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Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul

The Azores, an archipelago of nine islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, is one of the largest whale sanctuaries in the world. There are officially 28 species of whales who visit the Azores throughout the year. So, if you want to go whale watching, then the Azores is the right place to be. In order to ensure that your whale watching trip is a success, you need to choose the best time to visit and the right operator as well. And we went with one of the best and most popular operators in São Miguel - Terra Azul.

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul



Terra Azul, established in 2000, is a licensed ecotourism tour operator who operate year-round Whale watching & 'Swimming with the Dolphins' tours as well as marine birdwatching tours. With years of experience and their impressive knowledge of the islands, Terra Azul put together tours that best suit their clients. Our tour with them was no different. The team at Terra Azul reached out to us before our tour to confirm all the details and provided us with relevant information to prepare for the tour. Terra Azul advised us to book our tour during the initial days of our holiday to factor in any rescheduling due to the unpredictability of the weather in that region. And we are glad we went with their advice as the weather was not good on the day our tour was originally scheduled. As a result, the tour was rescheduled for the next day. We had opted for a morning tour and arrived at Terra Azul's base in Vila Franca do Campo where all the guests were given a quick security briefing and then kitted out with life vests and jackets for the tour.

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul


Onboard the RIB was a marine biologist (and also our guide for the day), Milou, who shared her knowledge about the cetaceans - right from the different species found in the Azores, to their feeding habits and other fun trivia. The skipper, Tiago Batista, was in constant contact with Terra Azul's whale lookout 'Vigia da Furada' which is also located in Vila Franca do Campo. The team at 'Vigia da Furada' are professional marine life spotters and they kept the skipper continuously updated on where exactly the cetaceans could be found. It was a well-coordinated team effort to ensure that the guests could see as much wildlife as possible.

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul


Our first spotting of the tour was a large pod of Atlantic Spotted dolphins - around 100 of them. According to our guide, the pod was a mix of all ages. And as expected the dolphins were very active and inquisitive. We were mesmerised by the playful antics of the dolphins. After spending some time watching them, we moved on to a different location as suggested by the whale lookout team. And it is here that we spotted a mother and baby Sperm whale. They disappeared very quickly though but not before we saw their distinctive flukes sticking straight up above the water (as they went in for the deep dive). It was our first whale spotting and it was exciting.

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul


A little later we spotted another mother and baby Sperm whale. And finally, when we went in search of Bottlenose dolphins, we saw a large Sperm whale as it jumped out of the water. It was truly amazing.

Towards the end of the tour, we went around the Islet of Vila Franca do Campo which was formed by the crater of an old underwater volcano. It is now a nature reserve and one of São Miguel’s popular tourist attractions open during the peak season (June-September). We did not disembark here as it is not allowed but we did get a good view of the beautiful lagoon. The imposing walls of the crater home to endemic vegetation and wildlife were beautiful to look at and admire. Equally interesting was listening to the stories attached to the place.

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul


The tour lasted around 3 hours and we were very impressed by the standard of service offered by Terra Azul. They do their best to offer all their guests a wonderful experience. Take our word for it and book a tour with Terra Azul when you visit São Miguel. I am sure your experience will be as fantastic as ours.

Terra Azul | Marina de Vila Franca do Campo Str 5, 9680-909 Vila Franca do Campo, São Miguel, Azores.
Phone | +351 913 453 030
Email | info@azoreswhalewatch.com
Website | www.azoreswhalewatch.com

As with any wildlife tour, sightings cannot be guaranteed but listed below are the species you can spot in the Azores.

Winter Season
Resident species (yearlong) : Sperm Whales, Common Dolphins, Common Bottlenose Dolphins, Risso’s Dolphins.
Occasional spottings: Stripped Dolphins, Blainville’s Beaked Whales, Gervais Beaked Whales, Sowerby’s Beaked Whales, True’s Beaked Whales and Cuvier’s Beaked Whales.

Main Season
In the Spring : Ballen Whales – Blue Whales, Sei Whales, Fin Whales, Minke Whales, Humpback Whales.
Occasional spottings: Orcas (Killer Whales).
In the Summer : Short-finned Pilot Whales, Bride’s Whales, Northern Bottlenose Whales, Atlantic Spotted Dolphins.
Occasional spottings: False Killer Whales.

Whale Watching In The Azores Islands With Terra Azul

Note: Our whale watching tour was courtesy of Terra Azul. All opinions expressed, as always, remain solely our own.

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5 comments :

  1. Oh wow simply an amazing experience
    Another for my bucket list

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh My! This is actually on my bucket list - what a fantastic experience and love the photos!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This looks incredible. I’m very jealous

    ReplyDelete
  4. Looks great love to have that experience so jealous

    ReplyDelete
  5. Spectacular experience. What a lovely view.

    ReplyDelete

 
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