Azores: Sightings still going strong

On 27 July we had one of “Nike’s” group north of Pico, in the morning. It was the 2010 calf of Nike, which we saw twice. We did not see any other individuals of the group, although we could hear them clicking. I doubt it will take the Nike group very long to get to the south of Pico where they usually hang out. Finally, this afternoon, Whitehead decided to show herself on the south of Pico! She was hanging out with a few of the Winter Whales, although she was headed west, while the others were headed east, so maybe it was just two groups passing each other. One of the Winter Whales was curious about the boat, circling us three times! Loads of spotted dolphin around and a solo sei whale too! Have you ever seen a whale “footprint”? As the fluke moves, when the whale is close to the surface or when diving, the water gets disturbed and leaves a smooth circle where the whale has just been. And I can’t forget the “bowriding” hammerhead and a small group of devil rays to top things off!

On 28 July we were again back to the north of Faial. The lookout had spotted some sperm whales and spotted dolphin. The mother & calf did a double fluke! The calves only begin to dive at around two years of age, so this one was learning the ropes. These two whales appeared to be the only ones up there, until we were getting ready to leave, since it didn’t look like the whales were going to dive a second time, when out of the blue there was a breach of a sperm whale a mile further out to sea! We then headed closer to the coast where there was a large group of spotted dolphin socialising. A few of the younger animals were leaping occasionally. It is pretty amazing how bendy the spotted dolphin is.

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Too windy on 29 & 30 July, giving me a chance to catch up on some paperwork.

We were back out on 31 July in some challenging conditions. But those conditions can sometimes be good for taking photos, if you catch the right moment! The Whitehead group is still around, although they were a long, long way from Horta today, heading to the eastern end of Pico. I managed to get four of the individuals. I guess since Whitehead herself showed herself the other day, she didn’t feel the need to check in today.

Hard to believe August has arrived already. We were back to the south of Pico again. There are still sei whales around, also a large group of pilot whales and sperm whales too. A tiny bottlenose dolphin calf and a high-flying spotted dolphin was part of what appeared to be a mating group.

On 2 August we got word from the vigia in the north of Faial that sperm whales had been seen up there, so off we went. It turned out to be a group that was seen on 28 May and was first seen in 2009. After a few flukes, including a couple of individuals that hadn’t been seen in May, we headed for some pilot whales. The group was quite spread out in smaller groups of about 20-30 and appeared to be resting. There was a fairly newborn calf in the group, since foetal folds were visible on the flanks. A sei whale was also close by, although was a bit elusive to the boats, moving quite quickly in various directions. We could see the power of the blow emerging from the blowhole. On the way back to the harbour, a small group of spotted dolphin were also seen. They were feeding on some small baitballs close to the surface. It wasn’t clear what they were eating. In the afternoon, we were also back to the north, but the wind had increased, decreasing blow visibility. The lookout did manage to find one individual, but it wasn’t diving. At first glance, it had a white scar on the right side and it looked a bit like Nike’s calf, which had been seen in this area a few days ago. But on a closer look, it wasn’t the same. We also saw what was probably the same sei whale from the morning, doing the same thing and a small group of spotted dolphin.

The weather has turned a bit windy again, so hopefully a bit of time to check out the new sperm whale flukes with the matching program.

You can see all of the 295 July sightings on Seafari App sightings July 2020.

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