Azores : Lost and found

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

We have commenced the final leg of this year’s expedition. With the welcomes, greetings, briefings and training sessions efficiently covered, we were all keen to get out to sea. Our potential survey area was restricted by the sea conditions, and these also challenged some of our team. We were rewarded with just our second sighting of Risso’s dolphins, which was some consolation to several of the team we ‘lost’ aft.

The next day at sea was met with some nerves, but the team needn’t have worried. The rolling swells were a thing of the past and there is nothing like finding a humpback whale to refocus the mind. This was followed by a large group of false killer whales – another first record for this year’s expedition.

Conditions dictated that we head south, where we were briefly distracted by common dolphins and entertained by the same humpback breaching very close to the boat! With yet more dolphin sightings, the day was rounded off following two Sei whales – who only blow once when they surface. so are tricky creatures to photograph – as Ed discovered.

With the winds increasing from the south, we weren’t sure how long we would be out on Friday, but again headed north (to more protected water) out to another humpback sighting. With common dolphins competing for our attention, the humpback turned out to be the same whale from the previous day, so we quickly moved on.

With the strengthening winds, our only option was to explore the channel between Pico and São Jorge, where there was less white water. After a brief passing of bottlenose dolphins, the day turned into a very productive sperm whale ‘hunt’. We manage to find and record at least six individuals, not recorded before (based on initial catalogue matching), so some great new data. The day was rounded off finding two fin whales on the way home. A great day and great data.

It is often unpredictable how things work out – this is an expedition after all. When we expect to lose out to the weather with a shorter day at sea, we actually came in slightly late having found multiple species, with several new records. A great job by all!

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

One Reply to “Azores : Lost and found”

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: