Mittwoch, 6. Juni 2012

Whale Watching at Pico Island

UPDATE -June arrives with full speed

by Whale Watching guide Leonie Mahlke

After a very rainy and windy May, Pico Mountain shows us his summit eventually again.  The weather conditions also changed and we landed some amazing trips lately. 

Yesterday we had the rare opportunity to watch a sunfish (Mola Mola), while it was feeding on several Portuguese man o' war(Physalia physalis). The animal stayed at the surface continuously, rolled over, lifted its head out of the water and slowly sucked in the prey. We could even catch a glimpse of the tentacles that were wrapped around the sunfishes fin.

During our dolphin swimming trips we were lucky to swim with big pods of common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), as well as bottlenose dolphins (tursiops truncatus). Their curious behavior and their whistles underwater made it some unforgettable trips.

We also witnessed some new arrivals: Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) and pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) found their way to Azorean waters again. Usually returning to this region in mid June/ July, the reason to come here earlier was most likely the abundant food which attracted the whales.

Today’s whale watching trip offered us two of nature’s beauties. First of all we observed a slow traveling pod of about ten socializing sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), among them a single bottlenose dolphin, which is very unusual. Normally sperm whales show a quiet irritating behavior when dolphins approach them.  However, this dolphin seemed to be an adapted member of the group. 
In addition we saw one of the baleen whales – a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) was still cruising through the waters in front of Pico. His long and white pectoral fins, which were shining clearly through the surface, made it easy to identify the giant.

June, we are waiting for more!