These are exciting adventure holidays to discover the underwater world of the dolphins. You will observe dolphins and whales around the boats and also enter the water to watch them and swim with them using a mask and snorkel.
Looking into the crystal clear ocean depths wearing a mask and snorkel you can have encounters with these very curious and playful mammals. Watching their exquisite movements and listening to a symphony of sound you feel part of their magical world. On this program you will also have many opportunities to see the big whales form the boats when there has been a sighting.
You will be given assistance to develop competence and confidence in the water with the dolphins by our guides. We approach the dolphins in a sensitive and non intrusive way. You will be with a small group of 8 people on the boats. You will enter the water in pairs so our guides can see you from the boat at all times and to minimise the impact on the dolphins. You will need your own mask, snorkel and fins for the trip. Wet suits are recommended and can be brought with you or you can buy a new wet suit at the base for 37 euros.
We assume you have a good swimming ability and it helps if you are familiar with using a mask and snorkel.
People travel in couples, alone, with friends or family. The groups are very diverse and sociable, a great way to meet new people. See sample Itinerary below which is arranged around the boat trips, other activities around the islands being optional with plenty of time for relaxation and reflection.
In the Azores sighting the dolphins and whales is easier than in many other locations due to the assistance of the "Vigia" or "look-out". These are the men who traditionally used to act as land-based lookouts for hunting whales. Now they use their remarkable tracking skills to scan the sea, identifying and locating different species, and, through radio contact, direct our boats to them. This guarantees more opportunities to encounter the animals and spend time with them. We see dolphins and whales on 99\% of our trips to sea!
Entering the water and swimming with the dolphins requires an average level of fitness. There will be snorkelling practice from the boat on the first day and time to learn our 'in-water encounter' procedures. You will develop confidence, skill and sensitivity with dolphins in the open ocean. These holidays are very suitable for children 7+, great family experience. Bring your own life jacket if you need one for snorkelling. LIfe jackets are provided on the boats.
This provides plenty of opportunity for developing confidence in the water and lots of time with the dolphins. The dolphins are very curious, playful and sociable. However they are wild animals and we always respect their moods and behaviour and let that determine when and how long we stay in the water with them. Sightings of sperm whales are common. We also see many other species of whales and dolphins, turtles, Manta Ray, sea birds and much more.
This involves swimming together or perhaps just floating above them witnessing their exquisite movements and sounds in the big blue as they swim beneath us.
Sometimes they gesture and play with us and occasionally an inquisitive dolphin will come up close and look us in the eye!
Talks on marine biology and conservation about the dolphins and whales in the Azores by local experts and our guides.trips to the sperm whale museum which has models of the whales and lots of facinating information. Also you can learn about the whaling history of the islands which stopped 20 years ago and has been replaced by the eco-tourism. The populations of whales is growing steadily now they are no longer hunted and we see more of the larger males which used to be killed.
The experiences people have after swimming with dolphins and the ways these beautiful sentient dolphins and whales touch us is very moving and inspiring so we welcome your stories and many we publish.
This offers a wealth of knowledge about the geology, history and the flora and fauna. There are many other activities that can be taken independently such as climbing the volcano, nature walks, snorkelling and tour inside the underground caves with guide and vineyards with wine tasting, read more here. These incur an extra cost.
Please note you are free to make your own itinerary for the week as this is an independent trip The Itinerary is an example of what you can do. The boat trips are fixed and you can ask for assistance in arranging other activities according to personal preferences.
There will be a talk about the jeep tour of the island and possibilities to climb the volcano.
Breakfast is INCLUDED. Meals are taken in the hotel or local restaurant and evening meal costs euros8-12. Extra evening events and day activities can be arranged reflecting interests.
Arrivals Welcome briefing and introductions, complimentary drinks, orientation in the local area. You have time for a rest!
AM Snorkelling practice : assessment of competence in swimming and snorkelling, The Team offer extra instruction to develop confidence and competence if needed.
You will be introduced to the safety briefing and ethical protocol for boat approaches when swimming in the open sea with dolphins .
Audio-visual briefing about The whales and dolphins of The Azores, with lots of visuals and information + instruction in how to swim with wild dolphins
PM Boat trip 1 Swimming with dolphins activity.
AM Boat trip 2 Swimming with dolphins activity
PM Visit to the Whale museum ( optional) . A fascinating museum about the whaling history of he Azores. Or extra snorkelling time in the lagoon. ( ask for furthur info)
Evening talk about the geology of the island, the jeep tour, climbing the volcano and exploring the caves, craters and volcanic lakes. You will meet the mountain guide and you can arrange to join a jeep tour or a climb.
AM Boat trip 3- Swimming with dolphins activity
PM Optional Jeep tour (4 hours, euros 50 per person ) to see the islands geology, the volcano and caving and climbing, Visiting famous sightseeing spots revealing the Island's history. This tour a visit to the vineyards with an exceptional wine tasting activity included serving local culinary delicacies, a cultural museum and activities for the children.
Evening presentation on research projects in the Azores
PM Boat trip 4 Swimming with dolphins activity
Afternoon optional 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)
AM Boat trip 5 Swimming with dolphins activity.
PM Visit to the Vigia, the lookout who can spot the whales from 30 km, try your own spotting skills!
and also to learn about the history of whaling in the Azores at local whale museum and information centre.
Nature walks, exploring the wildlife inland, nature reserve or free time by the lagoon relaxing.
Dinner at hotel, socialising 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.
Departures. OR you can take an opportunity of another boat trip. ( or a replacement trip if any days lost due to weather) Any other catch up activities or extra activities such as hiking, full cave expedition or full/part climb up the volcano for really active guests! visiting the whale museums or souvenir shopping.
There are phenomenal numbers of dolphins and whales in the Azorean waters .The islands are a major meeting place for both humans and cetaceans & attract scientists, naturalists, international photographers and divers as well as some tourists. It is also a port of call for transatlantic yachtsmen.
Conversations on land buzz with tales of recent adventures and discoveries. In the ocean there is a similar rich exchange of communication, as the many different resident and transient species of dolphin & whale converge at what is sometimes referred to as “The Cetacean cross-roads of the world.” It is not uncommon to meet pods of dolphin of between 50 and 200, leaping with exuberance and vitality around the boats.
Some species display a delightful curiosity and are very sociable with us above and below the water! Our whale and dolphin watch company is the most established on the islands and offers a wealth of experience and expertise. Sighting the dolphins and whales is easier in the Azores than many other locations due to the assistance of the Vigia. These are the men who traditionally used to act as land-based lookouts for hunting whales. Now they use their remarkable tracking skills to scan the sea, identifying and locating different species, and, through radio contact, direct our boats to them. This guarantees more opportunities to encounter the animals and spend time with them.
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!!
Our swimming with dolphins programs include whale watching. So you can combine swimming with dolphins and whale and dolphin watching and a family member or friend who only wants to observe can join the boat trips. ask for details.
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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
***** 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