What a great day! Today, as soon as we left the harbor we had the pleasure to find a very exciting group of common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). Common dolphins can be easily distinguished from other delphinid species by their distinct yellow and grey hourglass pattern along their sides, a dark black dorsal and a white belly.
We traveled a bit further to find the most emblematic species of Azores – Sperm whales, four of them! We were able to identify that all four were females, some looking quite young. Females are restricted to warmer waters and can be found in social family groups of around 12 individuals that are composed of adult females, their calves, and juveniles. While mature males range from the Arctic to the Antarctic. In the Azores, although they can be sighted all year round, the warmer summer months are the best to sight them.
On our way back to Ponta Delgada, we were told by our vigias (lookouts) that there was a very social group of Risso’s dolphins (Grampus griseus) around. Risso’s dolphins like the common dolphins and sperm whales can be found all year round here in the Azores. They can be distinguished by their robust build and rounded head, and by their extensive white body scars. They are born dark grey and accumulate more cars throughout their life until they are almost white at maturity. These scars may be caused by encounters with other Risso’s dolphins and from their major prey item, squid.
One of our boats also saw Spotted Atlantic dolphins (Stenella frontalis). This species is seen between June and December, with the highest sighting rates being around August, when the water is warmest. This group was very social and full of baby dolphins! Besides dolphins and whales, some of us were also able to see a Portuguese Man-Of-War (Physalia physalis). Join us on our next trip to see the wonderful marine wildlife of Azores.