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
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.
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
whale- and dolphinwatch companies
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.
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