7 Species with Amazing Behaviors – 18/7/20

On the 18th of July we had a full day private tour: a Canadian-Belgian couple and our VIP guest Fred Buyle. The weather forecast was not the best, but the Azorean Summer is pretty special, so the cloudy day was not a surprise at all. Soon, the lookout from the South of Pico Island found a pod of Sperm Whales in a sheltered area and (of course) there was where we went.

The first surprise was that it was way less windy than we expected and that despite some clouds on top of the islands, the sea conditions were great.

Finding the first sperm whales was not difficult, and as soon as the first whale showed up, one of our passengers started crying. Tenderness filled the boat immediately: a dream was coming true. The sub-group was composed by 3 sperm whales that gave us a nice sighting. They turned around, pointing their heads at us and then they left in a shallow dive.

A few minutes before, the lookout had spotted a baleen whale and we decided to try to find it. And sure we did! It was a Sei Whale, diving around 5 minutes and blowing 3 times, pretty predictable. We followed it for a while and then we left.

We had information about Northern Bottlenose Whales in the area for a few days, so we were trying to get sharper directions from anyone that had seen them. Along the way, we found a couple of Bottlenose DOLPHINS and then something bigger and darker: False Killer Whales. In the beginning of the sighting it was difficult to follow them, they were spread and surfacing little. But then, one got curious and started approaching our boat non-stop. It was coming from the right side directly to the engine, play for a while with the bubbles from the propeller, swimming ahead towards the front-left side of the boat and leaving and coming back after a few minutes. It did it again and again over 5 times. It was terrific.

We wanted to see some more sperm whales, so we began our sperm-whale-searching again. And we found a small one: a young juvenile. We were enjoying it and suddenly it dived. And Pedro shouted: it may jump! It may jump! And the whale jumped… 6 times!

When we though that the sighting couldn’t get any better, the same young whale approached our boat and brought the head out in order to click on us. We could hear the clicking from our seats. It was a magic moment.

The whale joined an adult that had just surfaced and then continued its way offshore. We stayed with the adult and it approached us too! Moved a bit and tail slapped once. Stayed at the surface for a while and dived.

Following the perfect synchronization of the day, the lookout spotted the Northern Bottlenose Whales that we were waiting for, and again, a perfect sighting: around 15 individuals socializing. They were blowing synchronously which made them look like a herd of horses. To ad the cherry at the cake, there was a tiny calf between them. It was the cutest thing.

After a while, we left them and found striped dolphins, the fastest dolphins in the Azores, always speeding up, 2 loggerhead sea-turtles and two groups of friendly Atlantic spotted dolphins to finish the trip.

At 4:10pm we arrived at Horta after more than 7 hours at the sea, feeling the luckiest people on Earth.

-Maria Serra from Azores Experiences (Author and pictures)

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