October 2017 Summary

Autumn is definitely here! and although in the ocean you won’t likely see the typical red and yellow colours that tinge most of the landscapes at this time of the year, you can still tell it is autumn from the sightings.

October recorded various cetaceans species, 9 to be exact, and baleen whales were among these. Autumn is the second period for baleen whales to pass in the Azores, as they are on their way back from the feeding grounds located at higher latitudes. They are now heading towards their breeding grounds in the warmer subtropical and tropical waters (smart whales! 😉 ) to reproduce and give birth.

Frequency of the nine species sighted during October and relative distribution map (www.monicet.net)


Sei whales and fin whales were recorded on consecutive days until the mid of the month. We then had Ophelia visiting us with its strong winds and rain, which forced us to stay on land for at least one week. This prevented us to check if baleen whales were still around. No worries though, we were also accompanied by sperm whales which in the last two days gifted us with really nice encounters and with one adult breaching four times.

Synchronized dives for these two sperm whales


On one occasion we had a surprising encounter with false killer whales, surprising because this is not a species we see on a regular basis, so each encounter becomes special. They are also very good in turning any encounter special with their active and curious behaviour. Beside false killer whales we could enjoy the company of the rest of the great variety of dolphins with the common dolphins leadering the group in terms of sighting frequency.

Common dolphin

Diving sperm whales

Juvenile Atlantic spotted dolphin


In this post you can find the best captures of the month. Enjoy! 🙂

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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