Update from our volunteer vacation / conservation holiday protecting whales, dolphins and turtles around the Azores archipelago (www.biosphere-expeditions.org/azores)

Well, it’s been an interesting last two days at sea for Team 2. Despite the continued high winds – and high waves – Saturday went something like this: Sei, Sei, Sei, Sei, Sei, Fin, Sei, Fin, Sei, Fin, Sei, Common Dolphin, Common Dolphin. The team was jamming all day running from encounter to encounter with 13 separate ones of them.

We photographed 21 individuals. The group also saw a group of common dolphins with babies, and a loggerhead turtle that was too small to tag.

Today, our last day at sea, the team finally got to document some Risso’s dolphins. They also saw an enormous leatherback turtle and a sei whale, all of which were random sightings. For those of you reading this diary from home, the random sightings are when the vigias, or lookouts, have not spotted anything from land. This means that Team 2 had super duper spotting ability, and picked out the animals in spite of the white-capped sea conditions. One of the whales we saw today was a match to one from earlier in the week, the one the team Dubbed “punk rocker” because of the hole in the animal’s dorsal fin.

A big thank you, again, to Team 2 for your willing attitude and efforts in data collection in less-than-ideal conditions! We documented the following amazing number of animals thanks to you:

Bottlenose dolphin – 3 encounters totaling 20 animals

Common dolphin – 15 encounters totaling 565 animals

Risso’s dolphin – 1 encounter totaling 10 animals

Fin whale – 4 encounters totaling 6 animals

Sei whale – 12 encounters totaling 26 individuals

Blue whale – 2 encounters with 3 individual

Sperm whale – 10 encounters totaling 13 animals

From these encounters we had 5 positive sperm whale matches to prior years.


Loggerhead turtle – 4 encounters with 4 individuals

Leatherback turtle – 1 encounter with 1 individual

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As I write this, I cannot help but wonder what Lisa would do if we had had an encounter with TWO turtles during turtle time…

Wishing Team 2 safe travels home and we’re looking forward to Team 3 arriving.

Update from our volunteer vacation / conservation holiday protecting whales, dolphins and turtles around the Azores archipelago

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