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|17-5-2019| A Summer Day in May!

The Azores high set the stage for a special day with two trips whale watching north of Pico and Faial Island. Flat sea and clear sky.

The morning started with a pod of Common dolphins but it was a large pod of Sperm whales with more than 15 animals that caught our attention through a great part of the boat expeditions, collecting tail photos and biological samples.

The pod of Common dolphins with Pico Island as a background

The fluke of a Sperm Whale

The sperm whales kept crossing from East to West, foraging for prey using the 600-900m depths bathymetries until being over 10m from the coast.

Two Sperm whales: an adult female and a juvenile

Adult female and juvenile fluking while a dive

The research boat from the IMAR of the Azores University (Pintado) was operating and followed the group beyond the spotters view range. They managed to place one depth tag on one of the females.

Faial and Pico Islands, Azores seen from the sea Westwards.

A raft of Cory's shearwaters

Loggerhead turtle at the surface

A Loggerhead turtle was registered during the morning expeditions. These sea conditions favor these sightings, although we were unable to tag this turtle for the project of Sea Turtles in Azores.

Sperm whale biological sample

Sperm whale biological sampling was achieved.

Two Sperm whales fluking

Above, two large females going for another deep dive of more than 30 minutes.

As the whales kept moving towards the West, we decided to return through the south of Faial.

A large pod of 60-70 Stripped dolphins (Stenella coerueualba) was recorded next to the Natural Monument of Capelinhos Volcano. The pod was very calm, which is uncommon for these wild and generally fast swimming species. The reason was that calves and juveniles made up of more than 25% of the pod, some of which were less than a year old. This is uncommon in the Azores, and was likely a nursery sub-group of a larger group that was further away.

Stripped dolphins Stenella coerueualba in the Azores