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Viewing the World from a Two-Wheeled Perspective

Biosphere Project Azores 2014 – Summary

Posted by on Jun 22, 2014 in Azores | Comments Off on Biosphere Project Azores 2014 – Summary

We had a stellar year this year in the Azores–so many sightings! Even though the seas were quite rough the animals came out in record numbers for us. Some days it was all we could do to keep up with the sightings and the paperwork–I guess that’s a good thing. Here are the  final stats for all three groups combined: Bottlenose dolphins – 8 encounters totalling 60 animals Common dolphins – 62 encounters totalling 1429 animals Risso’s dolphins – 8 encounter totalling 82 animals Fin whales – 20 encounters totalling 36 animals Sei whales – 21 encounters totalling 37 animals Blue whales – 19 encounters totalling 25 animals Humpback whales – 5 encounters with 5 individuals Sperm whales – 91 encounters totalling 276 animals and Loggerhead turtles – 11 encounters with 11 individuals Leatherback turtles – 1 encounter with 1...

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April 21 Biosphere Expeditions Diary

Posted by on May 5, 2014 in Azores | Comments Off on April 21 Biosphere Expeditions Diary

21 April Team 2 arrived and we spent our first (half) day at sea. Five minutes out we encountered a pod of common dolphins, and five minutes after that, five bottlenose dolphins. The lookouts had advised us that they saw baleen whales south of Pico, and sure enough; our first whale encounter was with a blue whale! We had unbelievably good fortune and right at the end of that encounter we encountered another. Then repeat; it happened again. In all, we had five separate encounters with blue whales, with at least three individuals! The highlight of the day (as if three blue whales isn’t a highlight), we spent one encounter with TWO blue whales swimming side by side, perhaps 100 metres from the boat. It was a thrilling experience, and a rare one for even the experienced sea hands on...

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April 16 Biosphere Expeditions Diary

Posted by on May 4, 2014 in Azores | Comments Off on April 16 Biosphere Expeditions Diary

16 April Monday the sun smiled on us as we went in search of the baleen whales that our vigia (lookout) had spotted, and we were rewarded with three fin whales; a mother, its calf and another individual. Seeing them glide through the water, skins glistening in the sunlight, you could see how the ancient fishermen would liken them to massive sea serpents. After they left, we found a pod of rather uncooperative female sperm whales who refused to show their flukes. Eventually we got a few good ID pictures, and I can’t say it was a hardship to hang out and wait for them to behave properly. Later in the day we encountered a loggerhead turtle, which we caught and tagged. We also saw a blue shark, a swordfish, a school of jumping tuna, a pod of bottlenose...

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April 13 Biosphere Expeditions Diary Entry

Posted by on Apr 24, 2014 in Azores | Comments Off on April 13 Biosphere Expeditions Diary Entry

13 April With wind from the east on Saturday, the swell was large. We all bundled up into our Buffs and waterproofs and braced ourselves for it. As we crashed through the waves we encountered our first pod of Risso’s dolphins with their distinctive beakless faces and white markings. Duncan, our reluctant photographer for the day, managed to capture an amazing photo of a Risso’s as it turned course towards the boat. We then moved on to a pod of huge bachelor male sperm whales, and had a whopping 26 encounters with them! We identified six different individuals. It was really difficult to document them in the rough weather, but the team did an excellent job. We returned to port cold and wet, yet very satisfied. Well done everyone! Sunday morning was spent at base camp learning how to...

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April 11 Biosphere Diary Entry

Posted by on Apr 17, 2014 in Azores | Comments Off on April 11 Biosphere Diary Entry

Wednesday we had good weather for our first full day at sea. The lookouts told us there were sperm whales to the north of Faial, and so that’s where we headed first thing. We stayed with 8 sperm whales at least half the day, cataloging at least 5 individual whales.   We then moved on to transect work, and were lucky enough to see a pod of striped dolphins doing their characteristic carousel thing. We got lucky and their course change brought them quite close to the Physeter, and we were able to see the wee ones flying through the air alongside the adults. Kasia got a great photo.           Thursday was a shore day; half the team went diving (brrrrr!) and saw octopus and moray eels for their pains, while the other half trekked...

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First Day at Sea – April 9 (Diary Entry)

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in Azores | Comments Off on First Day at Sea – April 9 (Diary Entry)

9 April   Team 1 arrived last week, and  our first day at sea we were quite successful even though the first day is only a half day. We caught and tagged two loggerhead turtles – a wee one and a larger one. Scientist Lisa obviously has had a great deal of practice netting these fellows, because they both were already diving before we could get close.   We also saw a sperm whale, a fin whale, scores of common dolphins and met the resident troupe of bottlenose dolphins. The sea was relatively calm, yet the overcast light conditions made spotting blows and spotting floating sperm whales quite difficult. We knew where the sperm whales were, and even put the hydrophone in the water to confirm it, yet somehow they eluded us. We heard at least four of them...

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