On the map above, we can see the Sightings of the past month of April.

NOTE: To see the interactive map please visit http://www.monicet.net/en/maps

We sighted 11 different species of Cetaceans and 1 species of Sea Turtles!

Four Species of Baleen Whales: Blue Whales (Bm), Fin Whales (Bp), Humpback Whales (Mn) and Minke Whales (Ba);

Two Species of Toothed Whales: Sperm Whales(Pm) and Beaked Whales (Zp);

Five Species of Dolphins: Bottlenose Dolphins(Tt), Common Dolphins (Dd), Risso’s Dolphins (Gg),Striped Dolphins (Sc) and False Killer Whales (Pc).

One Species of Sea Turtle: Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Cm).

Percentage of trips in which the selected species were seen.

April 2016 Chart – % of trips in which the selected species were seen (MONICET)

We sighted our first Blue Whales of the 2016 Season! 3 Different individuals on the same day.

Adults can reach 24 to 33 meters in length and weight 100 to 150 tons. Females are larger than males, like in all Baleen Whales. Newborns are 6 to 7 meters and weight about 2.5 to 4 tons.

 

Blue Whale/Balaenoptera musculus

Blue Whale/Balaenoptera musculus

They have a pale and grayish mottled coloration (some can be a bit bluer and darker). Their blow is tall and columnar and it can reach 9 to 12 meters! Usually blows every 10-20 seconds over 2-6 minutes before diving which can last up to 20 minutes. Blowing and diving patterns vary according to the whale’s activity at the moment. 

Blue Whales are usually solitary but can gather  temporarily in small groups, especially when feeding. Its feeds mostly on Krill.

They can also reach a top speed of 30km/h when chased but usually move at a much slower rate.

Different populations exist in the North Pacific, North Atlantic, Indian and Southern oceans. Its found mainly in cold waters and open ocean but also inshore at the edge of the continental shelf, where it feeds and maybe breeds.

Migrates between summer feeding areas and warmer seas where winters and breeds. Can live up to 90 years!

 

Blue Whale Blow by Miguel Cravinho

Blue Whale Blow by Miguel Cravinho (This was also his first tour of the season! Nice way to start!:))

This 1st of May is Mother’s Day in Portugal!

So in honor of this day we share with you the Mother and Calf Fin Whales we sighted this past week!

 

Fin Whales/Balaenoptera physalus

Fin Whales/Balaenoptera physalus

On the photo above we can see a very small (well, compared to it’s Mother at least!) baby Fin Whale!

Fin Whale calves are born with 6 to 7 meters in length and weigh 1 to 2 tons! Not small at all!

The mothers give birth to in warmer waters and it is thought that the calves are weaned at 6 to 7 months old.

 

Fin Whales/Balaenoptera physalus

Fin Whales/Balaenoptera physalus

 

False Killer Whales were also a highlight of this month. We had an amazing sighting on the 20th of April.

Did you know that False Killer Whales, although called Whales are actually not Whales but Dolphins? 🙂

False Killer Whales are part of the Delphinidae Family, just like the Orcas and the Pilot Whales for example.

 

Pseudorca crassidens/False Killer Whale

Pseudorca crassidens/False Killer Whale

 

So these are the statistics  for the month of April.

Stay tuned for more updates on our tours to the fantastic world of the Whales and Dolphins!

Stephanie Almeida

About Stephanie Almeida

Stephanie is Guide at TERRA AZUL since 2013 and Operations Assistant since 2017. Contributed for several years on Data collection for MONICET – The Azores Islands Cetaceans Research & Conservation long-term monitoring project.

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