The sperm whale gets its name from a wax called spermaceti that is produced in the whale’s head. Whalers used to hunt the sperm whale to harvest this wax for many purposes, including making candles. Now they are protected practically worldwide, and commercial whaling has ceased. The number of sperm whales throughout the world is unknown, but is thought to be in the hundreds of thousands, so they conservation status is rated as vulnerable rather than endangered. I’m so happy for this, because they are really amazing creatures. The Sperm Whale is the largest toothed animal on Earth, they have the largest head and brain in the world, and they produce the loudest sounds in the animal kingdom (their clicks have been recorded reaching levels up to 236 decibel) and they may be the deepest divers in the world (possibly diving to over 3,000 m deep or 10 000 feet).
The Azores are the perfect place to see Sperm Whales as the ocean is enough deep arround the islands and the Gulf Stream ensures a comfortable temperature all year round.
When whales are surfacing most of the time only their backs and the top of their heads are visible. They are like an iceberg: what you see on the surface is just 10% of their total mass.
From June to July is a special time of the year for Sperm Whales. Females give birth and their calves are “only” about 4-metre long when they are born. In this pictures you can see a female with a calf:
On the coast there are many lookouts which were used for many years when the Azorean people hunted the whales. Nowadays they use this lookouts to spot whales using powerful binoculars and to guide the tourist boats to the whales location.
Here is a video from last year made by Kurt Amsler, who was swimming with sharks and many other animals as well and now we can see his adventure with Sperm Whales at the Azores.