Posted by: tim ellis | September 28, 2013

Azores – Tuesday 13th August 2013

Up around 7:00 to allow for a leisurely breakfast before strolling down to the harbour for the 8:30 briefing. There appear to be a lot of people, and I overhear someone say the morning sailing is full. Gradually it becomes clear that we are on a full day sailing on the Physeter, a catamaran, with just two other people, the rest are on a half day trip on a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat). Island based spotters have been up since 7:30 and have seen whales south of Pico – about an hour to an hour and a half away, so we set of in that direction.

The Physeter

On the way we encounter a group of Risso’s Dolphin, and subsequently a group of Common Dolphin feeding on Mackerel with several Corey’s Shearwater. While we are busy watching the Dolphin, our captain, Nuno, sees a whale dive, so we wait for it to reappear. (A female Sperm Whale normally dives for between 30 and 50 minutes).

There are two Sperm Whales in the area, so we alternate between watching them and the dolphins in the area. (As well as the Common Dolphin, we also see a large group of Spotted Dolphin, and a mixed group of Common and Striped Dolphin). On one of the return trips to the whales we see one of them breach twice, then wait at the surface for the other one to appear, after which they seem to synchronise their diving.

We were going to head further out, but a strong (and unexpected) headwind has developed, making the water quite choppy, so we stay near the whales for one more dive, before heading back towards Faial, finding one more group of Common Dolphins on the way before returning to harbour.

Sperm Whale

We meet at 6 in one of the hotel’s lounges to see a (PC) slide show and Lisa’s photographs of the day, before heading out to a different restaurant at the other end of town – we get a taxi down there, but walk back after dinner.

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