Azores: first day out at sea, no welcome committee

The first day out at sea was not quite like I imagined! There were no whales or dolphins swarming the boat saying “Where have you been?” We only had one vigia (lookout), a woman doing a PhD for the University, on Monte da Guia. She was looking to the South of Faial and South of the Pico/Faial channel.

We set off around 09:15 in a 10.5 m sailboat called Muito Linda (Very Pretty). There were no sightings from the single vigia looking out. We set sails and headed to the South of Pico where I was expecting to find some shelter from the breeze that hadn’t subsided overnight. We had just crossed the channel, when Irma, the vigia, called to say there were sperm whales about 5 nautical miles (just over 9 km) from our current position. That 5 turned into about 7 by the time we got to the area. We saw one blow, but it disappeared almost as soon as we had seen it. Without a hydrophone to hear the clicks from the whales and the sun now working against the vigia, we could not find the group of sperm whales, although we crisscrossed the area for an hour trying. We started to head back to shore and along the way a single common dolphin crossed our bow, speeding off to the southeast. It didn’t stop to say hello and we couldn’t keep track of it with the white tops on some of the waves.

But it was an extremely good feeling to be back out on the water looking again. The next trip, I should be able to have a directional hydrophone to use, should sperm whales be sighted.

Stay tuned. I will try again.

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