20 Aug Risso’s Dolphins & Amazing Bottlenose Dolphins
This week went off to a great start as on Monday I saw a new species, Risso’s dolphins! We saw them on both the morning and afternoon trip. In the morning they were showing typical Risso’s Dolphin behaviour; they were a bit further away form the boat and quite elusive. These dolphins are not usually as inquisitive as other species so tend to keep their distance. However, in the afternoon, they were much more friendly and stayed around the boat for a long time. There were both adults and calves present in the group. You can tell the difference as the adults look very light grey/ white, whereas the juveniles and calves look a much darker grey. This is because over time, the dolphins accumulate scars and scratches on their body, giving a white appearance. You should be able to make out the different dolphins in the photo below!
On Thursday we had what I thought was one of the best days yet, as we had an amazing encounter with a group of Bottlenose Dolphins. They were really active and were leaping out of the water over and over again. It really gives you a sense of appreciation of how powerful and majestic these animals are. I have found that the Bottlenose Dolphins here are the friendliest species here in the Azores, spending lots of time bow-riding and playing in the waves produced by the boats.
We have of course still seen lots of Sperm Whales, Atlantic Spotted Dolphins and Common Dolphins. On Friday we even saw a Devil’s Ray right at the surface, which was an incredible experience!
I have also started to talk on the microphone during tours, which involves telling guests information about the species that we are seeing, such as common characteristics, social structure, reproduction, echolocation and other relevant information. It has been really fulfilling to be able to inform guests about these amazing animals and to educate them too. I spoke to one family from Toronto who had no idea about what cetaceans in captivity suffer and endure, and following our conversation they declared that they were going to boycott their local marine park! Success!