21 Apr 2018

21 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Twenty Three: Short-finned Pilot Whales

The previous Posts for the first full day at sea on the crossing between St Helena & Ascension Island covered the Seabirds & Flying Fish seen on the day & some magical encounters with a couple of parties of Sperm Whales. The first party of Sperm Whales were seen before breakfast, although they dived before we had close views, whereas, the second party of Sperm Whales lingered with us for the best part of an hour. However, there was one more bonus for the early pre-breakfast observers on the decks when a party of around fifteen Short-finned Pilot Whales appeared. This was our second sighting of Short-finned Pilot Whales with out first sighting being a party seen on the final full day at sea before we reached St Helena. Unfortunately, today's party of Short-finned Pilot Whales were moving straight past the Plancius & didn't linger. Still, I managed to get some photos of some of the group.
Short-finned Pilot Whale: Male. The blow is small & difficult to see at any distance. However, Short-finned Pilot Whales are fairly easy to pick up at a distance due to their habit of swimming on the surface in small groups for extended periods & their black appearance
Short-finned Pilot Whale: Male. This male has a noticeable melon & has clearly been battered in the past given the damage to the point of the dorsal fin
Short-finned Pilot Whale: Female. This female has also got a small notch within the rear curve of the dorsal fin
Short-finned Pilot Whale: The male & female
Short-finned Pilot Whale: A final view of another individual before they disappeared
This morning was a good example of why it was worth being on deck soon after dawn as sometimes we saw a couple of Cetacean species before breakfast. Even better was I had a quick breakfast to get a good position on the bridge wing with the better lighting & while most people were still having breakfast I was one of the lucky few to see the first False Killer Whales of the Odyssey: I will cover those in the next Blog Post.