Blue whale camp

The blue whale camp presents the Mid-Atlantic’s cetacea in an impressive way. Almost nowhere else in the world with a little bit of luck you can meet eight different species of whales and dolphins in only one day. In total there were observed 27 various species of cetacea of which 20 can be met regularly.

The sperm whale can be found almost always in temperate waters around the island. Here females and pups spend their whole life. In times of whaling this occasion encouraged the British whale specialist Professor Malcolm Clarke to dedicate his life to the research of sperm whales and squids. His collection can be seen in probably one of the world’s best museum about these species.

At the excursions you often encounter turtles, sharks or even ocean sunfish. Cory’s shearwaters often accompany dolphins at their foray and dive up to ten meters into the ocean…it is certainly a very impressive experience to meet an emerging “Cagaro” (the bird’s name in Portuguese) while snorkelling. The Cory’s shearwater has one of its rare hatcheries in the Atlantic at the island of Pico. Its breeding burrows are among lava rocks which are discovered during a night walk. While the birds fly above the heads of the participants they impress the group with their mating calls echoing through the night.

Besides the whales and the animals of the deep sea you undertake trips exploring marine life along the coast. In order to bring you close to this habitat we work with biologists from the University of Bochum who are at Pico at this time of the year. The endemic Azores Noctule (Nyctalus azoreum) can already be seen in the afternoon. You search for this bat and spend a night at the beach of the Cory’s shearwaters. You can be sure that it won’t get boring at all during this trip. Montanha do Pico is calling with its 2,351 meters asking to be climbed. The longest lava cave in Europe needs to be discovered and Pico’s picturesque vineyards invite for a hike in the designated World Heritage Site.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

Arrival in Madalena and check-in. Early in the evening short briefing with the guide and check of the snorkel equipment.

Day 2: Snorkelling excursion

The morning starts with an introductory snorkelling excursion close to the base. There you can get used to the conditions of the Northern Atlantic and, if necessary, take a course in snorkelling. Today you can already observe a lot of different fishes and invertebrates such as parrotfishes, breams, mullets, sting rays, octopuses, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and starfishes. In the afternoon a lecture of a marine biologist is planned.

Day 3: Whale watching and hiking

Today you take the offshore rubber boat to watch whales in the Atlantic. At this time of the year everything is possible! Particularly often can be seen huge baleen whales such as blue whales, finbacks, sei whales, humpback whales and minke whales. Furthermore you can observe various kind of dolphins such as bottlenose dolphins, short-beaked common dolphins, striped dolphins and orcas as well as sperm whales. In the evening you go hiking in order to search for the Azores Noctule.

Day 4: Snorkelling with dolphins

You join the dolphins in the water and watch them in their natural habitat. Before there is a detailed briefing about the code of conduct and the procedures in the water. The decision whether the dolphins swim with you or not, are exceptionally made by the animals. In this connection the behaviour of the swimmer is of great importance. In the afternoon there is a second lecture.

Day 5: Snorkelling excursion and visit of a lava cave

In the morning there is a second excursion to snorkel with the coastal marine life. Afterwards you visit the Gruta das Torres, the largest lava cave in Europe.

Day 6: Whale watching

After a whale watching tour in the morning you visit the sperm whale and squid museum of Professor Malcolm Clarke. Afterwards you drive to the vigia, the whale spotting post where you try to spot whales from land.

Day 7: Visit of the whaling museum

The morning starts with another interesting lecture. Later you discover the whaling museum in Lajes do Pico.

Day 8: Day tour to Faial

Full day tour to the neighbouring island of Faial and visit of the famous yacht port.

Day 9: Whale watching and hiking

In the morning you are on the water again to observe whales. Later you hike through the highlands of Pico and visit the beautiful wineries which are part of the UNESCO world cultural heritage.

Day 10: Snorkelling excursion

The morning begins with a lecture. Afterward you snorkel to join the different creatures of the ocean.

Day 11: Climbing Montanha do Pico

You climb the highest mountain of Portugal which is about 2,351 meters above sea level.

Day 12: Swimming with dolphins and night hike

In the morning you swim with dolphins. In the late evening there takes place a night hike to the hatcheries of the Cory’s shearwaters.

Day 13: Snorkelling excursion and whale watching

Snorkelling in the afternoon and last whale watching tour.

Day 14: Day at leisure

As the outdoor activities are dependant on weather conditions some parts of the programme may shift. However, in case of doubt there will always be an alternative activity.

Day 15: Departure

Travel dates

13.05. – 27.05.2017

Rates include

  • 14 overnights in the chosen accommodation (quadruple room or double room) in Madalena (single rooms and alternative accommodation on request)
  • Transfers from/to Pico airport or ferry port
  • 4 excursions for whale and dolphin watching
  • 2 excursions for snorkelling with dolphins
  • 3 excursions for snorkelling with marine life along the coast of Pico
  • 1 visit of the sperm whale and squid museum of Professor Malcolm Clarke
  • 1 visit of the whaling museum in Lajes do Pico
  • 1 visit of the “vigia” (land-based whale spotter)
  • 1 night walk to the hatchery of the Cory’s shearwaters
  • 1 evening walk to observe the Azorean bat
  • 1 full day tour to the island of Faial and visit of the famous yacht harbour
  • 1 climbing Montanha do Pico
  • 1 excursion to the lava cave Gruta das Torres
  • 1 hike in the highlands of Pico
  • 1 visit of the wineries, an UNESCO world heritage site

Rates

Blue whale camp Rate Per
Blue whale camp (quadruple) € 999,- Per person in quadruple room
Blue whale camp (double) € 1199,- Per person in double room

Please find a summary of all rates for nature observing programs here.

Contact and Bookings

If you wish to book a programme or require more details, please feel free to contact us here. The team of Pico Sport/Scuba Azores will be happy to assist you.


Scuba Azores/Pico Sport is recommended by the Dolphin Watch Alliance and the Gesellschaft zur Rettung der Delphine (association for the rescue of dolphins)."

Photographer credits: Joe Bunnie, Dr. Ronald Doepner, Nuno Sá.

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