Azores: sperm whales & common dolphins

With the weather looking good for a couple of days and the Port Captain now allowing a registered Maritime Tourism boat to go out to sea, I was off in Thursday in a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) called Risso, with a regular whale watching skipper.

As you can see from our track, we covered a lot of miles, 67.2 to be exact. It was worth it!

Although, the baleen whales (probably two fin whales) eluded us, we did find and photograph sperm whales. Judging by their size, they were most likely young males. I have to give credit to the Vigia (lookout) Anteiro, for giving us the information that the sperm whales had been seen. Also thanks to skipper Pedro Filipe for taking me out for just the cost of the fuel.

It took us over an hour to get to the area and the first whale that was spotted didn’t stay up long enough to photograph. But with the next four animals, they were seen early enough after surfacing, that we could get into position to get the all important photo ID photos! In fact three of them appeared at the surface within 300 m of the boat! We were using a directional hydrophone to listen to their clicks and have the best information on where they might be surfacing. The skipper, Pedro, is an expert at finding sperm whales this way. We were pretty sure that there were four animals in the group and when we got the third different fluke, we decided to try for those elusive baleen whales.

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After lunch, Anteiro spotted the baleen whales again, this time closer to Faial, so we made a beeline in that direction. Unfortunately, the rain blocked his view for a while and they disappeared. Along the way, we came across a group of around 50 common dolphin, which came over to bowride for awhile. And when the whales were spotted once again, still closer to Faial, off we went again. But the rain interferred once again and for today anyway, it is baleen whales 1 – Lisa 0.

The weather looks good tomorrow and hopefully Sunday too. So we will be back out on the water to see what we can find. The vigias will also be hard at work once again.

Thanks to Biosphere Expeditions, the 2020 season is well and truly under way.


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