25 Apr 2018

25 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Twenty Seven: Close Views Of Short-finned Pilot Whales

The first full day at sea on the Atlantic Odyssey got off to a good start with a good views of a dark phase South Polar Skua. That was the Seabird highlight of the day, but the Cetaceans were determines to also put on an equally good show for the Plancius. At the same time the South Polar Skua appeared, we also saw a close pod of Short-finned Pilot Whales. This pod didn't hang around for long, but there was time for a few photos as they passed by the Plancius.
Three of the first pod of Short-finned Pilot Whales
During the early afternoon, we encountered a larger pod of Short-finned Pilot Whales. The Expedition staff & Plancius's crew decided to stop the Plancius to allow prolonged views of the pod. Both species of Pilot Whales are very photogenic as they generally occur in pods of twenty or more individuals. Looking closer, the pod is made up of several smaller family groups. They tend to spend a fair percentage of their time on the surface & often do not seem to be in a hurry to move off, which also allows plenty of opportunities for photos.
Short-finned Pilot Whale: They are best separated from the similar looking Long-finned Pilot Whales on range as the all important fin which gives the two species their names are on the underside of the body
Short-finned Pilot Whale
Short-finned Pilot Whale
Short-finned Pilot Whale
Short-finned Pilot Whale: The scars made this a very distinctive individual
Short-finned Pilot Whale: Another distinctive individual
Short-finned Pilot Whale
Short-finned Pilot Whale
Short-finned Pilot Whale: These nine were a larger group within the dispersed pod
Short-finned Pilot Whale: I think this is the first time I've seen a Pilot Whale fluke
This was another great Cetacean encounter on the Plancius.

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