Our second week in Imperia had been entirely spent on land due to bad sea conditions. However, on Sunday the 14th we finally went back out with the zodiac! 

And it was worth it: after a few hours of looking at the sea, we spotted bottlenose dolphins! It was a group of many calves and newborns swimming sweetly by their mothers. We also spotted an easily distinguishable dolphin called “Hook”, named by her collapsed dorsal fin. 

After this heartwarming sighting, I was not expecting to see a lot more, as we had not seen other cetaceans than bottlenose during our past surveys. But within a few moments, Andrea spotted something in the distance – something that looked like a blow! However, we did not approach as we lost sight of this potential cetacean, so we took a swim break instead. 

When we got back on the boat, the sky was slowly becoming grey and we were getting ready to head back before the rain hit us. But suddenly Davide shouted “Soffio!” – he also saw a blow! I sat down excitedly as we began speeding towards the animal in the distance. The moment I heard Davide say the word “balena”, I knew one of my biggest dreams was about to come true: I was going to see a baleen whale! 

When we finally found the animal, I was left speechless at the sight of it – it was a fin whale. The world’s second largest animal was swimming calmly right in front of us, the sound of its breaths filling the air. It stayed on the surface for an unusually long time before it dove again. The diving pattern was surprisingly fast too – it only resurfaced after 7 minutes, even though we were expecting it to dive for at least 10. 

After collecting enough observations, we had to leave the beautiful animal and start moving back to Imperia. Soon the rain arrived and we got soaked, but everyone was still so happy – it really was the best survey day.