Posted by: tim ellis | October 21, 2013

Azores – Monday 19th August 2013

Spotted Dolphin

A cloudier start to the day, and another slightly later start (more refuelling, but being a Monday, the boat is “booked in” for 8:30, so we are soon under way. There is a suggestion that there is suggestion that there might be Sperm Whale to the South in “choppier waters”, but apparently the lookouts are advising us not to go that way, so instead we go North up alongside Pico, where we find Common and Spotted Dolphin. There has been a suggestion that there might be Baleen Whales around, but although we are in the right area, nothing manifests itself, so we eventually set off to look elsewhere. We meet a group of Spotted Dolphin that suddenly becomes an enormous school of about 700 individuals, racing along on either side of, and in front of the boat – it is difficult to know where to look next.
Spotted Dolphin

We head around to the other side of Pico, and initially find nothing, even the hydrophone is not revealing any activity, Whale or Dolphin. Finally Nuno picks up some Whale clicks and delivers us into the right area. More searching ensues until we eventually spot a blow, with a couple more a bit further away. It goes without saying that the one closest to us refuses to co-operate and is only shallow diving, not lifting the tail to allow ID shots. In all, we estimate there are five or six Whales in the area, possibly coming together to socialise at the surface (we do see a couple of tails go up, but only from the furthest Whales.

Little Boy

This activity coming so late in the day means we are late back to Horta, but as it is our second “free” night, at least there is no frantic rush for the restaurant. I stroll, via the beach, back up to the Athletico, for spare ribs and a very nice Russian “Baltika” porter. (I asked the waitress if they had any “dark beer”. She said yes, but it came in ½ litre bottles, as if this might have been a problem…)

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