• Atlantic Naturalist

|9-5-2019 am| Last minute call for a morning full of Sperm Whales and Bottlenose dolphins

Updated: Sep 30, 2019

Thursday morning started with little information from the lookouts. After more than half an hour we received exciting information: dolphins in the North. We all agreed that dolphins were a good start and a perfect excuse to enjoy that sunny morning at sea so we started to get ready for the expedition.


Arriving to the boat, we recieved a new call from the North spotter Martins - Vigia do Salão: Sperm Whales in the North of Faial! with such good news we started our way to the animals.


Sperm Whale with a characteristic white mark in its dorsal fin

What an amazing pod we found! With a group of 10 individuals with juveniles, some pairs and some more solitary animals, we found ourselves surrounded by blows.


Two Sperm Whales transiting

The animals were transiting. Thus, few flukes shown, but despite their behavior we were lucky to see two tails.


The head of a Sperm Whale coming up to surface

While following these Sperm Whales we also found a Loggerhead Sea Turtle. However we were unable to collect it for the tagging program with the Azores University - Projecto Costa, Sea Turtles of the Azores.


Loggerhead Sea Turtle at the surface

Finally, we left the animals and turned back to search that pod of dolphins that we were informed about in the beginning of the morning. We found the group of Bottlenose dolphins interacting with Cory's Shearwaters.



Bottlenose Dolphins with scars on their bodies showing a highly marked dorsal fin.

There was a lot of surface activity as they were hunting schools of small pelagic fish. Photographs of dorsal fins were collected to ascertain individuals and the group.

Bottlenose Dolphins and Cory's Shearwaters hunting

The reason why the Cory's were there is that they take advantage of the dolphins' hunting techniques, bringing the fish schools up near the surface, allowing them to catch some fish for themselves.

Bottlenose Dolphin breaching

Dolphins can breach in order to direct the school of fish where they want and make them easy to catch.


A Bottlenose Dolphin breaching close to our boat

After enjoying some breaches, fins, tails and splashes, it was time to go back to Horta.

Explorers on-board of Bicho do Mar

All the explorers enjoyed a morning full of animals and new findings.


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