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Today’s afternoon trips were among the best of this summer! The ocean was extremely smooth, almost like a layer of oil. As they say in Portuguese: ‘Mar azeite’, which means ‘Olive oil sea’. Our colleagues on Ribeira Brava managed to see the rare Risso’s Dolphins. And on Stenella, we saw a group of five sperm whales.
Our spotter had spotted the sperm whales at an impressive distance of 13.6 nm. As our captain Daniel informed us: “We are as far offshore now as the width of the island at its widest point.” A new record for the summer.
The whales were scattered around and calm. One male sperm whale dove down, putting his fluke high up in the air. Then, a mother approached with a calf. The mother dove down, leaving her baby at the surface. The baby – looking for its mother – came to the boat to see if we were maybe the beloved sperm whale he was looking for. As he touched the plastic pontoons of Stenella, it was soon clear we weren’t, but he stayed very close nevertheless.
I’d never seen a whale so close. Even all our guests were very quiet. He was rotating in the water, turning his eye to the side to look directly at me and Daniel, who were right next to him, less than half a meter away. He then kept rotating further, until his beak was turned upwards out of the water. His skin was rubbery and waved in wide wrinkles. After a couple of minutes, the young whale swam off again. Daniel smiled and said “This is the best encounter with a sperm whale I have had.”
As far as whale watching goes, what more could we wish for? A definite amazing encounter.
by Judith Kok
We have made an underwater video of the young whale, which you can find on our youtube channel: