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

If our first day at sea was about diversity (with blue, sperm and humpback whales; not to mention the common and bottlenose dolphins), our second day was all about intensity.

After the obligatory turtle sighting from Carlos (winning the prize for the first spot of the day), common dolphins were again added to the sightings list, but this time with calves. Our lookouts (Anthony and Simon) then proved their worth with a dolphin shout that turned out to be Risso’s, again with calves. With hieroglyphic scratches covering their bodies, this not only makes them distinctive, but also gives a window on their history.

Risso’s dolphin sighted off Pico Island – the scratch marks on the dorsal fin aids identification. Picture courtesy of Craig Turner.
Risso’s dolphin sighted off Pico Island – the scratch marks on the dorsal fin aids identification. Picture courtesy of Craig Turner.

Body art was also a theme for the part of the day, as we observed the ‘chevron patterns’ of several fin whales – these markings behind the head are partly used to identify individuals.

IMG_8791
Trying to identify a fin whale from its chevron markings. Picture courtesy of Craig Turner.

The afternoon was reserved for sperm whales by the dozen. Keeping the team busy recording blow rates and fluke photographs for identification of individuals. Several of the females observed were also with calves. There must be something in the water!

Until tomorrow.

Craig


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

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