A big storm was anticipated this weekend so our team decided to try a tour on the Stenella this morning just before the wind was expected to pick up. The silvery ocean was surprisingly calm compared to what we had expected and our spotter soon located a small group of Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) resting at the surface. Carlos found the animals more or less in the same location as he had seen them the previous days, indicating that their favourite prey, Giant Squid, may be lurking in decent amounts in the abyss.
The group had just gathered at the surface as we arrived, with some animals engaging in some intense body contact while others used the safety of their nearby peers around to grab a quick nap. When sleeping, Sperm whales drift upright in the water column with their foreheads often bobbing at the waters surface. The foreheads of some of these peaceful, sleepy giants also carried some fresh scratches from their encounters with their prey in the deep. Apart from being extremely agile and perfectly adapted to life in the deep sea, squid also have hooks inside their suckers which they use as a weapon against predators, making them a challenging catch for the large toothed whales. Considering this it’s no wonder that Sperm whales spend ample time at the surface resting and recovering from such strenuous dives!
The swell and wind were visibly increasing as we returned to Calheta along the coastline, and our crew was proud to have provided our guests with such a peaceful sighting before the storm!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Sperm whales