In June 2011 I visited Pico Island in the Azores, which are situated 1500 km west of Portugal in the mid Atlantic. I had been lucky enough to be granted permission by the Azorean government to enter the water with Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus). This priveledge is limited to professional photographers and supported by my marine biology background. Great care must be taken not to disturb these gentle giants and so we were only on snorkel, not SCUBA. Our daily excursions were organised by Pico Sport based in the main town of Madalena on Pico.
We were lucky enough to be in the water with over a dozen Sperm Whales on one day and another were befriended by an extremely inquisitive whale we called ‘Spot’. Spot spent quite some time just hanging out next to us and then dived down and rose again to surface extremely slowly in a sort of whale dance! It was really a dream come true to be within touching distance of one of the planet’s largest predators, on their terms. Calves were also particluarly inquisitive and would seek us out to investigate what these odd and useless swimming creatures were.