About Stephen G. Hipperson

stephenhip@hotmail.co.uk

AZAB Yacht Race

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On the journey back from our whale watching trip we passed a large number of yachts – I found out later they were part of the ‘AZAB’  which is a race between the UK and the Azores and back again.  It happens every four years – some totally unexpected entertainment.

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—Stephen–

 

Sperm Whale (Just)

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The primary reason for our visit to the Azores was for the opportunity to see a whale – not dolphins, porpoises or the like, but a genuine whale.   The first few days we were there the sea was too rough for the sightseeing boats to go out.   A calmer day was forecast so we booked to go – with the chance to see a Sperm whale.  Off we set in a double-decker boat.  On the journey out they gave us a talk on what we might see – setting our expectations.    A whale was spotted so we headed for it.

A Sperm whale has its blow hole on the front of its head which made the sight of it a little unexpected.  We watched the whale for about 15 minutes as it hyperventilated before its next dive.  The whale took a last breath and then upended, tail in the air, and disappeared below the surface.

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Footnote:  I little confession here – I was lucky to get any pictures at all, indeed it took a great deal of mental fortitude on my part.  Just prior to us spotting the whale I had an attack of the landlubbers nightmare – fortunately the boat was equipped with an ample supply of ‘just the right size’ plastic bags.  From what I saw, several others had similar problems.  I was fine until the boat stopped and again when the boat resumed it’s forward motion back to port.   I wasn’t swell in the swell!

—Stephen—

Lava Tube

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One of the tourist attractions on the outskirts of Ponta Delgada is the Gruta do Carvao, which is an old lava tube.  I found it quite interesting and a complete contrast to the many water made cave systems I’ve visited.   This photo has been ‘recovered’ using some extensive photoshop manipulation – at the very moment I wanted to use the pop-up flash on my Canon 80D it decided it didn’t want to work.  I tried in vain to find some obscure control in the menu system but with no luck.   When we returned home I had to send my camera off to Canon for repair…. and of course it was out of warranty!

—Stephen—

Roots II

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Further to my previous, I thought it might be worth demonstrating how big the roots of this tree were.  One without and another with a seeming mote of a human for scale.

—Stephen—