Sperm whales are the largest of the toothed whales, feeding on large squid species, which they hunt at depths below 4000 metres, making them the deepest diving whales in the ocean.
The aim of the research is to complete studies on these mysterious creatures as they migrate north via the Azores, study their behaviour, breeding season and collect data that will help support the conservation and protection of the species and their environment.
Study the charismatic bottlenose dolphin
The greatest characteristic of the bottlenose, beside its charisma, is its intelligence. Research on bottlenose dolphins has examined mimicry, use of artificial language, object categorisation and self-recognition.
Assist with the whale and dolphin survey
Lead by Dr Lisa Steiner, the data collected by your research will help provide the necessary information to address future conservation issues.
You will receive lectures regarding research undertaken to date and be directly involved with specific tasks to assist with on-going scientific studies, including:
As well as photographing whales and dolphins, researchers also record the time of day of each sighting, the size of the group, the presence of any calves, the exact position and direction of travel, the length of time spent on the surface, and any behavioural patterns manifested.
Other general environmental information such as water temperature, sea conditions, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, cloud cover, visibility, as well as the boat’s position, speed and heading are also recorded.
The work of the project also involves the occasional catching and tagging of loggerhead turtles, who are susceptible to getting entangled with drift nets and long trailing lines.
Dive with blue sharks
You may wish to use your shore days or extend your stay to dive with the blue sharks and devil rays in the Azores (June to October) and assist with underwater photo Identification (optional additional activity, contact us for more details).
The Azores lie on the blue shark’s summer migration pathway (as for whale research) and are one of the best destinations to dive with these elusive creatures, offering a good chance for a close underwater encounter. Up to four metres in length, these graceful beasts can be hard to spot as they inhabit deep pelagic waters. The diving area is in bottomless blue water well offshore (about one hour's boat ride) and you might also see mako sharks.
Note: Depending on flight schedules, some departure dates may require an overnight in Lisbon on the outward journey (additional cost)
You should note: We also offer longer versions of this trip (please see Departure Dates).
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 6 daysfrom £1,525 pp
Home to Pico Volcano, the highest point in the Azores, Pico Island is also known for whale watching. Diving here is spectacular, with magnificent topography and plentiful pelagic species. From here you can also dive with the mantas of Princess Alice Bank.
Ideal for viewing: blue shark, devil ray, humpback whale, manta ray, Atlantic stingray
Excellent for: Resort based diving, Group diving, Shark diving, Manta ray, Whales