Blowing higher than the swell

Hello everybody!

Today we almost could not get back to shore without stumbling across amazing wildlife encounters 😀

It seems already Spring on the Atlantic Ocean: warm sun, gentle morning wind, Cory’s Shearwaters (Calonectris borealis) gliding over waves, high swell…and much, much higher blows towering on the horizon!

That is, today our guests and crew had an amazing encounter with a group of four Fin Whales (Balaenoptera physalus): A mother and a calf and two massive adults measuring about 20 meters in length. One individual came close enough to the boat to spot some external parasites on its flank, most probably a crustacean of the gender Pennella. If you wish to learn more about whale & dolphin external parasites, you can watch our WhalezoneTV episode HERE!

 

Today’s Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) were socializing. A mother and her calf (right) were escorted by two adult individuals, most likely males attempting to mate.

 

The parasite Pennella sp. hanging from the flank of one of the adult Fin Whales (Balaenoptera physalus).

 

One of the adult Fin Whales (Balaenoptera physalus) lunging through the water during the chase. The asymmetrical white coloration on the right side of the body is visible.

 

We left the whales socializing and swimming to the East. On the way back to shore we could encounter several pods of Common Dolphins (Delphinus delphis), including one with a mother and a calf, and another one feeding in association with a school of tuna (Thunnus spp.).

 

A Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis) calf porpoises next to its mother.

 

If this was not enough, a couple of Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) were on our path back to the coast. One of them was missing the front-left pectoral fin but seemed to be in good health condition. Finally ,we also encountered a pair of juvenile Black-legged Kittiwakes (Rissa trydactila), a member of the gull family that we do not see often in São Miguel.

 

Juvenile Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa trydactila). The English name refers to their typical shrill call.

Lorenzo Fiori

About Lorenzo Fiori

Lorenzo is Main Guide and Technical & Scientific Director at TERRA AZUL. He is originally from Italy, holds a Science Master in Biology, and is completing PhD about behavioral responses of humpback whales to swim-with-whales tourism activities in Tonga.

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