This past week a diverse group came aboard Pelagos to sight and study the cetaceans inhabiting the Sanctuary. Unfortunately, severe winds hit the Ligurian Sea for the first part of the week and although sad for us, it was very good news for the dozens of sailors that took part in the prestigious Giraglia regatta. However we did not let the weather get us down and instead took advantage of the few days in port by enjoying detailed lectures about the biology of the species and the research techniques. We were also lucky enough to have a day in Montecarlo, in which we visited the Oceanographic Museum.
The second part of the week was blessed by flat sea and sunshine. Our first sighting, which didn’t take long to occur, was of a travelling Fin whale who was quick to show us what it means to be one of the fastest whales in the ocean. We also had many encounters with striped dolphins which although common are always exciting due to their fun spirited approach to boats. We had a beautiful calm night at sea during which we were able to view the Milky Way and even a few shooting stars! However, the most powerful moment of the week was the following day, wherein we encountered a beautiful mother and calf Fin whale pair. As they were swimming slowly, we were able to stop the boat and observe them closely. This sighting alone would have been enough to keep us in awe, but then the mother chose to swim under our bow, allowing us to appreciate her full length and grace. After checking us out, she happily allowed her curious calf a closer look at us. We were all gob smacked and we are sure that everyone will remember those few precious moments for the rest of their lives. After taking the important information for photo identification and respiration rates, we left the pair alone to continue their slow journey. No sooner had we put our cameras away, another pair of Fin whales, this time bachelors, greeted us. Once again we were able to take precious data about both whales.
On our return journey to Sanremo we enjoyed more encounters with striped dolphins, who continuously played in our bow wave. It was the perfect ending to the week.
Elisa, Valerio, Julia and Rebecca
Following link is for participants of this week's expedition, showing the ship's route, pictures of some of the sightings and of some moments of the cruise which were memorable (or even not so...).
Ai partecipanti al turno è dedicato un link con il percorso effettuato durante la settimana, le foto di alcuni avvistamenti e qualche immagine dei momenti da ricordare - importanti e non.