Our First Quarantine Expedition – 13/5/20

After 2 months of lockdown, no marine activity at all and eager to sail, our chance arrived under the name of Biosphere Expeditions, an NGO founded in 1999 that fights for a more sustainable planet through empowering ordinary people to help with wildlife conservation and research.

Without customers but with the researcher Lisa Steiner onboard, we were blessed to go out with research purposes. Risso, our zodiac, was more than ready to do so! It was a rainy day, not a big deal but sprinkle. We met at our base in the morning fully equipped and ready to spend the day at the Sea.

This time we are covering the South of Pico and Faial, were the lookout Antero is helping us to find the blows. He spots two big blows that belong to baleen whales, but due to the rain, he cannot find them anymore. We are patrolling the area looking for whales and after an hour we finally spot one Sperm whale. Unfortunately, it surfaced too quickly for us to take any useful picture, but we are happy to see whales anyway.

More search, directional hydrophone to follow the clicks and find the whales. Finally we see more Sperm whales, 4 more whales not far away from us. We can approach them perfectly to collect their diving information and pictures for photo ID.

It is lunch time now so we take a break and just when we are back on track, Antero spots the baleen whales again, close to Faial. We decide to try to find them as we have good data of the Sperm whales.

Along the way we find a pod of Common dolphins, resident Azorean dolphins. They bowride the boat and draw a smile at everyone’s face. Despite our effort and Antero’s, we cannot find the baleen whales due to the rain.

After 67 miles covered, we arrived back to Horta. Tired but happy.

– Maria from Azores Experiences

Pictures and details given by Marta from Azores Experiences

Thanks to https://www.biosphere-expeditions.org and Lisa Steiner

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