Incredible encounter with acrobatic Risso’s 12/07/13

What an incredible survey we had yesterday. We came across 2 groups of Risso’s, the first one was a very gentle encounter with about 15 individuals all logging on the surface, a behaviour associated with conserving energy, followed by one dolphin slapping his head on the surface in what looked like sheer joy. The second encounter was incredible; we were motoring along having not seen a cetacean for ages, when up ahead we couldn’t believe what we were seeing; dolphins leaping high out of the water.  As we approached we were surprised to see they it was a group of Risso’s as it is unusual to see them performing such acrobatic displays more often associated with Bottlenose or Commons.  We came to a halt and watched in awe as they leaped high out of the water, sometimes in unison performing all sorts of weird and wonderful behaviour. Amongst the pod, a single tiny calf who we have named Splodge was trying to keep up, he was inquisitive of the boat looking over and swimming right up to us to take a look, and typically of a youngster he surfaced often allowing us some heart warming views.  The pod were showing off by now, completely at ease with us so close by, occasionally swimming right next to the boat on their side so they could take a look.

Alas, the time came for us to leave and as we continued on our course we couldn’t believe it but another shout of “dolphins!” came and we looked ahead and sure enough in the distance there was another group.  This pod turned out to be a group of Short Beaked Common Dolphins; much smaller than Risso’s they darted at ease through the water surfacing occasionally. One started bow riding for a short while and then turned back and joined his friend as they came out of the water beside us, beautiful.

What a phenomenal trip, I still can’t stop seeing the leaping Risso’s in my mind

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