Azores : New direction, new sightings

Update from our marine conservation volunteering holiday in the Azores archipelago, working on whales, dolphins and turtles

The weather has turned in our favour for much of the past week, which meant improving conditions and calmer seas. Music to ears of many. It also meant we could venture in a new direction for 2023, south of Faial. This paid dividends with not only another humpback sighting, but also a fin whale.

The latter is another new record for 2023, and appeared at random, whilst ‘on transect’ less than 10 m in front of the boat! Quite a surprise for all, including our skipper. This was followed by more sperm whale encounters off the far west of Faial, which then gave us the opportunity to complete the circumnavigation of Faial before returning to Horta, only interrupted by a few common dolphin sightings, and a great encounter with sociable bottlenose dolphins.

The next day saw us head south again, this time off Pico. In addition to the usual, dolphin, and less common turtle and shark sightings, it again turned into a sperm whale day. Whilst they were doing their best to frustrate us, with not many fluking, so ID pictures were limited, they saved the best until last. We managed to see one breaching some distance from the boat, but were then treated to three breaches a few hundred metres from the front of the boat – think flying giant cucumbers!

With the weather changing and winds building on Thursday, we pursued a suspected sighting of more than one blue whale, several miles north of Faial. This turned out to be a fairly challenging day, with the boat making way into oncoming weather and waves, peaking at force 5 – which makes staying upright a challenge – let alone doing any data collection. However, persistence often pays off, and we were rewarded with sightings of three blue whales. A great job by all to get the data recorded and stay on the boat….

With photos sent off to various collaborators, we now await news of possible matches, to work out where there whales may have come from or go to…….watch this space. After four consecutive days at seas the team are having a well-earned rest before we make the final push on Saturday.

Update from our marine conservation volunteering holiday in the Azores archipelago, working on whales, dolphins and turtles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: