You may well think this is a dolphin. That is what we thought when we first spotted it. You would be wrong, this is a whale, the two sets of ripples both belong to one animal. WhaleJohn pointed out a big disturbance in the water and a large sleek back with a dorsal fin. It looked out of scale, too big. Then as it dove we saw the length of the back and the knuckle shape with the small fin further down the spine. Its movement was more deliberate than that of dolphins and it was coming our way. This did not seem to be because it was seeking us out, but more as though it was maintaining a course. It looked to be about half the size of Lyra. As we watched we realised there were two travelling in parallel, one barely crested the surface, but spouting water and the original one, showing itself more, but further away. WhaleFrustratingly I did not manage to capture a very clear image of either. After they had passed we saw more spouting on our stern quarter. We had been traveling in deep water and the depth gauge stops coping and just flashes the last depth it has recorded. When we looked it was flashing twelve meters, not a hundred and twenty as we had thought. That was not the end of the whale spotting though.

We carried on motoring towards Sines and it was only in the last hour that the wind came up. The water became more choppy with lots of white horses. Then John noticed a really big area of splash out near the horizon and as we watched we saw another whale. It was along way off, but when we saw how it was performing we decided that was not such a bad thing. It was breeching, jumping entirely out of the water, seeming to hang in the air and then crashing back down. Not just once or twice either, it was travelling along in this way, twisting in the air, so that we could see the sun gleaming on the white underbelly, disappearing into the splash and then surging out again further on. It is hard to gauge, but this looked to be a lot bigger than the whales we had seen earlier. SometimesĀ it seemed to cross back on itself, so there may have been more than one.

Another breechWhale splashA splash near the boat made both of us jump in the air, but it was just a wave hitting the wake. The whole experience was much more awesome than I can hope to convey.

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