It is great to back in the Azores. After an early start for the final pieces of preparation, we can finally say a big Azorean welcome to our next group of citizen scientists.
But before I go any further, let me first say a big thank you to the first group of expeditioners and their leader, Catherine. A great effort but all, under challenging conditions. Such is the joy of fieldwork!
Team 2 have all arrived safely. With initial introductions, risks assessments and briefings completed, stretching our legs we had a whistle–stop orientation around Horta. Whilst important for us to impart the initial project knowledge, it has been great to learn about our new team.
Day two saw the real work commence with equipment and science training, followed by the boat orientation. With that completed, we put to sea, with everyone nervously assuming their new job roles. The pressure was on for our lookouts Corinna, Silke and Lara.
They soon delivered in the form of common dolphins. A firm favourite of the expedition and this encounter was a very social group of up to 50 individuals. This was followed by an encounter with their larger ‘cousins’ – bottlenose dolphins. Individuals of this species are much larger, and can be recognised by markings on their dorsal fin. The trick is getting clear dorsal fin shots, and that challenge was Katharina’s, as she was the designated photographer for the day.
So a solid start to the first day at sea, with data collected and noone getting seasick. The whales may have eluded us, but surely not for much longer…..