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

With training and trial sea day complete, we embarked on a full research day on 11 March. It began foggy, with the volcano on neighbouring Pico island completely obscured. Silvia spotted a fin half an hour into our first transect and we identified three Risso’s dolphins exhibiting their unique white markings, originally caused during socialisation, never to fade.

By 11:00 our scientists Lisa decided to deploy the hydrophone, a microphone designed to be used underwater for recording or listening for the communication clicks of the sperm whale. She couldn’t hear any whales, but was alerted to some dolphins nearby. Soon enough three common dolphins emerged in front of our catamaran, and spent 10 minutes bow-riding, giving us a delightful break from our on-board duties.

Heavy rain then cut our day short and we returned to base for hot showers, a good meal and a slice of birthday banana cake!

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