Oh Boy!!

Male sperm whales are impressive on every level. They are huge, reaching up to 18m and 60t while the females only reach around 12m and 17t. In the Azores, we generally see groups of females, juveniles and calves, but occasionally a large male like this one makes an appearance. Male sperm whales leave their family group when they are about 13-15 years old. For several years, they hang out with other teenage males in “bachelor groups”, but as they get older they tend to spend more time in northern waters, where there is more food to feed their large bodies. They also become more solitary, no longer hanging out with the “bachelors”. When they reach breeding age, usually over 25, they start making trips from the more northern waters to look for females that are ready to breed. We don’t know how long these “breeding” trips last, maybe a few months, maybe a year, moving from group to group of female sperm whales, but eventually they return back north. The female sperm whale groups remain further to the south all year round and don’t make the type of migrations that other whales are known for. There have been movements of females from the Azores to Madeira and The Canary Islands. The difference in size between the male and female sperm whales is amazing. Females swimming next to the male, almost look the same as when a calf is next to a female! The fluke is also very impressive in size, sometimes it looks as wide as our boat (5m). Because they are so large, it often appears that the flukes are moving in slow motion, giving plenty of opportunity to capture the perfect photo. We know that some of our males have been seen in Norway, but not this one! His fluke will wait in the catalogue and hopefully match sometime in the future.