First Risso’s Dolphins of the Year! – 28/6/20

The 28th of June we went out with just one client. At 9:20 we left the harbour towards the South of Pico island as we had information about Risso’s Dolphins around that area. It was the first time four our passenger to see any dolphin or whale, so she was very excited! Moreover, there had not been any sighting of Risso’s dolphins so far!

The first sighting was 12 individuals, some juveniles but no calves. Afterwards, we started our search for Sperm whales, but we received a call: the lookout had spotted some baleen whale! We went towards that area and we found a Humpback whale very close to the shoreline. It is not common to see many Humpback whales here in the Azores as they are just in transit towards the feeding grounds in the North. The whale was traveling so it was diving and surfacing without aerial activity.

After a few dives, we went Westwards in order to find the Sperm whales that the lookout had spotted, there were 2 adults resting. They were shallow diving so no tail picture was possible to get. There were more Sperm whales in the area  so we circled a bit to find the other animals. But we found Risso’s instead, 22 individuals this time. Meanwhile, Pedro put the hydrophone to keep tracking the Sperm whales and once he heard the clicks, we went towards them.

They were 2 adults but with different sizes, they dived so we could take pictures to the tails for photo ID. We found one last Sperm Whale and Lisa, a sperm whale researcher of the island that comes with us often, told us that she had that individual identified and its first sighting was in 1989! Plus, the Humpback whale was identified too and it turns out that it spends the breeding season in Cape Verde! It was found there in 2003, 2015, 2016 and 2018! (Thanks to Lisa Steiner for sharing the information with us).

We arrived back at Horta after a great day out, cool matches and the first Risso’s dolphins sighting of the season!

-Maria from Azores Experiences

Pictures and details: Marta Riera from Azores Experiences

Acknowledges to Lisa Steiner and Biosphere Expeditions (https://www.biosphere-expeditions.org)

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