Madeiran Wall Lizard

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Seen on Sao Miguel – a naturalised immigrant from the Madeiran Islands.

—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—

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—