A WHALE OF A TIME
22 June 2018 | afternoon whale watching boat trip
IMAGE – various images - some mine - some for whale watching company website
Another of the very enjoyable activities arranged for the OCC Rally participants was Whale Watching boat trips.
On Friday afternoon 22nd June a group of 20 sailors piled into a big rib for our on-the-water adventure. We were led by a local Marine Biologist, skippered by Mike, a born and bred young local guy, from a whaling family and Pirate the dog as our on-board spotter.
James and I have experienced whales VERY close to our boat in the French Island of Martinique in the Eastern Caribbean – so this was a less stressful experience.
We had a fast and wet rib ride out to into the deep Atlantic ocean waters between Faial and Pico Islands - all for that moment of silent exhilaration to glimpse a whale – and we were not disappointed.
These Azorean waters are FULL of whales, due to the very deep Atlantic waters and the abundance of krill for feeding during April and October. Because the volcanic islands have sheer drops very close to land the whales can easily be seen both from the mountain sides and not too far out to sea.
Our guide was very experience and knowledgeable and our skipper was in constant VHF radio and mobile phone contact with land-based spotters. They were keen for us to experience and see as much whale activity as possible. We were informed that the cliff-top spotters could see at least 12 whales in our path –possibly a family group.
It was not long before we could see off in the distance tell-tale signs of whales in the area - blowhole spouts.
Our rib came slowly and carefully close to clearly see smooth, torpedo-like forms of a few surfacing sperm whales.
We did see one or two whales breaching out of the water AND the odd tail appearing as whales around us went for a deep dive.
Numerous Cory’s shearwaters birds dived and played close to the water and provided a great aerial display.
It was yet another wonderful opportunity to experience nature here in the Azores.