by seeing thousands of Atlantic Spotted dolphins after 30 minutes of travelling who were perfect, feeding and socializing. Because of the clear day we could see as far as 10m underwater and all that space full of dolphins playing with each other and the boat. 

We had the information that a baleen whale was around and soon after we spotted the blow!! We had to go slowly since the dolphins were covering the sea and eventually we got to the Sei whale who was in a feeding behaviour so staying in the surface just for quick breaths. 

After a few minutes accompanying the whale we left her alone to complete feeding and with its daily life so we went closer to shore in the hopes to find any more species, resident dolphins, and yes! 

A small group of happy and social common dolphins who loved racing the boat. 

In one of our rib boats, they used the hydrophone and finally they found again Mr. Liable, like in the morning because they could hear the clicks.

A group of bottlenose dolphins appeared in our way back happily, we could enjoy that moment with them. 

Eventually we left them as well completing our day at the sea in this amazing summer like day
Cory's shearwater
A loggerhead turtle

Monday, October 14, 2019

Baleen whales in October?

After a weekend not being able to go to the sea, the weather conditions gave us a break and today we were able to go out again.

We started the morning trip headed to an area where our lookouts observed a blow, but not a common blow in this time of the year since it was a baleen blow! How do we recognize a baleen blow? Because baleen whales have two blow holes on the top of the head so their blows are bigger and higher than of a sperm whale, which is a toothed whale and only has one blow hole. So when we arrived to this area we could see it was a Sei whale, the third biggest whale on the world! 

Then we went to another area but just 1 mile further when our lookouts spotted this time a sperm whale, but one well known by everybody…Mr Liable! 

A 17 meters male which is sighted regularly on São Miguel. In the way to our second area we observed some Atlantic spotted dolphins, but we didn’t stop because we needed to arrive to the sperm whale area so we could catch him before he dived for 45 minutes. So after Mr Liable showed his magnificent tail we went to see the dolphins. The water temperature is still warm enough for the Atlantic spotted dolphins to be here in the Azores so let’s enjoy them while they’re close to us.

And the afternoon started with bottlenose dolphins! 

Spread out over a large area, but beautiful to see, with plenty of scars! As from land they were not seeing any whale for a while, our boats went searching for them on different directions. We tried our hydrophone, but no sound around. Whales, if there, were silent! 

One of our lookouts saw from land a sperm whale breaching, but for the boats... Nothing. And suddenly, while looking for a supposed sei whale...a humpback whale! Yes!

 The last time we saw this species was the 29th of may. And in October? Not common at all! But being out in the ocean every day has this kind of reward... Six species in one autumn day in São Miguel!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Playful common dolphins today in São Miguel

Today, we took advantage of the good weather before the wind increased too much. It was the last trip for the next few days! Strong wind and waves are coming, so we were lucky enough to enjoy another  morning out in the ocean. 

We found hundreds of common dolphins. A first group quite close to the shore, just outside the doc. Beautiful dolphins approaching the boat and playing with it. 

We then left to go further away from the coast, and another big group, again of common dolphins, joined us while travelling. We even tried to go further again to a deeper area, just in case some whales appeared! But no luck with big animals today. Nevertheless, amazing sightings! Good way to enjoy an autumn morning in the Azores!

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