Blue Whale Migration

DID YOU KNOW?
The Blue Whale Migration Programme was first launched by CW Azores in 2013 and, since then, over 97% of the guests that took part enjoyed close encounters with Blue whales.

 Blue Whales off Pico Island

Data collected from our land-based lookout show that Blue whales start passing by our waters earlier than other baleen whales during their northbound spring migration. They are also the first to leave the Azores on their way to high latitude foraging grounds, so that their presence peaks on average between mid-March and mid-April.

The outstanding opportunity to witness the migration of the biggest animal ever to inhabit our planet corresponds to a time of the year when weather and sea conditions on Pico Island can be at times challenging, and this is why we ask you to plan a 10-day long stay, so that you will get the most out of your dream-come-true holiday.

While the program focuses mainly on the Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), the list of other cetaceans you are likely to see during your stay on Pico Island is remarkably long (see Species Checklist on this page).

Since we do really also focus on scientific research, while on Pico Island you will be with us while we perform the following tasks:

  • Photo-identification of baleen whales
  • Collecting baleen whale faecal samples for genetic analysis
  • Collecting behavioural data

The Blue Whale Migration program includes 5 scheduled trips to sea. We can guarantee 3 of these trips and, if the weather or sea conditions do not allow us to complete all the planned trips within the available time, we will replace the 2 lost trips with land-based activities. These include island tours, nature treks, birdwatching excursions and snorkelling trips.

For a two-week stay (i.e. a 4-day extension of the program) we will guarantee all 5 sea trips and, when conditions allow, offer an additional trip. If guaranteed trips cannot be undertaken, then their full price will be refunded.

 Blue Whale Migration: what you get

  • 10-nights accommodation in B&B
    (double room with private bathroom, breakfast included)
  • 5 Whale Watching trips
    (3-4 hours per trip)
  • 1 Guided visit to the 'Vigia'
    (the lookout used to spot whales and dolphins from land)
  • 1 Full Educational Program
    Session 1 - How the Ocean works
    Session 2 - Understanding whales and dolphins: biology and evolution
    Session 3 - Understanding whales and dolphins: identification and behaviour
    Session 4 - Whale and dolphin conservation
    Session 5 - Research programs at CW Azores: theory and training
  • 2 Documentary venues
    (followed by a discussion section with one of our scientists)
  • 1 Guided visit to a museum focusing on cetaceans
  • Transfer to/from the airport
  • Welcome and assistance throughout stay

 Scientific and Educational aspects

By joining the Blue Whale Migration Program you will help the progress of our research project on baleen whales.

See more and pay less

Despite being a Whale Watching company, scientific research is a priority to CW Azores and we are ready to offer you a very special price for this program so that we can spend a significant amount of time out at sea in March/April, while still covering boat and fuel costs.

The more you learn, the more you will love it!

Recent studies, including our own research, support the evidence that baleen whales do not just use our waters as a navigation cue on their way to higher latitudes; they also use our study area for feeding on krill and/or fish. The first results of our studies were presented at the 2011 European Cetacean Society Conference and the support of our guests allowed us to achieve significant scientific results, such as the identification of the krill species our baleen whales feed upon and the observation that some individuals linger here for weeks rather than just passing by.

Please click below to download the publication (434KB, PDF):
Enrico Villa, Justin D. Hart, Arthur de C. Baker, Veronica Rossin 2011. Fin whales feeding on Northern krill off Pico Island (Azores) during spring migration. Poster presented at the XXV European Cetacean Society Conference, Cadiz, Spain, 21-23 March 2011.

While on Pico Island you will be with us while we perform the following tasks:
  • Photo identification of baleen whales
  • Collecting krill samples
  • Collecting baleen whale faecal samples for genetic analysis
  • Collecting behavioural data

Enjoy a rich educational programme

How does the ocean work? What makes its inhabitants so intriguing and mysterious?
With a strong focus on whales and dolphins, our educational programme will allow you to get the most out of your Whale Watching trips, by helping you look at the animals with new eyes and from different perspectives.

It will be a lot of fun. We promise!

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(full package, including accommodation)

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