Killer whales, on the same date as last year!


There was a good chance that Killer Whales (Orca’s) would visit us anytime soon, as for the past weeks they had been seen in the islands of Pico and Faial, the central group, several times. But we are never sure, as some years they skip…

There was this special energy in the water and the wind again today, that made us believe they could really be here when our lookout Filipe spotted something unusual this morning. But of course we never get our hopes up until we are on the spot. And there they were, 8 miles out and 30 minutes later. Starting with a group of 4 Killer whales, consisting of 2 large males, 1 calve and 1 female.


Killer whale – Orcinus orca


Killer whale – Orcinus orca


Killer whale – Orcinus orca


Killer whale – Orcinus orca


During the more or less 45 minutes we stayed with them, their group size was increasing upto about 10 individuals. They must have been 2 or 3 large males, at least 2 calves and several females. The males are the ones with the huge sword-like dorsal fins that can reach 2 meters straight into the air. The females have a more or less moon-shape, smaller fin, and calves also have this moon-shape but reach their form when they grow up.



Killer whale – Orcinus orca


The interesting thing was that last year, we saw the Killer whales on the same date! Actually they arrived then on 30-04-2017, but for sure yesterday (30-04-2018) they were either already here or arriving! In 2012 the same thing happened, they were sighted here only twice that year, being on 01-05-2012, just as today. This makes us think there are at least 2 different pods passing through our waters over the years, one of them having a very specific and set pattern. This is a beautiful example of nature’s biological clock, and good to know for us, so next year on this date we will keep our eyes wide open, just in case it is one of those years again!


Honestly happy!


Actually we saw even more species today! In the morning there were also 3 Fin whales breathing synchronized on the surface a couple of times, 3 tiny Sperm whales calves with mom missing, and a group of Bottlenose dolphins. In the afternoon there were Bottlenose dolphins, Common dolphins, and upto 12 Sperm whales! This time the calves were there and luckily their mothers too 🙂

Do you think tomorrow can beat a day like this? Nature does it every time!


About Milou

Milou is Marine Biologist, and was Marine Wildlife Guide at TERRA AZUL from 2010 to 2019. She is from Holland, and is passionate about being out in the ocean with wildlife, informing visitors, and collecting field imagery and data for local Cetaceans and Sea Turtles Research & Conservation projects.

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