November 2017 Summary

November is definitely still an interesting month to go whale watching! With some migratory species around and the resident ones, we recorded a total of 8 cetacean species. These included:

Bottlenose (Tt), common (Dd), Risso’s (Gg) and Atlantic spotted dolphins (Sf) among the small species in the dolphin family, and short-finned pilot whales (Gma) among the largest of the dolphin family. Beaked whales (Zp) and sperm whales (Pm) among the deep divers and sei whales (Bb) among the migratory baleen whales:

November sightings (


Although during this month we were forced to stay on land for several days in a row due to poor weather conditions, the times we went out were worth it and well spent in the company of our aquatic friends. So today, while the wind blows and the rain pours down from the grey sky, we refresh our memory about the best moments 🙂

One of them was without a doubt when we tried to see a quite difficult sei whale. As already mentioned many times, baleen whales can be unpredictable in their movements, and especially when they are feeding. Sei whale are not an exception! So, being out in the ocean and knowing there is one individual around it cannot be guaranteed we will be able to spot it. However, this time we were lucky and our patience was repaid. The other memorable encounter having as protagonists sei whales was the one when one inquisitive individual approached the boat. So baleen whales can be challenging to spot, but eventually can be really rewarding! 😀


Baleen whale upside down, twisting and turning.


Patience is anyway the key word for spotting any wildlife species. Sperm whales, for example, with their prolonged dives, are really good “patience teachers”. Armed with expectations and hope to see beautiful flukes going down the sea surface, whale watchers often need to wait a while before this may happen in front of their eyes. Solitary sperm whales, mother and calf pairs or trios were the amazing sperm whales encounters of this month.


Sperm whale about to reach the deep blue


Luckily we have still around the Atlantic spotted dolphins, which with their sociable nature are much easier to meet. On especial encounter was with a huge group of spotted dolphins, including many calves and newborns, suggesting their calving period may not be totally over yet.


Breaching Atlantic spotted dolphin calf

Adults, juveniles and calf Atlantic spotted dolphins

Underwater close up of a beautiful Atlantic spotted dolphin


At last, but not least loggerhead turtle encounters brightened up our tours. These gentle flippered and shelled friends are loved by everyone!

We are very curious to see how it will be this upcoming December, and which surprises the ocean is hiding to us. For that, there is only a way to discover it … be ready to go out at sea and enjoy its unpredictability! 😀


Arianna Cecchetti

About Arianna Cecchetti

Arianna is a Marine Biologist and Guide at TERRA AZUL since 2009. Originally from Italy, she sees herself more as a world citizen. After a four years break for a Postgraduate course in the Azores Islands, she's back to enjoy guiding and collecting data for MONICET – The Azores Islands Cetaceans Research & Conservation long-term monitoring project.

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