Today

15.00º < 18.00º
Sunday

16.00º < 18.00º
Monday

12.00º < 20.00º
Tuesday

12.00º < 18.00º
Wednesday

13.00º < 16.00º
PT
ES
DE
EN
EN
Today

15.00º < 18.00º
Sunday

16.00º < 18.00º
Monday

12.00º < 20.00º
Tuesday

12.00º < 18.00º
Wednesday

13.00º < 16.00º
PT
ES DE

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQ – Is it necessary to book a voyage in advance?
Aqua Açores recommends you to book with some advance to ensure your seat.

FAQ – Will I really see whales?
Aqua Açores cannot guarantee the sighting on all trips. However the skipper embarks passengers only after communication with the lookout and knowing the location of the cetaceans. The success rate of viewings of Aqua Açores is 98 percent.

FAQ – What happens if the weather and the sea aren’t good?
For Aqua Açores safety comes first! If for some reason the ideal conditions aren’t met for this activity then the trip will be postponed.

FAQ – What clothes should I wear for my Whale watching trip?
Aqua Açores advises you to wear warm and comfortable clothing, hat, bathing suit and towel, sunscreen and sunglasses with UV protection. Still, binoculars to observe the animals, camera or camcorder.

FAQ – What if I get seasick?
Aqua Açores advices you to take a pill against motion sickness half hour before your whale watching trip.

FAQ – Are there any toilets on board?
Aqua Açores has two boats with toilets – Oceanus and Moby Dick.

FAQ – I have a motor disability. What is the best boat for me?
Aqua Açores advices you to contact the company for a better evaluation of your case.

FAQ – Why choose Lajes do pico?
In the Azores, it is possible to officially sight 27 species of whales and dolphins, among the approximately 80 known in the world. Furthermore this region was, in particularly Lajes, considered by the journalist Victoria Homewood of the newspaper Telegraph “as one of the top 10 destinations for Whale Watching the world”, in March 2010.

FAQ – Which cetacean is more observed in the Azores, and what is the best time of year?
According to statistics of Aqua Açores the Sperm whale is the most commonly observed animal in the seas of the Azores, mostly between the months of July, August and September.

FAQ – If I am pregnant can I do whale watching?
Your safety and comfort is our priority. Regardless of the time of pregnancy you should contact the company Aqua Açores for a better evaluation of your case.

About the services

Whale Watching and Swimming

1 – Meeting point: Whale of Aqua Açores (at the entrance of the harbor of Lajes do Pico);
2 – Daily trips from Lajes do Pico at 9h00 and at 14h00 (every trip is about three hours);
3 – Minimum of four guests;
4 – Trips depending on the weather conditions;
5 – Trips conditioned on the confirmation of cetaceans in the navigation area of Aqua Açores;
6 – The company Aqua Açores offers windbreakers and mineral water;
7 – For swimming: Aqua Açores has “shorty”, mask, snorkel and fins for rental;
8 –Cancelling policy:
Booking fee of 30% of the total value;
Cancelling up to one month before the booked trip - refund of the total paid value;
Cancelling up to one week before booked trip - refund 10% of the paid value;
Cancelling up to 48h before voyage - no refund.
9 – Refund of the total paid value in case of no sighting of any species;
10 – Trips in accordance with the Rules of Conduct.

Notes:
– You have to know how to swim and have some previous experience in snorkeling. Only two persons at the time are allowed in the water, in the presence of dolphins. It is up to the skipper to decide whether all the conditions are met for swimming.
– Aqua Açores will not be held responsible for any damage or loss of personal belongings or equipment. The company recommends the passengers to proper conditioning during the voyage on sea.

Boat rental

1 – Meeting point: Whale of Aqua Açores (at the entrance of the harbor of Lajes do Pico);
2 – Daily trips from Lajes do Pico at 9h00 and at 14h00 (every trip is about three hours);
3 – Minimum of four guests;
4 – Trips depending on the weather conditions;
5 – Trips conditioned on the confirmation of cetaceans in the navigation area of Aqua Açores;
6 – The company Aqua Açores offers windbreakers and mineral water;
7 – For swimming: Aqua Açores has “shorty”, mask, snorkel and fins for rental;
8 – Cancelling policy:
Booking fee of 30% of the total value;
Cancelling up to one month before the booked trip - refund of the total paid value;
Cancelling up to one week before booked trip - refund 10% of the paid value;
Cancelling up to 48h before voyage - no refund.
9 – Refund of the total paid value in case of no sighting of any species;
10 – Trips in accordance with the Rules of Conduct;
11 – Trip upon availability.

Notes:
– You have to know how to swim and have some previous experience in snorkeling. Only two persons at the time are allowed in the water, in the presence of dolphins. It is up to the skipper to decide whether all the conditions are met for swimming.
– Note2: Aqua Açores will not be held responsible for any damage or loss of personal belongings or equipment. The company recommends the passengers to proper conditioning during the voyage on sea.

Photographic tips

Above water tips

For onboard photography a 300 mm telephoto, or a zoom lens that extends to 300 mm, is indispensable. Lenses of longer focal length, than 300 mm, are too hard to handle on a rocking boat.
The angle lenses are ideal to catch a group of dolphins riding on the bow wave, or which approach the boats. Then a 12 to 70 mm standard zoom lens is suitable.
In the last years digital cameras achieved a great development which led to the (almost) abandonment of the film. Most photographers, professionals and researchers, work with digital cameras, of high quality. The immediate access to photos, easy storage and processing of images makes this an unbeatable support.
To stop the motion of a breaching whale and a rocking boat you should select a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second. Although on cloudy days you may have to dropdown to 1/500th or1/250th of a second.
You should always be alert, have your camera nearby, and be ready to shoot. Surface behavior does not normally last very long, so you need to be ready. Try to anticipate: for dolphins, take the photo after the animal spouts above the water. For humpback, sperm, or other fluking whales, you need to photograph them from behind, waiting till the tail is high above the water and at right angles to the camera. Be careful do not crowd or chase the whales.
Try to use a long lens and get close enough to fill the frame of your image with the subject. Cetaceans often exhibit repeated behaviors, for instance, a whale will often breach several times in rapid succession (usually three). If you miss the first breach, be prepared for the second or third.

Tips for underwater photography

To be allowed to photograph whales in the Azores, you need to previously submit a request to a special license to the Direcção Regional dos Assuntos do Mar. Aqua Açores can help you in this procedure.
For underwater photography you should select a compact, waterproof camera, or a single lens reflex camera (SLR) with an underwater housing, that you can easily handle in the water.
You will need to use a wide-angle lens for underwater photography. Depending on the visibility and the cetaceans’ behavior you’ll need 12mm lenses and a fisheye lens.
Strobes are never used to photograph whales, since they are too large to be adequately lit by a strobe, and they generally do not like to be flashed. Some countries legally forbid the use of underwater flashes on cetaceans. Some dolphins do not mind the strobe, but many do mind, therefore Aqua Açores advices you not to use one.
To get quality images of a cetacean depends on the animal’s behavior – if they allow or not our presence.
A calm and trustful behavior is the key to a successful work with whales and dolphins.
With whales you should enter calmly the water, swim towards the animal. Try to be as silent as possible with your fins and avoid unexpected gestures with your hands.
In the case of dolphins, they do get easily bored and like the objects of their attention to be active. Try swimming rapidly, not necessarily at the dolphins.
Aqua Açores advices to have your camera nearby, and be ready to shoot, otherwise the animals easily lose their interest and you’ll lose your opportunity for a shot.
Please share your sharp, close-up images with WDCS (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society). Researchers are interested in identifying the distribution of individual animals. Your contribution will be of great help. It's important to send a copy of the photograph, not the original. Please also note the date and time of the photograph, the location (GPS if possible), and your name and contact details.
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
About the services
Photographic tips