Exploring Cetaceans & Seabirds in the Maldives

In April 2016 Stu and I were fortunate to join Dr Chas Anderson on a cruise to the Northern Maldivian islands in search of cetaceans and seabirds.

Maldivian sunset from the sea.

Maldivian sunset from the sea.

We had a fantastic trip and it was great to observe Dwarf Sperm Whale’s at very close quarters including breaching. A scarcely seen behaviour from these shy and poorly known sea mammals.

Dwarf Sperm whale logging close to our ship.

Dwarf Sperm whale logging close to our ship.

The common shearwaters in the area are Tropical, Wedge-tailed and Flesh-footed, but we also recorded the first national records of Sooty Shearwater. Two individuals were noted.

The Maldives is a great place to see beaked-whales, Longman’s-beaked Whale was rediscovered here by Chas and his team as recently as 2002 and is a major target for Ecologists. We had two sightings of this species including one of a female with calf. We also had some great views of Blainvilles/Dense-beaked Whales.

Longman's-beaked Whale

Longman’s beaked whale.

One of the many trip highlights was spending time with a group of Killer Whales, always stunning wherever you see them. Killer Whales are poorly known in the Indian Ocean, which group do they belong to, is there a distinct group in the area? A photographic identification project has recently started in Sri Lanka and we have forwarded our images to see if there might be a match.

Bull Killer Whale.

Bull Killer Whale.

We were privileged on the final day to spend the morning with an inquisitive group of False Killer Whales, a wonderful way to round off the trip which our sixth and best to date.

False Killer Whale at the bow of our ship.

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