Sunday, September 15, 2019

A total of 6 species today, among them a Blainville's beaked whale

Today the ocean greeted us with calm and crystalline waters, when the animals were approaching to our boat, we could see all their details perfectly.

It was a perfect and relaxed morning; everybody was happy to be out in the sea and the cloudy day provided a nice fresh breeze.

We started the trip with a group of common dolphins, they were swimming really fast before we got to the area. For a moment, we even thought that they were striped dolphins. When they came closer to us, we could appreciate perfectly their coloration and the amazing control they have over their bodies.

We kept traveling west to find a really nice surprise, a Blainville's beaked whale. It's quite rare to find a beaked whale, and even more a Blainville's one. They are elusive animals, that spend most of their lives underwater and that can hold their breath for more than an hour. The sighting was great, it surfaced a few times and we could identified the species thanks to the shape of its head.

Third species of the day was the atlantic spotted dolphin, a big and active group, a bit spread out and with different behaviours: bowriding, traveling, foraging... We enjoyed so much their presence and their spectacular way of swimming.

Photo by Michel Kolar

In the morning, it was also possible to see a big group of stripped dolphins, another seasonal species here in the Azores.

In the afternoon the sun started to shine as well as our 3 resident dolphin species. We started with a small group of common dolphins very close to the harbor. Even though it was small group they were quite curious with the boat always coming back to us to surf more waves.

Photo by Michel Kolar

Then we continued traveling east and we found a gigantic group of Risso's dolphins. The white coloration of the adults makes it really easy to follow them under water but there was also a lot of babies in the group. Seeing so many babies it is always a good sign that the population is healthy in this area.

Out of the sudden we started to see some different fins in the area, Bottlenose dolphins! It was a small group of juveniles mating with each other, meaning that we will have more babies next year! During this sighting we were also able to see a loggerhead turtle in the middle of the dolphins.

When going back to Ponta Delgada more bottlenose dolphins showed up, this time was a bigger group, making it possible to say goodbye to them. One of our boats was still able to see Atlantic spotted dolphins.

Today we had a total of 6 species of cetaceans and rudy's turnstone as well!

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