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Whale and Dolphin watching

Set in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, sperm whales, whales and dolphins are found in great abundance in these waters, which are also rich in fish. Whales and whaling play an important part in the history and culture of the Azores. Yankee whalers visited the islands in the 1700's and by the mid 1800's a whaling industry had grown up throughout the islands. The Azorean whalers had a tough way of life and developed a reputation for being brave and strong. The whaling went on using the same traditional open boats and hand harpoons right up until 1985.

dolphin whale

An important thing to remember about the area is that in the Azores the whale-watching season (May-October) is dictated by the weather and not by the migrations of the whales and dolphins, which are seen year round. There are 80 species of whales in the world and 21 can be found in the waters around the Azores. They are here all year round and when the water's calm, you're virtually guaranteed to see one. An encounter with the blue whale, the world’s largest existing mammal, is a breathtaking experience that you will not want to miss.
Taking all of this into account you can see why the Azores is regarded by some as in the top three destinations worldwide, for whale and dolphin watching!

Lookout towers (called Vigias) are built in strategic positions high on the mountains and experienced searchers are looking out for the arrival of the whales and dolphins.  They have radio contact with the powerful Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) who can take their passengers directly to the area in which the whales and dolphins are swimming. The boats can manouver to within 50 metres of these enormous mammals - the minimum distance suggested by the Whale Watching Code of Ethics. In the case of dolphins, however, the boats can manoeuvre much closer and, given the right conditions, parties of 3 persons (plus a diving instructor), can actually swim with the dolphins.

There are lots of other things to see in the water as well, such as Loggerhead turtles, sharks and sport fish such as marlin and swordfish.

Respect for our nature!!

Whale watching tourism is a highly important factor in the protection and preservation of whales and dolphins: people who have observed these beautiful animals will understand the need for their protection. However, whale watching activities need to be carried out in such a way that they are not disturbing for the whales and dolphins present in the area.

A lot of info about the azorean cetaceans can be found on the research site:

Please also check our yellow pages for whale- and dolphinwatch companies

sperm whale

Sperm Whale
The Azores are known, in particular, because of its constant presence of sperm whales. Freed from the pressure of the whalers, taking benefits of the clean waters and abundant food, the Whales remain near the islands throughout the year, being easily sighted and making the archipelago one of the best observation points of sperm whales in the world!

They are by far the largest of the toothed whales; males can reach up to 44 tonnes and 18m in length. They are easy to identify from their angular blow from the single blowhole on the left-hand corner of their large box-like head. They also have a distinctive rounded triangular dorsal fin, about two thirds of the way back between their head and tail. When feeding on their favourite delicacy, the giant squid, they can dive to 2000m and remain submerged for over an hour.


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