Update from our volunteer vacation / conservation holiday protecting whales, dolphins and turtles around the Azores archipelago (www.biosphere-expeditions.org/azores)

Due to bad weather at sea, Sunday was a shore day for the group. Seven of us – Manuel, Flávio, Mónica, Diana, Sue, Lisa and I – spent our morning alongside the locals in Almoxarife participating in Faial’s Beach Clean.

Organised every year, teams of volunteers meet at the island’s beaches to pick up debris that’s either been washed up from the Atlantic or left behind by locals. At the end of the two-hour clean, all the trash is piled up in the centre of town as a monument to the volunteers’ efforts. It’s amazing what a big difference a few volunteers can make. And I admit, it was really an honour to work alongside the Faialenses and be able to give back to this beautiful island community where we are privileged to work.

Yesterday, Monday, well, I just have to say well done Team Three! It was a difficult day at sea with a rocking boat and challenging sea conditions. We had two long encounters with two blue whales, totalling four animals to add to the catalogue. En route to a group of sperm whales we saw a small group of Risso’s dolphins.

Before we arrived at the sperm whales, a report of a humpback whale came in. When this changed to TWO humpbacks, we changed our course and went down to photograph them. They were actually at the mouth of the harbour – at one point only about 100 meters off of Monte da Guia. They were magnificent to watch, with their 5 meter long flippers that we could see under water.

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Update from our volunteer vacation / conservation holiday protecting whales, dolphins and turtles around the Azores archipelago

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