Saturday, August 31, 2019

Memorable dolphin sightings and a surprise in the afternoon!

The morning sunshine gave us a quick reminder that it is still summer! We stopped at a couple of shy Risso’s dolphins that seemed to be diving a lot. 

 


Afterwards we headed towards some playful bottlenose dolphins. 



We did not stay there for too long because we had another surprise waiting for us. Our lookout had seen pilot whales! And we saw 2 large pods of pilot whales. 




They had calves and juveniles in the pod as well, and some of them were shooting through the surface; a behavior we don't see too often. They were diving for a long time as well, so they were most likely foraging in this area. Another great morning with 3 different species!

Sun kept shining even stronger in the afternoon. We went out even more motivated and we got some great sightings. 
We headed east to find first an active group of Atlantic spotted dolphins. 
The water was so clear that we could follow their hydrodynamic bodies under the water surface perfectly and appreciate their spotty skin. 
After that, we change direction to find a numerous group of common dolphins. 






We were able to get some great pictures for Photo-ID purposes. We have just begun a really interesting and promising study to get to know more about this species' spatial and temporal distribution, population size and habitat preference. 
The last surprise of the day was a group of sperm whales that delighted us with two beautiful flukes and an extremely curious calf that kept on swimming around our catamaran 4 Ventos. It was so close that we could see all its wrinkles and its still bent dorsal fin. 
What a profitable afternoon!


Sperm whale calf



Today we had the honour of having Frederike from Sharkproject.org on board to tell us interesting facts about the sharks for example, that there are currently about 530 species known but still new ones were recently discovered. 

Foto: María Huamán
The Azores are a really important habitat for many species like the blue shark, mako or the thresher shark and if you would like to help them, you can sign the following petition which is about a marine sanctuary where shark will be protected. 

With this petition you do not only help the sharks, but also mankind. The sharks are playing a key role and if we would lose the sharks, the ecosystem would not be balanced anymore which directly effects us too. So if you like to be part of creating an healthy, ocean please sign. https://www.sharkproject.org/en/the-azores-green-paradise-blue-sea-wonderful-nature-with-one-mistake/


Check out www.sharkproject.org or www.facebook.com/Sharkproject to get more information.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Numerous sperm whales and 4 resident species of dolphins

Today we had a lovely day. We had a big sun in the sky and very flat and amazing blue ocean.
In the morning, our resident species showed up starting our journey with at least 15 sperm whales socializing playing very calm and peaceful. 


 

Baby sperm whale tail

After the beautiful sperm whales, we went for the dolphins and we saw big groups of bottlenose and of common dolphins. We had a sad moment in one of our rubber boats as we saw a  turtle, and when we approached it very happy to show to our clients, we realize it was dead, it had some signals of having been already dead for a while, this is a very sad thing to see in the ocean, but it makes us and everybody more aware about the reality of our oceans. 



Dead turtle


In the afternoon we had exactly the same species and the same group of bottlenose dolphins and sperm whales. We started by seeing a sperm whale jumping really far away, but when we got there it got shy and stopped. At a certain moment, we had the bottlenose and the sperm whales all together but in the end, the whales were alone and all together. Some of our boats also had the opportunity to see Risso's dolphins and striped dolphins.




We've got to see many sperm whale tails and all at the same time. The bottlenose dolphins showed up again and started to play with the boat and to jump around. When going back to Ponta Delgada we still got to see some common dolphins very interest and playfull with our boats. Some of our boats also had the opportunity to see Risso's dolphins and Striped dolphins.


 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Pilot whales, spotted dolphins, Risso's dolphins in the morning

This morning we woke up with a cloudy and rainy day, but we knew that our friends were out there. Our lookouts managed to see a group of dolphins, so we went out to meet them.

It was a big pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins. These ones were always active, coming close to the boat, jumping... It was easy to see the difference between juvenile and adult dolphins. The juveniles don’t have spots and the adults do have. 

Then, while we were looking for sperm whales, a different species appeared: the pilot whales! It was pretty nice to see these animals with the colour of the sea and the grey of the clouds.The catamarans could see common dolphins and not the group of Atlantic spotted dolphins. Some of our boats also manage to see bottlenose dolphins and Risso's dolphins.






Risso dolphin fin

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Over 1000 Spotted dolphins in São Miguel!

A day full of dolphins! How many did we see in total? Difficult to count, but hundreds... everywhere. And different species! Common dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins in huge groups. Several hundred! Socialising, especially the common dolphins, which were touching each other, turned upside down, moving around over the same area and playing with each other!









Our swimming trips spent the morning with bottlenose dolphins, not a lot, but very curious! Amazing moments surrounded by dolphins! In the afternoon we felt a little more wind and the sea also became more agitated. After some time travelling, we came to a giant group of Atlantic spotted dolphins... Over 1000 dolphins... Where we looked, we saw dolphins jumping and playing in the big waves. 







Suddenly our lookout gives the alarm because he found sperm whales! It was a trip with big jumps and a lot of salty water. But we made it!! We had 7 animals very relaxed and moving slowly. Two trips, two different experiences.




Great Shearwater feeding

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Spectacular sperm whale breach, plus 2 species of dolphins today!

When we go to the sea we have to be prepared for all scenarios. We go out looking for animals in their natural habitat that are neither trained nor fed ... so everything is possible. Today was the proof of that. 


In the morning we started with a very small group of common dolphins but some meters away from the area it was the rest of the group of common dolphins. We continued to the east and a gigantic group of Atlantic spotted dolphins showed up. There must have been more than 400 dolphins in the group! Can you imagine looking all around and only see dolphins all around!? The group was very active, very curious and very playful and with such good visibility conditions, it was amazing seeing them around the boat.  




Our lookouts weren't seeing bigger animals so we used our hydrophone and our next species was the most famous here in the Azores, the largest predator on Earth, the legendary Moby Dick, you know who we are referring to... sperm whale


Preparing the hydrophone




Happy whale watchers
  
It was a group of females a little bit spread out in an area, and one of them was a very known sperm whale called Tonga! We also got to see a very small baby! We started with a young male, then a female, a baby and finally a very chubby female ... We think she might be pregnant! When she dived, we could see that she was a female we know well: Tonga!

Tonga
Dilys
 
Hailey



We also took our time and collected some garbage we saw in the sea. Every little helps!

Taking plastic out from the ocean :)
Collecting more trash
In the afternoon we went to the same area then the morning and saw several sperm whales again. We started with two females who did a dive at the same time, we saw the little baby again and when we were not expecting ... wow! A sperm whale breached several times and showed its tail! It was amazing!


Sperm whale pooping during a breach


After we found a very small group of Atlantic spotted dolphins but they were not very curious.





Then we decided to see one more sperm whale... It was our sumo wrestler!



Sumo wrestler



"Well done guys!" 
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