August 2016 Statistic Report

On the map above, we can see the spatial distribution of our sightings during the month of August along the South coast of São Miguel ?

[NOTE: To see the interactive map please visit]

We sighted 10 different species of Cetaceans and 1 species of marine turtles!!

Of these, Three were Toothed whales: Sperm whales (Pm) and Sowerby’s Beaked whales (Mb) and Cuvier’s beaked whales (Zca);

Seven species were Dolphins: Bottlenose dolphins (Tt), Risso’s dolphins (Gg), Striped dolphins (Sc), Short-finned pilot whales (Gma), Common dolphins (Dd)  and Atlantic Spotted dolphins (Sf);

And, finally, one species of turtle: Loggerhead turtle (Cc).

Sighted Species - August

Sighted Species – August

It has been a rough month weather wise. We had to cancel lot of days due to the weather and ocean conditions. So on the days that we could go out we took advantage of all the time we had available, and it paid off! We had some amazing sightings.

But the highlight of the month was definitely a Swimming with Dolphins with Risso’s dolphins!

They are usually a bit shy but on the 31st of August they let us swim with them, a group of about 9 to 10 individuals.

Risso’s dolphins can reach between 3 to 3,8 meters and weigh 300 to 500 kilos. When newborns they are 1,3 to 1,7 meters.  Their lifespan is of about 35 years.

Their skin becomes white with age. The calves and juveniles are darker with a dark grey to brownish color.

Body scarring its extensive caused by teeth marks from confrontations with other Risso’s or other species.

Risso’s are known to breach, lobtail, flipper slap and to spyhop. And usually don’t approach boats.

Dives are usually between 1 or 2 minutes, but are capable of diving up to 30 minutes and down to 300 meters in depth. When diving they may show the fluke. Although they can make such deep dives, they tend to feed at night, when their prey is closer to the surface (main diet is cephalopods).

And now September is starting with a small tropical storm that has grounded us again for a few days, but hopefully it will pass quickly and not affect our visit to the whales and dolphins so much!

So stay tuned for more updates from us! 😀


Stephanie Almeida

About Stephanie Almeida

Stephanie is Guide at TERRA AZUL since 2013 and Operations Assistant since 2017. Contributed for several years on Data collection for MONICET – The Azores Islands Cetaceans Research & Conservation long-term monitoring project.

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