The “red group” of sperm whales sticks around

Today we started our day with our lookouts telling our skippers that the visibility was not the best and that they were only able to see dolphins. But once again, Azores weather surprised us, and soon we had amazing visibility, all through the horizon. And to add to this amazing visibility, we also saw a wonderful rainbow. What does the story say? That at the end of the rainbow there is a bucket full of gold.

This time we didn’t found the bucket, but we were surprised with three species of cetaceans, including two very well-known individuals by Futurismo. First, we went to look for the bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) that our lookouts saw from the land.

When was the time of whaling, here in the Azores, there used to be people on land called “vigias”, lookouts in English, that would stay on land and help fishermen finding the whales. They would let them know where the whales were through smoke signs. Nowadays, there are more technologies and there is no need for smoke signs, but lookouts still help find the animals, so we can go and enjoy what nature has to offer.

Bottlenose dolphins is one of the resident species of the Azores and one of the biggest species of dolphins that we can find here. In this group, we saw Halfie, a bottlenose dolphin that only has half of its fluke. The group bow rode with us and socialized a lot. What a friendly group!

It was time to leave the bottlenose dolphins and go and look for more animals. As soon as we left the group, our biologists and skipper saw some blows – sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) were on sight!

And not any sperm whales, but a group of them that we know as the “red group”. How do we know this? Because Futurismo biologists do photo identification and are already able to identify some of the individuals of this group, one of them very well known as “Orca”. No, it’s not a real orca, but a female sperm whale that has a whitish patch on its back near the dorsal hump, just like orcas! Around 10 individuals were in the surrounding areas, of which a very playful newborn sperm whale.

We are now at the end of the breeding season, and so it’s the best time to see these little babies. The group consists of females and their juveniles and calves. Female sperm whales live in family groups, while adult males are solitary animals, only joining other sperm whales for specific events such as breeding.

After a good time with this fantastic group of sperm whales, we started our way back to Ponta Delgada, but Azores waters were not yet done with us and presented us with another species of dolphins, this time a seasonal one, the Atlantic Spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis).

This species can be found in the Azores between June and December, being more often sighted in the summer. They come here due to the warmer waters of the Azores to reproduce and give birth. And guess what we saw? Babies and two newborns! Another playful group of dolphins that joined our boat, bow riding and socializing and delighting everyone on board.
What a day! We couldn’t ask for better. Join us on our trips and come find all the wonders that the Azores have to give.

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