For a lot of people it is a dream to observe, interact and swim with dolphins. Regrettably often the animals’ well-being is not considered. People accept to visit dolphins in a dolphinarium or in separated bays in the ocean. At many locations in the ocean there developed an industry that targets regions in the sea where marine mammals withdraw to rest. Whether those tours can be called sustainable is highly questionable.
At the Azores the animals are not in captivity and there are no bays where they relax. The five species of dolphins which live here wander freely and unlimited in the Mid-Atlantic – always in search of rich nutrition grounds. In order to preserve this condition the government of the Azores has reduced the number of whale watching boats for years. Moreover only qualified companies are allowed to offer whale and dolphin watching. Though, a mandatory code of conduct is the prerequisite for a sustainable observation in the kingdom of dolphins.
Pico Sport/Scuba Azores has more than 20 years of experience and was involved in the elaboration of the code of conduct of the Azores. Frank Wirth is a motivated conservationist who advocates around the world for the protection of the species. Thus he is the initiator of the cooperation with Dolphin Watch Alliance and the “Gesellschaft zur Rettung der Delphine” (association for the rescue of dolphins). The biologists of the Dolphin Watch Alliance have been campaigning for a sustainable dolphin watching in Egypt for several years. Here at the Azores – in contrast to other regions – they find ideal conditions to observe those wonderful creatures above and under water. We designed this unique dolphin tour in cooperation with the biologists Angela Ziltener and Sina Kreicker from the Dolphin Watch Alliance. A part of the travel rate will be donated to the protection of dolphins.
This programme is a dream tour for dolphin lovers with scientific company. For that matter the dolphin watching safari is about a sustainable observation of cetacean. We would like to communicate the comprehension of the ocean as a habitat and talk about the dangers which this habitat is facing. This is also realized practically as we collect floating refuse during our boat trips.
A highlight is the observation of the dolphins in their natural environment. For sure the encounter under water will be kept in the participants’ mind for a long time. The biologists impart a wide knowledge and interpret the dolphins’ behaviour “life” during the excursions. Being able to understand the animals’ behavioural patterns and meet them in the water is a terrific feeling.
June is the month when the ocean is changing in the Azores. The Golf stream arrives and brings warm and clear water. This is the time when the Atlantic spotted dolphins arrive to give birth and to feed in the warm waters around Pico. The Golf stream stays till the end of September. However, resident species such as common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, striped dolphins and grampuses can be met year-around at the Azores. Pico is a wonderful place to observe dolphins in their natural habitat, to study their behaviour and to spend hours with them in the ocean. The beautiful island has to offer a lot as well which is why we complete this tour with some excursions at Pico.
Day 1: Arrival
Arrival at Pico where we welcome you warmly. Check-in to your rooms. In the late afternoon first meeting for a sundowner at the sea to talk through the programme during the next days.
Day 2: Dolphin watching
Morning departure to observe dolphins around the island. The vigia, the land-based spotter, searches for the animals and navigates the boats via radio to the region. The biologist on board provides interesting information and there is a lot of time to observe the dolphins. After lunch you meet for a snorkelling lesson in the natural pool in Madalena. There will be checked if you are familiar with the use of mask and snorkel and you are taught how to free dive. In the late afternoon first meeting to watch the pictures from the morning boat tour and to interpret the behaviour of the animals.
Day 3: Snorkelling with dolphins
Today you depart to the Atlantic again, this time with snorkelling equipment, because you join the dolphins in the water. As the wild animals live in the wide and open ocean, it is up to them if they allow you to observe them or not. Our very well trained team will do its best to offer you an unforgettable experience. The well-being of the animals has always priority which is why the animals are not disturbed. In the afternoon visit of the sperm whale and squid museum of Professor Malcolm Clarke in Madalena.
Day 4: Whale and dolphin watching
Morning departure to observe dolphins as well as whales. Today you try to find “Moby Dick”. Sperm whales live in the Mid-Atlantic the whole year round and Pico is the best place in the world to see them. In the afternoon a lecture is given about the whales and dolphins of the Azores.
Day 5: Island tour
Today you stay on land and explore Pico, it’s breath-taking landscapes, the vineyards and the highlands.
Day 6: Snorkelling with dolphins
In the morning departure to snorkel with dolphins. Relaxing in the afternoon.
Day 7: Day at leisure
You are free to explore the island or jump on the ferry to Faial which is famous for its yacht harbour.
Day 8: Dolphin watching in the sunset
In the morning workshop with more interesting aspects about whales and dolphins. The dolphin tour departs in the late afternoon. Today you can enjoy the sunset on the ocean and find out what the dolphins do before the night begins. Are there any different behavioural patterns?
Day 9: Full day dolphin watching
You are on the ocean for about six hours to stay with the dolphins as long as possible. In this way it can be observed how the dolphin arrange their daily procedures.
Day 10: Day at leisure
Today is the stand-by day in case the weather during the last days did not allow to realize certain activities. There is time for souvenir shopping, the exchange of e-mail addresses and making new plans for holidays with dolphins. In the evening you join a dinner with the group to celebrate the great days you spent at Pico.
Day 11: Departure
03.09.2017 – 13.09.2017
- 10 overnights in a double room in Guesthouse Golphino (alternative accommodation on request)
- Transfers from/to Pico airport or ferry port
- Tour guide and lectures with a biologist from Dolphin Watch Alliance
- 4 excursions for dolphin watching
- 2 excursions for snorkelling with dolphins
- 1 island tour
- 1 group dinner
- Snorkelling equipment
- 10% donation for the protection of dolphins
|dolphin contact special||Rate||Per|
|dolphin contact special||€ 990,-||Per person|
|dolphin contact special – single supplement||€ 100,-|
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.
Please bear in mind that you should have an average condition and physical ability in order to snorkel with dolphins in the open water. If not, please be so kind and contact us before booking.
Photographer credits: Joe Bunnie, Ben Schilling, Nuno Sá and many more.