Azores: New group of sperm whales, finally!

On 10 August our start was a bit delayed, because the lookouts had not seen any whales due to poor visibility and rain at the start of the morning. Just as we were about to pack up and go home, a boat on the way offshore to a dive site spotted some sperm whales to the south of Faial. Since there was going to be a small lee in that area, we decided to risk it. The lookout that was in the north of Faial, re-located to the south to help. We caught up with the whales, just as they were entering the lee and we followed them until they were just about to leave it, perfect conditions! I didn’t recognise the flukes when the whales dived and in the afternoon confirmed that this is a new group that has not been seen before. It will be nice if we can see this group again, because there were several individuals, that I missed getting ID photos of.

Back out on the water on 12 August, to the north of Faial. It appeared that there was a group of four individuals, but towards the end of the morning, a lookout went to the north of Pico and saw some sperm whales closer to the shore. We got those in the afternoon. It turns out another one of the well-known groups from the south of Pico is starting out in the north of the island this year! We also had some large groups of spotted and common dolphin feeding on small bait balls. In the afternoon, there was a group of bottlenose dolphin travelling and socialising towards Faial, making some amazing leaps.

On 13 August we were again in the north of Faial. The same whales from yesterday morning were still there, we saw two whales twice and one that was making a bit shorter dives, three times. The lookout then spotted a very large group of striped dolphin. They were “flying” across the water. They were also avoiding the boats as they normally do, unfortunately, one of the boats kept chasing them at high speed, breaking the group up into three parts, so we never got very close, since we did not want to add to this stress. In the afternoon, back to the north and the same whales, but there were now four individuals, at one point socialising. We left the social group and went to find the ones that were diving. When we were a very long way away from the social group, we saw some breaches, leaps out of the water! There was even a double breach!! I have a long lens, but not long enough to capture those images in focus, unfortunately. There were also groups of spotted and common dolphin too. The spotted dolphin were travelling to the west, while the common dolphin were headed in a more easterly direction.

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On 14 August we spent the morning to the north of Faial, with the same group of sperm whales that has been here since the end of May, a couple of feeding sei whales and hundreds of spotted dolphin along with small group of bottlenose dolphin. In the afternoon, the sperm whales to the north had moved out of range, so we headed to the south of Pico, where we found that the “Whitehead” group of sperm whales is still around! There was also a small group of spotted dolphin travelling to the west, not very interested in the boats and we came across a very large group of bottlenose dolphin on the way home. At one point, several dolphin started leaping high into the air in different parts of the group. It was amazing to see dolphin jumping 5-7 m in the air!

Some windy weather is headed our way, so will probably be on shore for a few days now.

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