Friday, March 1, 2019

March welcoming us with sperm whales and common dolphins

After all the stormy rainy weather that has been reaching the Azores for the last two weeks, we had a beautiful striking trip! 


Today, the sun was shining through a clean sky and some shearwaters were already scanning the water surface (and the great skuas still passing by!). The sea was still fierce full but totally worth the adventure! 


We started by observing a group of common dolphins spotted by our lookout. When we arrived, the group was scattered around in small sub groups getting the fish together and chasing actively the bait balls. 



It is quite a challenge to photo-identify this species because they move very actively and most often in numerous groups, but due to some deep specific marks on one of the dorsal fins, we could recognize from past sightings one of the individuals on this group. 



After some moments together with these curious dolphins, we started travelling West, receiving after some minutes more good news from the lookout! Sperm Whales! 


We spotted the blows at distance and understood, right after our arrival, that one of the individuals was a big bull with a strange head shape (in fact, quite like a peanut) but we cannot be sure about what caused this huge mark. Together with this big male, there were (at least) more 6 other sperm whales travelling all together.



Did you know that sperm whales have big gender differences in body size and weight? Males can grow at least more 5m than the females and weight more 40 tons! Also, most often their heads have a hump because of all the spermaceti fluid, responsible for their strong echolocation clicks!



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