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BLUE WHALES, SPERM WHALES & FIN WHALES AZORES OCEAN GIANTS TOURS 2015

SEE NEW WEB SITE WWW.dolphinandwhaleconnection.com

            

During our last trip in May 2014 we were blessed with some exceptional sightings, 2 weeks of calm seas for our Ocean Giants tours 2014! The comments were " quite simply astounding.....epic........beyond belief......."   certainly some very happy people! We hope to repeat this is 2015!

Blue Whale Tour Ocean Giants Azores              

Group Tours led by expert UK guides Dylan Walker, Amanda Stafford  and Lisa Steiner

These tours are very popular so early booking is recommended if you want to join this tour with Uk guide.

These tours offer a unique opportunity for you to come and see these Ocean Giants in their Mid Atlantic feeding grounds where the sightings have been exceptional over the last few years. The dates coincide with the annual migration of the Oceans largest whales.  However any dates in May and June have an excellent chance of sighting the big whales as they pass the Azores on their annual migration and you can see the resident sperm whales at any time. Our boat operators have the skill and respect to approach these Ocean Giants with minimum disturbance. You will be part of a small group on these unspoilt islands where tourism remains small scale and respectful benefitting the local community and maintining high standards of responsible tourism practices. Our boat company has been running trps here for over 20 yearrs and have the highest standards of expertise.

TOUR OPTIONS : On both dates you can choose from 2 accommodation and boat options

Option 1 :  03 - 10 MAY & 10 - 17 MAY 2014

Stay in our local town 2** hotel on the harbour and take 5 half day boat trips to sea on the RIb zodiac boats.

Cost from £580 pp B&B. This tour also offers some self catering and upgrade accommdation nearby, ask for details. Click here for more information about option 1.

Option 2 :  10 - 17 MAY & 17 - 24 MAY 2014

Stay in 4****Luxury Hotel and 3 full day trips to sea on Catamaran. Cost £950 pp B&B.   Hosted by Lisa Steiner Marine biologist. Click here for more information about option 2.

Why are the Blue Whales, "Ocean Giants " choosing the Azores?


For the past three years, a spring phytoplankton bloom around the Azores archipelago has resulted in a unique gathering of huge, ravenous Blue, Fin and Sei Whales baleen whales  (largest whales) on their migration routes to the feeding grounds of the northern Atlantic.

We have chosen these dates as, from the statistics, this time will offer you the best chance to see these migrating whales where they spend a few days to feed on the rich food source here, something unique in the whole of Europe! Our look outs can spot them from land and direct the boats as they pass close to the volcanicislands. 

The island has very deep water as the volcano cuts deep down which is why we have resident sperm whales who dive here for the squid and also the waters are conducive to the generous phytoplankton bloom , a rich food source for the big whales. We often see the large "nursery" groups of females with calves 6-20 individuals resting on the surface and socialsing.

It is also possible to observe Short Finned Pilot Whales, orca, 7 species of dolphin and of course Sea Birds, and Marine life, such as Turtles and Manta Ray 

Our whale watching company has a research base offering a wealth of information and resources and it is possible to learn about the many research projects being conducted around the Azores. The Base use Rigid Hull Inflatable boats with comfortable seats to get us close to the action quickly.The boats are very sturdy and can move easily even if the sea is choppy. Lookouts, “the Vigia” on the shore guide us from the local harbour out into the ocean on the south side of the Island. They direct the boats by radio contact to locate the whales. This makes for consistently excellent sightings, the best in the world some say! Our guests are very impressed by the high standard offered by our boat company who are dedicated to offering you the best experience.

 

Group Tour

Your group on the boat will be hosted by either Dylan Walker, Amanda Stafford or Lisa Steiner with the local team including our resident marine biologist.This holiday adventure is with one of the most established whale and dolphin companies on the islands They have been taking groups to see the whales and dolphins on the Azorean Ocean for 20 years and offer a high standard of professionalism and expertise.

Costs 

Prices for week package (dates below)

  Accommdation
   
   

4**** Hotel Faial 

Boat type CATAMARAN

10-17 MAY & 17-24 MAY 2014

£950 pp( furthur details on application )

£190 single supplement £190

What is Included?

  • Airport transfer to the hotel.
  • Full services of local boat team who attends to all practical arrangements and any additional requests
  • 7 nights Accommodation and breakfast in hotel. Family prices and single supplements available.
  • All whale watching trips with expert skipper and guide. Snorkelling in the lagoon.
  • Whaling Museum visit (5 euros). Presentation on the geology of the Island with expert Island guide
  • Orientation, Marine biologist talk about the marine mammals of the Azores, audio-visual presentation and information about the migrations of dolphins and whales through the Azores.   Introductory meeting. Each week there is a program of specialist presentations on marine life, conservation and photography.
  • Extra activity information; island tours, vineyards, caves and hiking optional (payable locally).

Flights 

Click here for more info

Cost £260- £350 from London and also from most european cities

Whale Facts

Blue Whales :

  • They are the largest animal to have lived on earth , EVER!
  • They weigh 200 tonne and their tongue is the weight of an elephant!
  • Their mouth is so big it could hold a small bus
  • As few as 10, 000 survive today

Sperm Whales :

  • Largest toothed whales with largest brain
  • longest recorded dive (2hrs, 18 mins)
  • Heart is weight of 2 humans

 

Your Guide Dylan Walker

Dylan is a highly experienced and enthusiastic whale watching guide. He has many years of experience guiding around the world and has a written several books on whale watching. He is also co founder of Planet whale with Ian Rowlands which is becoming one of the leading online resources for everything you need to know about sustainable and appropriate whale watching.

www.whale-fest.com

Dylan brings alot of information about the blue whales and is extremely excited to return for another year to the Azores where he will work closely with our marine biologists and boat team. Dylan is also hosting the world whale conference and launcing the Save the Whale Re loaded campaign

www.whale-fest.com

Your Guide Amanda Stafford

Amanda founded The Dolphin Conection and has organised groups in the Azores for 18 years. She has considerable expertise on Whale watching and swimming with the Dolphins in this location and actively works to improve the standards and ensures our guests enjoy the highest professional quality of whale watching practices. This ensures you will have the best encounters and a really memorable holiday with everything taken care of. Amanda is also creative director of

www.whale-fest.com In this role she has created an inside the belly of the whale immersive experience.

Whale Watching Sample Itinerary

( You are free to plan your own free time around the boat schedule - see Other Activities around the islands)

Day1  ( Sat )

Arrivals Welcome briefing and introductions, complimentary drinks, orientation in the local area. You have time for a rest! Schedule of whale watching boat trips discussed and meeting the team.

Day 2  ( Sun)

Audio-visual briefing about The whales and dolphins of The Azores, with lots of visuals and information +history of whaling and whale watching in the Azores 

PM Boat trip 1 Whale watching activity.

Day 3  ( Mon )

AM Boat trip 2 Whale watching activity 

PM Visit to the Sperm whale museum ( optional - seasonal opening times ) run by marine biologist and whale expert ( €7 + transfer ). A fascinating museum with models of whales and squid and lots of in depth, fun to learn knowledge.  Or extra snorkelling time in the lagoon.

Rare bottlenose Whale photo Quaresma

Day 4  ( Tues)

AM Boat trip 3- Whale watching activity 

PM Optional Jeep tour of the Island (4 hours,  euros 35 per person ) to see the islands geology, the volcano and caving and climbing, Visiting famous sightseeing spots revealing the Island’s history. Both tours have a visit to the vineyards with an exceptional wine tasting activity included serving local culinary delicacies, a cultural museum and activities for the children, see other activities around the islands.

Day 5  ( Wed )

PM  Boat trip 4 Whale watching activity  Afternoon excursion to the caves ( €7 + transfer) You are taken underground to a tolkein ‘esque land with an expert  guide. ( those wanting to do a volcano climb could also fit this in to the itinerary at this time)

Day 6  ( Thurs )

AM Boat trip 5 Whale watching activity.  Or possible free day

PM  You can make a visit to the Vigia, the lookout who can spot the whales from 30 km, try your own spotting skills! A also to learn about the history of whaling in the Azores at local whaling museum newly built and information centre.

Nature walks, exploring the wildlife inland, nature reserve or free time relaxing.  

Dinner at hotel, socialising with other group members  

Day 7  ( Fri )

AM Boat trip 5 Whale watching activity.  Or possible free day

Nature walks, exploring the wildlife inland, nature reserve or free time relaxing.  

Dinner at hotel, socialising with other group members  OR  if available Evening Presentation slide show by local Nikon prize winning skipper/ photographer  of beautiful marine photography taken in the Azores. Completion of holiday.

 

Day 8   ( Sat )

Morning departure or departures in the pm can take an opportunity of another boat trip or you can choose to add on an extra night. Boat trip 6 ( euros 50 ) or a replacement  trip if any days lost due to weather.

Any other catch up activities or extra activities such as donkey rides, full cave expedition, full or part climb of the volcano for our really active guests. Souvenir shopping

Afternoon departure

Optional Extra Activities (additional cost)

  • Cultural tour, Jeep tour about the geology of the Island, lakes caldeira, vineyards on the lava fields, wine tasting and history of the island. ( 4 hours 45 euros )
  • local walks, local fauna, observation of the sea from land,
  • Visit to the Sperm whale museum ( taxi transfer extra with marine biologist) +  walk to the "vigia" (expert lookout for sighting the whales)
  • Exploring the underground caves ( 3 hrs, 15 euros) or climbing the volcano Optional extra excursions require additional cost
  • Climbing the volcano ( 4 hour ascent, day and night climbs with specialist mountain guide 50 euros )  
  • Horse riding

The guide/ hosts are there to make sure everything runs smoothly and to make extra arrangements that clients require such as climbing the volcano with an expert guide if requested.

Please remember these are wild animals of the open ocean. Sightings are not guaranteed, however the Azores is one of the most abundant sightings record for dolphins and whales in the world!

To book this holiday :    see  Booking  page 

Option 2  - 4**** Resort hotel and Catamaran

10 - 17 MAY & 17 - 24 MAY 2014

PDF information sheet about option 2 to print

Hotel

Our hotel offers a high level of comfort with excellent facilities including indoor and outdoor pools, health suite and a high quality restaurant with stunning mountain and sea views. The hotel is ideally situated for the harbour and to explore the delights of Horta Marina and the transatlantic yachts.                                       

Hotel Faial, recently refurbished enjoys beautiful views of the sea, Mount Pico and neighbouring islands. Its elevated position, set in charming gardens with stunning scenery makes it a perfect choice for a peaceful, relaxing stay, that is close to all the action.

Whales and The Boat

This is a relaxing week with 3 full days at sea on the large, well equiped, Catamaran. Onboard the Catamaran, which takes 12 people, you can stand or sit and enjoy excellent sightings from the high viewing platform or relax on the comfortable decks and loungers. Lunch is served in between exciting sightings on this stable boat. There are toilet facilities onboard with a walkway to board the boat. We have chosen these dates in May to offer you the best chance to see the migrating baleen whales, a unique gathering of huge, ravenous Blue, Fin and Sei Whales who are attracted to these nutrient rich waters by the spring phytoplankton bloom! They stay in the area to feed and our expert land based lookouts can direct our boats to the action!

 

Your Guide

The tour is hosted by Lisa Steiner, a resident marine biologist who shares her wealth of research with whales in the Azores over many years.

Location and gettng there

Fly to Horta on Faial Island and you will be transferred to your hotel and welcomed by our guide. The town of
Horta has a classic ‘maritime feel’ and you will have plenty of time to explore local attractions. A visit to
Horta is incomplete without a visit to the famous “Peter’s Bar” frequented by transatlantic yacht crews
offering colourful tales of their time at sea! These crews paint momentos of their journey on the harbor
walls.

Why choose us?

  • Our team have 20 years experience with expert friendly skippers and marine biologist offering talks and audio-visual presentations about research projects
  • You can learn about marine conservation in the Azores. There is also a shop selling dolphin and whale souvenirs and useful items for your trip.
  • Resident lookouts or vigia to locate the whales and direct boats to the action by radio contact,thus guaranteeing more sightings.
  • Boats are maintained to a high standard by in house boat engineers and are never more than 3/4 years old thus we offer a very reliable service with high safety standards which is important for our guests
  • English, French, Portuguese, German and Dutch spoken

To confirm booking

These trips are very popular with limited group size and early booking is recommended. You can email us or call to discuss the availability and the accommodation options. Also we can send you a booking form with which you can send a deposit.

To reserve a place, email us with your required accommodation, we will send booking forms and confirm.

You send a £250 non- refundable deposit. This can be paid by credit or debit card, bank transfer or cheque

 

 

Newsletter

Click here for out newsletter which has some interesting movie news, photos and informative stories. Learn more about dolphins and whales. Also a kids section which may keep them entertained!!

New You Tube link to see some stunning underwater footage with the dolphins

See in main body of text under unforgettable experience

We are offering an exciting new program of swimming with dolphins holidays and whale and dolphin observation. Prices range from £790 for a week. Click holidays tab above for more info

Testimonials

***** I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on! do it and enrich your life! I returned home feeling more alive and inspired than ever before.

Dawn McClean, London

****"The Dolphin Connection team were great, the skippers had a lot of sensitivity to the animals and guided us to have some sensational encounters underwater and from the boats with so many dolphins and whales. I will be back!!" The company has a very responsible ethos and this this precious, unspoilt part of the world is being well preserved.

Howard Brown- Cheltenham

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