This morning the sea granted whale watchers and guides a once in a life time experience. The conditions of the sea were really pleasant yet we could feel the swell of the sea, this made no difference to our whale watchers who were mesmerised by the amount of sea life that came before our eyes.

The first dolphins that we saw were the common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), who never stop impressing the observer with their beautiful coloration that denotes itself under the blue Atlantic ocean. The calfs and adults in this huge group greeted us by coming close to the boat and swimming underneath us. Making it clear that they are indeed very graceful swimmers !

After communication with our lookout André we continued to another group of dolphins, this time a group of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) made it clear to us that they are the masters of the sea and we are only the spectators in this vast territory. This was very clear to our enthusiastic whale watchers who understood the message and observed how different it is to view animals in their natural habitat than in a enclosed environment.

Our journey continued direction the island of Santa Maria, were we heard the blowholes from a quiet group of short finned pilot  whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) who did not mind us being there; Maybe knowing that we were there not to harm them but admire them. These offshore animals were resting in a big pod of about 30 individuals.  We quietly and happily shared the moment intaking the view of the animals resting, yet we were surrounded.

André contacted our Skipper… something was swimming in the waters not very far away from the coast, we decided it was time to leave our friends to let them enjoy the nice open waters. On our way little did we know that a massive group of spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) would surround the boat, making it very easy to understand why the are called “Spotted dolphins”, these fast creatures made everyone shake their heads 360°, the migration of these amazing creatures was something never seen before by any of our whale watchers or myself, the guide of the morning tour. The excitement filled the atmosphere….

Nevertheless, we still had to find out who was swimming in coastal waters, since a few water prints were visible. We were there waiting, still seeing jumping dolphins everywhere. And then out of the blue depths a fin… A fin whale appeared, quickly diving back into the waters. We decided to wait for a little bit and when we thought we had to be a bit more patient, Bom!!!!!!!!! The fin whale rostrum appeared at about 4 meters of our boat, shocking everyone even myself, the guide that from the excitement did not know how to take in all the emotions that were being felt by everyone.

Time came to say good-bye to the sea, ending with a beautiful tour of the Ilhao do Villa Franca. I am certain in my heart that Whale watchers on the boat this morning and myself will remember this day for the rest of our lives.

Thank you to all the people that were on the boat sharing such an intense moment.

Anaïs Builly

About Anaïs Builly

Anais Builly is Marine Biologist and Master of Biology, Ecology and Ecosystems, and of Bioproducts & Bioproduction of Marine Ecosystems, studied in France and South Africa. She is also Marine Wildlife Guide & Community Manager at TERRA AZUL. She is passionate about conservation of marine mammals, and loves being out in the ocean everyday.

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