Have you seen blue whale

Whale watching on Pico - the best Azores island for blue whales, fin whales, sperm whales

For all whale and dolphin fans, the Azores are the travel destination in Europe. The island of Pico in particular offers the best opportunities to observe the largest animals on our planet - blue whales, fin whales, sperm whales, humpback whales - very closely. Let yourself be inspired by the Azores highlight whale watching on Pico & many great photos.

From late March to late June, the chances are extremely good that largest & heaviest animal, the blue whale in the Watch the waters off Pico to be able to. All year round romp around here, among other things Sperm whales, lots Dolphins, Sea turtles and some more whales are observed seasonally.

The fascinating, widely acclaimed Whale watching tours of Espaço Talassa in Lajes do Pico offer breathtaking, unforgettable whale & dolphin encounters.

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The Azores island Pico for me definitely belongs to the most beautiful islands in the Azores archipelago. Especially the youngest on the Azores island is thrilling breathtaking landscapes, one special friendliness & fascinating marine wildlife.

Lajes do Pico is the Whale watching address on the Azores. Already very close to the coast of Pico, a depth of 500 to over 1000 m is measured - an ideal terrain and hunting ground for whales and dolphins.

The first commercial outings to Whale watching start in the Azores Late March / early April - always depending on the weather, of course. After a full 7 days on the Atlantic as part of Biosphere Expeditions without any whale sighting and only two dolphin sightings, I wish for nothing more than to be able to finally experience the giants of the sea 3 weeks later on Pico.

 

Whale watching on Pico with Espaço Talassa - boats, briefing, service - all great!

I'm very lucky, because during my last few days on the Azores island of Pico, Espaço Talassa started the whale watching boat trips.

Espaço Talassa was created in 1989 from the encounter between a former whaler João Vigia and the sailor Serge Viallelle, who ended up in this archipelago. In 1995 the BOCA (Base d’Observation des Cétacés des Açores), the Observation station for whales and dolphins, inaugurated directly on the port promenade of Lajes.

The most whale watching on the coast of Pico are called Half day trips with a duration of 3 hours plus briefing offered.

Exemplary: Serge Viallelle, now known as the “whale pope”, as the owner of Espaço Talassa, has imposed many behaviors around the Influence of boats on the Animals and on the Nature as minimal as possible to keep.

 

Briefing before the whale watching trip

The meeting point before the start of the tour is the Espaço Talassa shop, which also has an extensive library on the sea creatures of the Azores.

There is one as part of a PowerPoint presentation brief outline to History of whaling on Pico and to the Whales, dolphins and Sea turtlestypically seen on a boat tour.

A Whale sighting guarantee or Refund warrantyif no whales appear, there is not any. Supposedly 99% of the time, if the whales do not appear, at least dolphins, sea turtles and other sea creatures will be sighted.

 

Espaço Talassa boats: fast, manoeuvrable hard-bottom rubber boats

After the briefing, each of the expectant boat tour participants will receive a suitable, easy one Rain jacket (optional) and a Life jacket.

Then it goes to the port and to the Hard-bottom rubber boats. Their speed and agility can be seen from afar. Find on the boats max. 12 people in two rows of seats Place. For Cameras recommends a waterproof bag to take with you.

Tip for the best sitting position for taking photos: the rearmost bench! The reason is that you can stand here at every stop, possibly take a step to the side, and can stand when driving slowly.

These boats are not recommended for pregnant women and people with severe back problems - depending on the weather and waves.

 

Whale observation post "Vigia da Queimada"

The many are typical of the Azores Islands Whale watching postthat still Leftover the Whaling times are. The whale observation post, which is also used by Espaço Talassa, is only a short distance away above of the small town Lajes on a hill.

Of the Vigia da Queimada (port .: vigia = guard) can almost all of the south coast of Pico as well as approx. 30 km across the Atlantic away to the south. It couldn't be better! When whale watchers then see the meter-high fountains of the whales or the waving of their tail fin, this information is passed on to the boats.

You can use it to steer the boats so that they can be distributed to the respective sightings, because more than two boats per whale or group of whales are not allowed.

These environmentally friendly way the Whale information is only possible because here the Whales in the immediate vicinity of the Coast by. This also makes the boat trips much cheaper than e.g. in Australia, where sometimes helicopters are used to look out for whales.

 

Dolphin and whale watching on Pico

On the Azores are approx. 30-35 different species of dolphins and whales counted been. Some of them live here all year round, others only roam the Azores for a longer or short period of time during their migration from south to north and back.

Since our whale scout has not yet seen any whales, we first move along the coast of Pico to see what is going on here. We are lucky and after a few minutes we meet my favorite dolphins in the Azores.

 

Risso's Dolphin or Round Head Dolphins (Grampus griseus)

TheRound head dolphin, also from the English asRisso Dolphin known, lives in the Azores all year above. The probability of meeting him is quite high.

He's on his distinctive round head and his scratched, scarred back very easy to identify. The round head dolphin - Risso's Dolphin - can be up to 4 meters long and weighs a maximum of 650 kg.

The Risso Babies are silver-gray at first and are called Young animals then completely dark. By Fightswithin their groups they attract more and more over the years scratch to that then as white scars remain and no longer darken. Some of the scars are also from fights with sharks or giant squids.

The Round head dolphins will be in Age increasingly white. That's why many locals call them joking"Michael Jackson Dolphins".

 

Portuguese galley (Physalia physalis) - Tiny sailing warships

I saw them on the drive here, but they passed so quickly that I couldn't give them any meaning: they Portuguese galleys or in English Portuguese Man o ‘War or Man of War.

How tiny, super well camouflaged warships sail themost poisonous jellyfish in the world on the Atlantic. It takes its name from those heavily armed and fatal in the 16th to 19th centuriesWar galley sailing ships called "Man of War" that crossed the oceans.

Indeed it is Portuguese galley a small warship full of dangerous weapons. The Portuguese galley is one of theSea bubbles (Physalia) belonging to the State jellyfish is counted. What looks like a single jellyfish is a whole colony from each other dependent polyps (several thousand)that each specialized in certain tasks such as food intake, reproduction, defense or the training of catch threads.

The "sail“The Portuguese galley will only in wind set up. Your bluish gas bubble (therefore also Blue bottle called) wobbles back and forth on the water to moisten itself again and again. In the event of danger, the Portuguese galley can submerge in seconds. Small specimens like here - approx. 10 cm - usually have 15-20 m long tentacles, the larger ones up to 50 m long, highly poisonous tentacles!

I am very proud of this photo with which I take the fascinating beauty this Portuguese galley including tentacles despite the wobbly boat.

So as beautiful as these Portuguese galleys look when they're in the water, you shouldn't be there. The super severe pain & the burns (1000 nettle cells per cm) caused by a Poison cocktail of different proteins a healthy adult can survive, but it can lead to shock in allergy sufferers. Attention: even the Tentacles of dead Portuguese galleys at the beach nettles still!

 

Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) - the biggest, the hardest

While I am still following the sailing of Portuguese galleys, our skipper receives a radio message. He asks us to sit down again and then we shoot out into the Atlantic. Blue whales have been spotted!

From a distance we can already see her up to 9 m high blower. Our boat slows down until we do gigantic blue whale see some distance in front of us. Blue whales usually reach a body length of 26 to a maximum of 33 meters and weighing up to 200 tons! This makes the blue whale the heaviest animal that has ever lived on our planet.

I am completely paralyzed with amazement and enthusiasm. I can't even pull out the camera because I'm afraid the moment won't repeat itself. So I enjoy the first times when this blue whale appears in front of us, as if in a trance. I don't hear anything or anyone, just stare at the water.

Only after surfacing for the third time do I pull out my camera to finally capture this majestic marine mammal - or rather a small part of it - in photos.

The Blue whales consider themselves to be 4-6 breaths at the surface to then usually for approx. 12 minutes of the To submerge the surface of the water - sometimes up to 20 minutes. When the blue whale has disappeared, we chug somewhere at swimming speed, because who knows in which direction the blue whale will move underwater.

We see this blue whale again after a few minutes. Goosebumps again, amazement and a lot of respect for this one gigantic marine mammals. Since Espaço Talassa has imposed itself to protect the whales not to follow a whale more than 2-3 times, we say goodbye to this individual.

We are lucky and our skipper has already been told where another blue whale specimen is. This time, completely fascinated, I want to record the ascent and descent as a video. However, I follow the blue whale in my viewfinder so spellbound that I don't notice that while standing in the boat in a windy, shaky position, I accidentally ended the video in the middle of it. Pity!

Watch blue whales is unfortunately completely under the motto: "Even a beautiful (partial) back can delight". Adults Blue whales are too difficultto "breach" like the sporty, agile humpback whales, i.e. out of the Shoot water out.

What can be seen from a boat is mostly just the blow and then that the eternally long back wandering byon which in the last third the Dorsal fin can be seen that just once measures almost 50 cm and thus tiniest. A tiny dorsal fin is another clear distinguishing feature of the blue whale.

Because blue whales usually only come in one Dive up and down at a flat angle, are with them also very much Rare theirs Caudal fins, fluketo see and if so, then only when diving into the depths. So I was so amazed to see the fluke here that I could hardly pull out the camera in a hurry. The Caudal fin is like that by the way wide like our boat long!

The blue whale is a Baleen whale (Family Furrow whales). The color of his skin on the back is blue-gray and varies from lighter blue-gray to dark slate-gray. The belly is whitish to yellowish. The blue whale is easy to recognize by its spotty speckles on back and on the flanks. This mottling takes the reflective blue tones of the water and the heavens, what the blue whale his colloquial names has given.

In the (our) winter months, the blue whales that can be found in the eastern Atlantic live in the polar waters near Antarctica (southern hemisphere summer). Then food is the order of the day. A blue whale with its whiskers filters an estimated 40 million small crustaceans per day with a total weight of easily 3.5 tons out of the water. In spring it moves north to its mating grounds. In the summer months he hardly eats at all and lives on his fat reserves.

 

Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) - Greyhound of the Seas

When we watched 3 blue whales for what felt like a long time, our skipper discovered a fin whale in the immediate vicinity. We are slowly driving towards the fin whale.

The Fin whale is also one of the Furrow whales, but lies just behind the blue whale in almost all disciplines: it measures approx. 20-24 m in length, the height of its bladder is lower, as is the size of the fluke & daily feed. His body is extremely slim and he brings up to 70 max. 100 tons significantly less weight on the scales.

But the little-known, eternally second is also there considerably faster than the blue whale - instead of up to 30 km / h with the blue whale, the fin whale reaches up to 47 km / h, which makes it the "Greyhound of the Seas" makes.

Seen from our small boat, the size doesn't really make a difference, because both are just mega big. Because the fin whale is absolutely impressive, fascinating, majestic and no less beautiful to look at.

The back of fin whales is dark gray to blackish brown. The belly is colored white. You can be absolutely sure Fin whales about their asymmetrical coloring in the Jaw area can be identified: the lower jaw on the right is white, but on the left it is dark. This coloring extends to the beards as well. The interior of the mouth and tongue are reversed in color. The fin whale wears its ying & yang so that everyone can see it on its face.

It is not only the color of the back that distinguishes it from the blue whale, but also that considerably larger dorsal fin. The angle of ascent and immersion in fin whales is greater, i.e. the chances of seeing the head and the fluke are greater. However, our two fin whales didn't want to show their heads or fluke. Since they are much lighter than the blue whales, you can do them extremely rare also watch them get out of the Breaching water and how they hit the surface of the water with a violent bang.

The good: the probability one Fin whale to be encountered 10 times bigger than one blue whale to meet. But when they finally submerge, they are simply much faster and our two specimens were then as if swallowed by the sea.

Like blue whales, fin whales live from pole to pole in all seas and also migrate regularly between warm latitudes in winter and colder latitudes in summer. The Populations from the Mix north here too Not with the Populations from the south.

 

Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) - Greatest predator on earth

Sperm whales (engl. Sperm Whale) are also found in all oceans. Unlike blue whales and fin whales, here are the larger ones male known for to hike long distances and sometimes up to thePolar regions to advance.

The Associations from females and young animals, on the other hand, focus on tropical and subtropical areas and are also on the Azores all year round to find.

Sperm whales are from everyone Big whales but also the single with teeth - family of Toothed whales - and with it the largest toothed predator in the world. Should this make you feel uncomfortable? No, definitely not. They pull the lukewarm lumps of meat in small inflatable boats, clearly the giant squids - giant squid - in Ocean depths of up to 1000 m in front. Stomach findings confirm that they even do Dive up to 3000 m depth can. How awesome is that!

Even at that weird bladder ejected to the left and very massive tail with the triangular fluke sperm whales are very easy to spot.

There the sperm whales Dive for 20 to 100+ minutes, they can appear anywhere and at any time. The sperm whales are relatively easy on hersenormous, almost rectangular head to identify who is up to one Third of their total length can make out.

Despite 7 days in the Atlantic near Faial in search of sperm whales and 2 boat trips to observe elections on Pico (their favorite coast), I unfortunately did not see a sperm whale. Sperm whales use for orientation and Foraging exclusively one form ofEcholocation. With hydrophones you can hear these clicks on the surface and use them to determine your position. But that doesn't help if they don't want to show up.

 

Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) - acrobats & gifted singers

The Humpback whales (engl. Humpback whale) are mainly due to theirWhale song and yours Vivacity known with which she gracefully her acrobatic feats show and let every whale fan inspire and cheer.

They too are on the during the summer months Transit by the Azores archipelago and can then also be observed very well from the south coast of Pico.