news letter 99

Mother Nature cracked the whip several times during the month of May and the beginning of June, but the Espaco Talassa Team shined on the numerous days they were able to successfully go to sea whale watching even with the inclement weather hovering over the area. Observations and cetacean numbers are exceptional this year with the "Big Blues" once again cruising the southern shore of Pico during the months of April, May and September. One morning at the beginning of June two humpback whales gave us a wake-up call as they passed only 200 meters from the front steps of the BOCA.

During the month of April Espaço Talassa was proud to be officially appointed "The Operational Center of the Azorian Net of Stranded Mammals" or RACA. A specimen of common dolphin, a female of 1.30m long, that stranded on the 5th of May 1999 was found dead by Mr. Daniel Martiniano.

On the same date the necropsy was accomplished, by the Espaço Talassa team. After being under the soil for six months the skeleton was rebuilt by Mrs. Dottie and Mr. Malcolm Clarke.

Elsa Simas our resident marine biologist collected also samples from a stranded sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus.). Final analysis of the necropsies and the Skeleton of the common dolphin are available in the BOCA library.

This year the Espaço Talassa team was very aware about beaked whale sighting, specially the Sowerby beaked whale. We collected some information and photography about behaviour and species interaction. A project call "Azorean beaked whale project" is developed by Elsa Simas, be patient…. in a few months we will give you more information.

This summer has already brought us two students working on cetacean projects, one from the University of Montpellier (France) and one from the University of Quarteira (Portugal). Their work will also be available at our base, the BOCA.