We started our tour with some very shy Risso’s dolphins. Luckily the sea state close to shore was almost a mirror so their tall dorsal fins could be easily spotted, while they were randomly surfacing. Later we found a huge group of common dolphins fast racing while foraging in association with shearwaters. They were cutting the surface creating a V-shape water movement and the dorsal fin was the only visible part of their body. Other groups of common dolphins were instead quite active and you could see them jumping and head-slapping, and from distance they seemed spotted dolphins as we are used to associate the more action to these little dolphins. The spotted were actually encountered later in the day in large numbers as usual.

common dolphins mother and calf


At some point our lookout André directed us to see some… false killer whales! 😀 It was already a while we didn’t see them, as they tend to appear in the Azores on a random basis throughout the spring and summer. We went in the area where André saw them and waited, when all of the sudden we could hear a blow behind us and there it was: a curious false killer whale which was checking the boat engine. It kept surfacing behind and to the side of the boat, as well as swimming belly up underneath it. false killer whales, which are large members of the dolphin family, are not shy as the Risso’s dolphins and are known to often bow-ride and being inquisitive. We stayed with this individual, or better the individual stayed with us until it decided there was nothing else to check about the boat 😀

false killer whale while surfacing next to the boat

Later on we found a highly energetic and dense group of Bottlenose dolphins. One individual had a white mark on his dorsal fin and we figured its a known member of the group that we already knew. When they have marks, scratches or bite marks on their dorsal fins they are quiet easy to identify.


We also saw a turtle today 😉 Let’s see how it will be tomorrow, and if the false killer whales will be still around. Stay tuned!

Arianna Cecchetti

About Arianna Cecchetti

Arianna is a Marine Biologist and was Main Guide at TERRA AZUL since 2009, and Technical & Scientific Director until 2018. Originally from Italy, she sees herself more as a world citizen. Arianna deserves the very best, and we hope she can come back to share her passion for the sea with us again.

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