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.
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.
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.
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.
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.