WHALES of AZORES

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In the Azores archipelago, days take their cue from the sea and its coming-and-going cadence of tides; from the weather, with its changeable moods; and the wind, which soon snuffs out the intentions of anyone wanting to get too much done, too fast. You need patience to enjoy life. Since arrival, everybody is been urged to adapt to local customs that revolve around fishing, the sea, and the shims of the weather.

Nine islands of lava, a paradise lost in time where nature still reigns supreme and offers the equivalent of a cetacean safari : 26 different whales (mainly sperm, blue, Sei, pilots, Minke, fins, humpbacks, as well as the rare beaked whales) and dolphins (bottlenose, Atlantic spotted, striped, common and Risso) have been recorded in these waters. One-third of all known species.

The archipelago plays an important role in the marine ecosystem of the North Atlantic Ocean, having a very complex oceanographic circulation, influenced by the Gulf Stream and branches of the North Atlantic current and the Azores current. Oceanographic features show steep submarine walls, ridges and escarpments and a very short continental shelf. It’s precisely this complex that makes these waters a perfect home for sperm whales, feeding on a plentiful supply of squid in the deep and nutrient-poor central North Atlantic Ocean, as well as baleen filtering whales.

There is still a fragile and tenacious bond among the past and today : it is the vigia, the watchman, a key figure both for the ancient hunting community and for the newly formed business of whale-watching. The vigia is the man who, once and now-a-day, spots the whales using powerful binoculars from cliff-top towers built with lava stone and gives precious information to the skipper, guiding the boats from the shore to the whales.

The main season runs from April all the way through the summer to October and during these months different species pass by the Azores on their migratory paths – April and May are usually a good time to go for a chance to see the migrating baleen whales such as blue, fin and sei.

Classic tour 2019

04 – 12 May  5 spots

Tour 2020

May  5 spots

Tour 2021

Open

ins  and  outs

Your journey

We operate with one of the more experienced companies in the Azores, specialized in offering unique in-water activities (snorkelling and free-diving) with all required Admin permits.
On the Ocean, you will listen only the sound of the waves and the cries of the gulls, interrupted by the powerful breathe of the cetaceans.
The skipper will chose the route and give the signal for sliding in the water : it’s our duty to stay calm, don’t fling on whales or they will swim away, to move slowly silently and deliberately.

In details

Classic tour. 9 days, 8 nights :
  7 days on the water,  standard day is 6 hours; we can add extra hours to full-day (on demand) when the conditions are good. We usually head out early and return in early after-noon.
  8 nights’ accommodation in hotel or apartments ;
  services bed and breakfast and taxes ;
  private use of the zodiac (no covering, no bathroom) ;
  skilled skipper and vigia ;  Admin permit ;
The group size is limited to max 6 participants plus the guides.

Is this trip right for you ?

You need to be patient and resolute, strong and at your ease in open ocean, a good swimmer. To bear strong and sometimes adverse weather conditions, be conscious that might be days without any good situations to enter the water and uncomfortable navigation.
Swimming with whales in Atlantic Ocean can be challen-ging and you need dedication.
For fellows who are not addicted on schedules, as the program-me might change without prior warning in order to grasp the better opportunities.