With World Whale Day in full flow what better time to tell you all about all of the marine mammals you may be able to spot on The Great Whale Project in the Azores. As you may already know, whales migrate across vast swathes of the ocean on a regular basis and as a result they are in certain areas at certain times. This means that if you are looking to see a specific type of whale then you need to know when to visit! The aim of this blog is to help you out and take a closer look at the four biggest whales you’ll be on the lookout for at the project site.
Information: Excluding its more famous cousins (one of which we will look at later,) Sperm Whales are one of the most instantly recognisable animals in the sea. What makes them so easy to tell apart from other whales is their huge head, inside which is the largest brain of any creature known to have ever lived on earth! Along with their large heads comes a huge body, and these whales can reach lengths of 49ft up to 59ft which is longer than a bus! Their huge size also means that they tip the scales at a whopping 35/45 tonnes. Pods of these animals normally 15 to 20 strong will swim the seas in search of their favourite prey; squid, of which these toothed whales can eat around one tonne of each and every day!
Best Time To See Them: You will have the chance to see Sperm Whales throughout the whole year as they remain in the waters around the Azores from January through to December.
Information: The Blue Whale is probably one of the most famous animals on the planet due to its title as the largest animal ever to have known to exist. These colossal whales can reach lengths of up to 105 feet long and their arteries are so wide a human could swim through them without issue. To ensure these huge frames are kept in tip-top condition they will eat 4 tonnes of krill (small shrimp) per day, and all of this adds up to a weight of 200 tonnes for your average Blue Whale!
Best Time To See Them: The times to spot the Blue Whale are a lot more specific than that of the Sperm Whale. If you want to see once of these gentle giants then you can do so from the end of March through to the beginning of June before they begin their migration.
Information: Coming in behind the Blue Whale by around 25 foot, the Fin Whale is the second largest mammal on earth. They get their nickname of “razorback” from the distinctive ridge which runs along the dorsal fin and this isn’t the end of their distinctive features. Fin Whales have a lower right jaw which is bright white, and a lower left jaw which is black! These incredible animals can weigh up to 80 tonnes and reach lengths of up to 80 feet so whilst they might be smaller than the Blue Whale, you’re still sure to notice them coming!
Best Time To See Them: You can see the Fin Whales in the Azores from the end of March through to June.
Information: These whales are the speedsters of the sea. They can reach speeds of up to 30 mph which is no mean feat for something that can weigh about 20 tonnes! To move their 50-foot mass through the ocean at this sort of speed they need a lot of food, and their preferred source is from krill and other tiny crustaceans.
Best Time To See Them: To see a Sei Whale in the sea you should go to the Azores from the end of March through to the beginning of July!
If this has inspired you to help whale conservation in Portugal then you can find out more about The Great Whale Project here !
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Come face to face with one of the world’s most misunderstood predators whilst aiding great white shark conservation. As a volunteer, not only will you get the incredible opportunity to dive with sharks, but you will also assist the team in raising awareness of the great white as you work alongside tourists and local school children to provide them with knowledge of the local environment and the importance of living in harmony with South Africa’s marine life.
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