The great baleen whales meet in the waters around Pico between February and June. During this time of the year we are able to see three different species in one day at the same time. Often we can observe up to seven different kinds of whales and dolphins. The baleen whales which – as it is well known – filter plankton and krill off the water are attracted by huge quantities of food which accumulate at the Mid-Atlantic-Ridge. This is why they gather in the Pico waters for the “great feast”. You are right among them, study the animals’ behaviour and observe the biggest creature that ever lived on our planet.
With an overall length of up to 33 meters the blue whale is even bigger than the biggest dinosaur which had been discovered until today. It weights up to 200 tons which equals the weight of approximately 33 African bush elephants.
The humpback whale is the vocalist among the whales and probably the best known. Its distinct lateral flippers are striking. It is a rorqual just like its relative, the blue whale and is quite similar to the other members of rorquals. The outer facing with barnacles and diatoms is very interesting. Humpback whales are well known for their giant jumps and live in all oceans up to the edge of the pack ice. Within this huge area of circulation the animals migrate seasonally more than thousands of kilometers which makes them pass the Azores between March and June. In the summer month they stay in the nutrient-rich areas of the northern and polar regions of the sea while they spend the winter in the tropics or subtropics.
Besides the emigrants of the oceans the residents of the Azorean waters can be seen as well. Female sperm whales and their pups stay in the temperated waters all-the-year. Long-finned pilot whales and false killer whales can also be seen as well as sei, fin or minke whales. From the family of dolphins Risso’s dolphins and bottlenose dolphins may be observed.