The Azores sit along the annual migration route for cetaceans heading between feeding grounds in the northern and southern hemispheres and about 25 different species can be spotted off the islands during the year. This half-day tour takes you out onto the water where an on-board biologist will help you to identify sightings and teach you about the species you see. With everything from blue whales and humpbacks to dolphins and rays plying the deep waters around the islands, the trip offers an exciting opportunity to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
You’ll meet your boat at Madalena marina on the east coast of Pico and be fitted with waterproof gear and a life vest before boarding a small Zodiac rigid inflatable boat and setting off on your shared whale and dolphin watching tour.
The waters around the Azores are unusual in that there is no shallow shelf around the islands meaning deep-sea species can swim right next to the coastline. Land-based spotters help in the search for whales and dolphins which increases the chance of sighting these creatures, although it can require a bit of patience and sightings of particular species can never be guaranteed.
While you’re waiting to find the whales and dolphins, a biologist on board will talk about the many species that can be found here throughout the year and why everything from sperm whales, pilot whales and orcas to blue whales and humpbacks pass through the waters here.
Dolphin species you might spot include bottlenose, common and Atlantic spotted — your biologist will help you learn to tell the difference between each species. You might also spot the occasional seabird, including the endemic Monteiro's storm petrel. At certain times of year, you might pass their nest sites along the coast’s rocky outcrops.