Overview

Our whale and dolphin watching research holidays provide a fascinating insight into the cetacean populations of Azores.

With the help of resident biologist Lisa Steiner, you’ll observe whales and dolphins in their natural environment, discovering how individual animals are identified, how population data is collected, and how whale tourism helps to support study and conservation. Lisa’s been researching Azorean cetaceans for over twenty years, collating sightings date year-on-year to give a unique record of the lives of the resident populations – and of the larger migratory species which pass through in the springtime. Lisa talks about her life in the Azores on our Archipelago Choice website.

Our whale and dolphin watching holidays are based on the island of Faial in the main harbour town of Horta. You’ll be heading to sea on the Physeter: a specially converted motor-catamaran. On-board lunches are provided and Lisa will arrange dinner at one of her favourite restaurant in the town on sea days. You’ll also have days ashore to allow you to explore the wonderful landscapes of Faial – meals aren’t included on shore days; on the five night whale and dolphin watching research trip there’s just one shore day, and for seven and nine day trips we’ll have two shore days (although this can change depending on the weather and conditions at sea).

Here’s the schedule for 2020:

 

Nine-Night Trips

Sunday 1st March to Tuesday 10th March

Wednesday 11th March to Friday 20th March

Saturday 21st March to Monday 30 th March

Wednesday 22 nd April to Friday 1 st May

Saturday 16 th May to Monday 25 th May

Saturday 5 th September to Monday 14 th September

 

Seven-night trips

Saturday 2 nd May to Monday 25 th May

Tuesday 26 th May to Tuesday 2 nd June

Thursday 4 th June to Thursday 11 th June

Saturday 13 th June to Saturday 20 th June

Saturday 27 th June to Saturday 4 th July

Saturday 4 th July to Saturday 11 th July

 

Five-night trips

Saturday 16 th May to Thursday 21 st May

Wednesday 20 th May to Monday 25 th May

Saturday 5 th September to Thursday 10 th September

Wednesday 9 th September to Monday 14 th September

 

April and May are usually the best months for the larger migratory species such and Blue and Fin whales. The weather and sea conditions tend to be most stable in June and July, when trips concentrate on the resident species of dolphins and Sperm whales. The maximum group size on our whale and dolphin watching research holidays is twelve. For groups of six or less, Lisa will switch from the Physeter to a smaller Rigid Inflatable Boat – with half-days at sea and lunches in Horta.

 

Itinerary

You'll begin by flying from the UK to the Azores. You can fly via Lisbon or via the main island of Sao Miguel - we can talk you through the various options.
Lisa will brief you on the week ahead before you head to sea for your first whale and dolphin watching trip.
Full day out whale watching or day in port, depending on weather and sea conditions. Horta's a friendly harbour town - her natural seaport was safe-haven from mid-Atlantic storms for transatlantic traders shipping gold, cinnamon and pepper between mainland Portugal and her colonies in Brazil.
Full day out whale watching or day in port (depending on weather and sea conditions). If you have some time to explore on land, it's a short walk to the Observatório do Mar dos Açores - one of the best-preserved examples of a Fabrica da Belaia (whaling factory). The whale hunting ban had huge social and economic impacts on the islands – the centre is a key educational tool in understanding this period in the islands’ history and their successful transition from whale hunting to whale tourism.
Full day out whale watching or day in port (depending on weather and sea conditions).
Full day out whale watching or day in port (depending on weather and sea conditions). On land, you might like to to visit Capelinhos; the site of the last major volcanic eruption on the island, lasting 13 months from September 1957 to October 1958. The Capelinhos Interpretation Centre houses images, newspaper reports and film taken at the time of the eruption.
Full day out whale watching or day in port (depending on weather and sea conditions).
Full day out whale watching or day in port (depending on weather and sea conditions). On land, you might like to walk around the pretty Cabeço Gordo caldeira in the centre of the island. The crater rim is 1043m above sea level, 637m in diameter and 400m deep. It was formed around 410,000 years ago by a relatively gentle Strombolian eruption (the type of eruptions that are commonly seen on Hawaii).
Full day out whale watching or day in port (depending on weather and sea conditions).
You'll be transferred to the airport for your flights home.

From £2,200 per person (7 nights)

We can create a tailor-made holiday to suit your budget.

INCLUDED: accommodation on a B&B basis in a twin/double shared room, lunch and evening meals on sea days, airport transfers, flights from London to the Azores. Lunch and dinner are not included on shore days.

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