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Marine Life Safari for Divers
April, May, June 2016

Until now we have been keeping a secret...
Tope shark (Galeorhinus galeus) - Azores Squid - Azores Felimida purpurea - Azores Felimare edmundsi - Azores
Watch the video below. If it doesn't make you want to dive with us, don't waste your time and and walk away from this page. But if it does...

JOIN THE DISCOVERY

If watching the video made you want to join us, you will be the first to discover Pico's secret dives.

Our summer trips to see sharks and mobula rays offshore provide some world class diving, but there is more on offer closer to shore too. It is actually possible to dive around the coasts of Pico throughout the year and divers interested in seeing a broader range of marine life can do so among some dramatic seascapes.

Narrow coastal shelves, submarine walls, canyons and escarpments bring coastal, pelagic and deep water marine habitats in close proximity to each other. Spring is the best time to dive the coast. At this time the sea around Pico is awash in a soup of plankton, food is plentiful and the marine life proliferates bursting into activity.

It is an extraordinary time of year when divers can also go whale watching and expect to see Blue whales, Fin whales or Humpback whales lingering around the island to feed during their annual migrations.
Octopus
Young octopus walking - Photo by Justin Hart


WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE PROGRAMME

The Marine Life Safari 2016 for scuba divers includes:
  • 7-night accommodation in Bed & Breakfast
    (double room with private bathroom, breakfast included)
  • 8 Dives (includes divemaster, tanks, weights)
  • 4 Night dives (includes divemaster, tanks, weights)
  • 1 Whale Watching trip (3-4 hours)
  • 1 Snorkel/Freedive with Dolphins trip (3-4 hours)
  • Transfer to/from the airport
  • Welcome and assistance throughout stay in Pico
858 Euro/person
(Price based on double room occupancy. Please contact us for single room or extra bed quotations)


OTHER LODGING OPTIONS

Price
Hotel Caravelas
4-star hotel, breakfast included
In April and May:
949 Euro/person

In June:
984 Euro/person


Questions about the programme? Please fill in the text area at the bottom of the page to let us know about any special requirements regarding your accommodation and/or post any questions about the programme.

Undescribed species from genus Okenia
Undescribed species from genus Okenia - Photo by Justin Hart

GET A TASTE OF DISCOVERY

Our early season dive package is a great opportunity for divers who wish to see, photograph or film the diverse range of marine life that can be found in the Azores. Throughout the schedule marine life will be sought during coastal dives undertaken in the day and at night.

Despite Pico's dynamic ecology surprisingly little of the coast is regularly surveyed by marine biologists and, if you explore the volcanic seascape it is still possible to find species not recorded in the archipelago before, perhaps completely new species too.

In 2011 we recorded the first occurrence of the nudibranch Phyllidia flava and in 2013 we found an undescribed species of nudibranch from the genus Okenia.

At just 300,000 years old, Pico is still comparatively young and still represents somewhere new to settle for colonising marine life.

At present a slow 'tropicalisation' of the whole Azorean archipelago appears to be underway and increasing numbers of warmer water species are being found, such as the Sharpnose puffer (Canthigaster rostrata), Red cornetfish (Fistularia petimba) and White spotted octopus (Callistoctopus macropus).

Many of these marine species are carried to the island on ocean currents and because Pico lies on the edge of the Sargasso Sea, within a massive gyre that rotates clockwise around the North Atlantic, marine life can settle around the island from either side of the ocean.

At night, the rocky shallows really come alive and in this package special emphasis is placed on night diving. While the parrot fish sleep, krill and shrimp swarm, sea hares spawn and squids emerge with all manner of other life to hunt in open water. Among the bioluminescence, strange frog-like calls sometimes pervade the darkness too, their source being unknown.

Divers can experience all this and see a range of coastal fish varying from tiny clingfish, small blennies, scorpion fish, damsels, sea horses and wrasse to larger moray eels, congers, stingrays and groupers, even Monkfish (Lophius piscatorius) and Tope shark (Galeorhinus galeus).

Marine invertebrates or 'critters' are ever present too and include bizarre zooplankton, exquisite nudibranchs as well as inquisitive squid and crustaceans ranging in size from krill to massive Spiny lobsters (Palinurus elephas).

Black corals also bloom in deep water, but can still be found in dark recesses nearer the surface where jewel anemones smother the rocks in wave washed cataracts.

Ever changing and still evolving, the island's coast and rocky shores continue to hide secrets and leave much to discover.

For nudibranchs, we have some local expertise but, if species identification is difficult, we have a field microscope for closer examination of specimens as well as access to accredited experts, Dr. Peter Wirtz (author of Macaronesian marine life) and Dr. Lucas Cercur (titular professor at the University of Cadiz, Spain).


Aplypsia fasciata - Azores
Aplypsia fasciata - Photo by Justin Hart

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

To ensure each diver gets the best out of our guide's slug finding skills each safari will be restricted to no more than 5 divers.

The dive sites will be selected according to local conditions and guided by one of our experienced resident dive guides.

Should conditions allow, some dive sites can be selected to target specific species.

Once initiated, experienced divers can also choose to dive independently from the dive guide to seek their own subject matter but this will only be possible at certain dive spots, and will depend if the divers' can demonstrate good navigational skills and a responsible attitude.

Tambje ceutae - Azores
Locust Lobster - Photo by Justin Hart


Contact us and check space availability

TOUR DATES 2016

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION


Please notice: disabled checkboxes correspond to fully booked dates.













Transportation is included for dive sites that are accessed by shore.

All dives are proceeded by a briefing and are paced to allow plenty of time for photography and film making.

Every diver is required to have valid Dive Insurance.

Please also consider insuring your diving and photographic gear as we are not liable to refund any damages.

Thornback Ray - Photo by Justin Hart
Thornback Ray - Photo by Justin Hart


NUMBER OF GUESTS

No. of adults: Accompanying kids under 3 years old: Accompanying kids from 3 to 11 years old:

Caloria elegans - Azores
Caloria elegans - Photo by Justin Hart

YOUR CONTACT DETAILS

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Whale Watching Swim with the Dolphins Scuba Diving Discover the Azores
Whale Watching Swim with the Dolphins Scuba Diving The Azores

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