2010 was a very good year to see blue whales in the Azores. Some years are better than others in terms of number of individuals that are seen, and also the behaviour of the animals. In 2010 there were more blue whale sightings than in previous years and we also got to see several blue whale tails and feeding behaviour!
Thursday, 19 October 2017
Wednesday, 18 October 2017
I started my whale watching experience in the Azores during the spring months, which to my surprise is a great time of the year to see migrating baleen whales. When people talk about whale watching in the Azores you hear a lot about the resident sperm whales. However, these volcanic islands are also one of the best places to see the three largest animals on the planet (blue whales, fin whales and sei whales). I was lucky to to encounter many of these ocean giants during my first whale watching season off São Miguel Island.
Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalis) head
Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) mother and calf
Blue whale fluke!
Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) tall blow
Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
A completely different sort of sighting - a portuguese man of war (physalia physalis)
Sunday, 15 October 2017
In 2010 I moved to the Azores for the marine life. But during my first few days on São Miguel Island the ocean was too rough to go out, so I did some exploring on land instead. To my surprise there are a lot of beautiful sights to take in and these are just a few photos from this very green island.
Overview of Vila Franca do Campo and Vila Franca islet
Morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) flower
Indian shot (Canna indica)
Tuesday, 10 October 2017
In 2010 I made the big move from New Zealand to the Azores, Portugal. But first I scheduled a short stop in Lisbon, to have a look at some of the sights of the capital. Lisbon is a beautiful city to explore on foot and photograph with its historic buildings, numerous "praças" with their pretty water fountains, steep streets and of course its iconic trams that weave through the centre.
Lisbon seen from Castelo de São Jorge
Praça do Comércio
One of the iconic Lisbon trams
Thursday, 24 August 2017
Before leaving New Zealand to live abroad and explore other parts of the world, I was lucky to fit in a bit of travelling around the South Island of New Zealand. I especially love the southwestern part, including Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Mount Aspiring National Park. I hope to return one day to explore this region much better. Kaikoura is also a very special place, and it is here that I have witnessed the most impressive sunrises that light up the whole sky.
Doubtful Sound on a perfect day (the calmest they had recorded in four years)
Lake Wakatipu, with Mount Aspiring National Park in the background
Mount Aspiring National Park
One of my favourite things about Kaikoura is the impressive sunrises
Tuesday, 13 June 2017
Kaikoura is a great place to see male sperm whales that seek out the deep waters of the Kaikoura canyon to feed. It was these sperm whales that captivated me and led me to work in this area for a few years. However, there is a lot more than just sperm whales to see in this region. During one year I was incredibly lucky to see a rare and endangered southern right whale. I also encountered humpback whales that migrate through the region in the winter, one blue whale, plenty of dusky dolphins, some rare Hector's dolphins and even orcas on a few occasions. Kaikoura is also one of the best places in the world to see oceanic birds, such as albatross and petrels, off the mainland. In 2010 I left this beautiful area to see more of the world and explore the marine life that other places also have to offer. However, Kaikoura will always have a special place in my heart.
Southern right whale (Eubalaena australis)
Juvenile humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) upside down lobtailing
Hector's dolphin (Cephalorynchus hectori)
A big male New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) drying in the sun
A sperm whale diving close to one of the Whale Watch Kaikoura boats
Little pied cormorant (Microcarbo melanol)
The Kaikoura peninsula
Thursday, 1 June 2017
Winter is a great time to see whales in Kaikoura. Not only can you see the resident sperm whales, but humpback whales also pass through the area during their north bound migration to their warm water breeding grounds. During the winter of 2007 I was thrilled to encounter humpback whales for the first time in my life. This time of the year is also great because the winter light is very soft and the backdrop of the seaward Kaikoura mountain range covered in snow makes for the perfect photo opportunities.
Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) fluking at sunset
Sperm whales (Physeter marcocephalus) are present year-round in Kaikoura, often very close to shore
Dusky dolphins (Lagenorynchus obscurus) are also always present in Kaikoura and are a lot of fun to watch as they are very acrobatic