[NoteBook] Whale Conservation Project – Azores
So what is this project about exactly? And what did we do?
The program, depending on the forecast, was: Going at sea in the morning with my 7 project companions and the owners of the whale watching and diving shop (both marine biologists), clean the boat, and have a lecture about whales in the afternoon, or a visit of the museums related to whales, sometimes play with a whale/dolphin/porpoise memory card game (really helpful to remember all their names!), or chilling at Peter’s (quite important after 4 hours at sea!).
These 2 weeks taught me so, so much! I learnt to do monitoring, to collect datas, how to take and edit pictures for the photo ID software, listened to the Sperm Whales with an hydrophone, and a lot of information about every species we met at sea.
As there are thousands of them living around the islands, the research here is mainly focused on the Sperm Whales. We met at least a dozen of them on every trip (usually the same ones), which the owners can very easily identify because of their marks and flukes. I was proud to spot the very first whale on our very first trip and lucky enough to see a breaching juvenile on my 2nd. For a few seconds, it looked like a flying submarine! I also met Bottlenose Dolphins, that I already saw before on a diving boat around Reunion Island, also huge pods of Common Dolphins, swimming around our boat, smaller pods of Stripped Dolphins, a shy species, and finally the cutests, the Risso’s Dolphins, easy to identify with a high dorsal, a lot of scratches, and the older ones almost completely white. My favourite whales are definitely baleen whales, and I felt very lucky to meet Sei Whales twice during my stay. Their size is impressive, so is their speed! But my last trip, was the most incredible… The skipper drove us full speed for about an hour towards the horizon keeping secret what he was looking for… When I saw this high, long, black dorsal and recognised it. 2 families of Orcas! 3 other boats were already there, and we could feel their excitement too. A juvenile, smaller and very curious, was swimming around each boat, and was so close to ours that its blowhole splashed me in the face! Spending 2 hours next to them was just amazing, but as we say in France, all good things have an end!.. Sea you soon beautiful whales!
⚓︎ The Whale Conservation Project
Ahoy Sailors & Mermaids! Welcome on Faial Island, in the Azores archipelago, where I booked a 2 weeks conservation project to learn more about whales and dolphins. The Azores is definitely the place to be if you wanna see a lot of different and beautiful species!
Are you ready?
A lot of Sperm Whales: Males, females, juveniles, breaching ones, lazy ones.
5 Sei Whales.
2 Bottlenose Dolphins.
Pods of Common Dolphins.
Pods of Striped Dolphins.
Pods of Risso’s Dolphins.
2 Orca families, at least 8 of them.
Many Man O War.
Date : 1st June 2019
Location : Horta, Faial island, The Azores
Whale Conservation Project