Pico Island is one of the islands in the Azores. The water is deep all around the island because it was formed by an underwater volcano. Because of this, it is good for whale watching. My family and I went on a whale watching tour when we stayed on Pico. We were so lucky because we saw 5 species of dolphins and 2 species of whales.
The first dolphin that we came across was the spotted dolphin. Spotted dolphins have no spots when they are young. As they become adults, they grow spots. They were very playful and swam close to our boat. The first time I saw the dolphins, I thought they were sharks because of their fins.
The next dolphin we saw was the striped dolphin. These dolphins are small and very acrobatic. We saw them jump all the way out of the water. You could see all of their body when they were jumping.
The third dolphin we encountered was the Risso’s dolphin. These dolphins have a lot of white scars on them from hunting squid and from being too physical with other dolphins.
The fourth dolphin was a pilot whale. Even though it is called a whale, it is actually a dolphin. They stay as still as a rock in the water. They do not like to come close to the boat.
Our guide used a listening device to hear the sperm whales. These whales make a clicking sound when they are hunting squid. They use the clicking sounds for echolocation. The sperm whale can dive up to 45 or 90 minutes before taking a breath. They stay up for 10 minutes and then dive back down. Our guides were able to spot one sperm whale for us to see.
The common dolphin was the fifth dolphin that we saw. It is the only type of dolphin with yellow on its side.
On our way back to the port, out guide started yelling excitedly. I thought it was just because she saw a dolphin, but it was actually a beaked whale. The beaked whale is one of the rarest animals in the Azores. We were lucky to see some Blainsville beaked whales. They are called beaked whales because their nose extends out and looks like a beak. They only come up for 10-15 seconds to take a breath before going back down.
I was surprised by how many different dolphins we saw on our tour. I thought we would see more whales, but it was still cool. I really enjoyed the whale watching tour.