Azores: Patience rewarded

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

It has been a busy past couple of days, ‘having’ to work over the weekend. And our patience has been rewarded.

Saturday started like many other days, with an initial encounter with common dolphins, but in low numbers. But the day also saw the species list for 2018 increase again, this time adding the fin whale to our records.

We had to work for it though, travelling several miles to the south of Faial and Pico in search of cetaceans, and not in great visibility. You still have to put the hard yards in and maintain concentration to find some of biggest species we know. This was rewarded with encounters with fin whales, the second largest species recorded in the Azores, and a possible sighting of a beaked whale.

Sunday brought better weather and better luck. Again we found the common dolphins and fin whales, but were also rewarded with our first encounters with blue whales – two to be precise. These are the largest beasts you find in these waters, and made the group extremely happy.

We also had a record-breaking day on the turtle surveys, recording eleven loggerhead turtles in one day. The calm seas definitely helped with spotting them.

With two survey days to go for this group, we hope our luck and the good conditions continue….


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