Whale conservation vacation in the Azores

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2019: 1 Jul, 15 Jul
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Whale conservation vacation in the Azores

Environment

As avid marine conservationists, the facilitators on this project, Joana and Tiago are completely dedicated to the cause. To them, the conservation and data collection of a wealth of cetacean species (including sperm, blue, sei, and fin whales and a wealth of dolphin species) is a top priority. Here follows a few words from them and their team:

"We pride ourselves on providing our guests with highly personalised and professional service. Environmental responsibility is a top priority for us. We firmly believe that we must educate, involve and inspire people about the world’s marine ecosystems and their amazing inhabitants, helping to create a worldwide awareness of ocean conservation issues."

By joining this volunteer placement, you are supporting vital cetacean research, data collection and conservation efforts within the islands of the Azores. You will contribute a lasting impact that will be of significant help in cetacean research and conservation strategies across the globe.

The project also pledges an emphasis on environmental responsibility with Joana and Tiago promising that:

- We re-use all our plastic drinking cups.
- We recycle all our waste; guests are informed and invited to do the same.
- We avoid using paper as much as we can; when really necessary, we use recycled paper.
- We refrain from using plastic bags. The plastic in our oceans is killing 100,000 sea turtles and other marine mammals each year.
- We adhere to slower cruise speeds that are more environmentally-friendly and reduce our carbon footprint.
- Our boats and office are cleaned with biodegradable soap.
- We have a strict cigarette butts policy: cigarette butts are not biodegradable and impose serious threats to marine life and increase water pollution - never discard them on the ground or to the sea! A proper receptacle outside our office is to be used by smokers.
- We organise annually underwater cleanups and remove trash from the sea in all our trips.

Community

This project is run in association with responsible tourism and offers scuba diving expeditions, whale watching boat tours, diving with blue sharks and snorkelling with wild pods of dolphins. It allows tourists to enjoy the world's natural wonders but without having a detrimental impact on them.

Joana and Tiago's passion not only lies in whale and dolphin conservation but also in working within the local community of Horta in Faial Island. Local conservation and animal welfare initiatives are wholeheartedly supported by the team, who in turn support local restaurants and shops in Horta which helps to create successful and long-lasting relationships between tourists and the local community.

The emphasis here is also on the marine education of both tourists and locals alike - letting them know about the importance of whale and cetacean research and conservation, as well as the need for sustainable practices with regards to fishing, sailing, and keeping both the ocean and beaches clean and litter free.

1 Reviews of Whale conservation vacation in the Azores

5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 18 May 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Seeing a blue whale for the first time in my life

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring warm clothes for sea even in May it is quite chilly. Sea sickness pills: even if you are not sensitive some rough day at sea it may bring extra comfort. I did not bring but it is easy and cheap to buy at a pharmacy in Horta.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I hope it will help for the conservation and understanding better local populations of whales

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


This was a great experience, Tiago and Joana are really super nice people who care a lot about volunteers. Even when we could not go in the sea because of the weather they were offering other activities. They also spend a lot of time on the education part, sharing their knowledge on whales biology, Azores and much more. Seeing so many whales, including blue whales, was priceless

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