In the middle of the Atlantic, nine seamounts rise out from the Azores Plateau, an oceanic platform that lies less than 2,000m below sea level, and form solid ground, the Azores islands. An oasis created by volcanic activity and a hotspot for a vast number of marine species.




One of the reasons that the Azores is such a hotspot for cetaceans and other aquatic life is due to the islands being pinnacles of seamounts that stretch like a mountain chain under the water, the mid Atlantic ridge. Here, underwater currents that travel across the depths of the Atlantic Ocean will meet the seamount ridge and create “upwellings” that bring vast amounts of nutrients closer to the surface. A greater concentration of nutrients leads to growing populations of plankton, fish and other animals, thus creating a great food source and attracting whales and dolphins to the Archipelago.

From the smallest plankton and krill to the greatest whales, our ocean contains a unique assemblage of habitats and species.





There are almost 90 species of cetaceans in the world, and more than 20 of them have been recorded in the waters around the Azores. Some of them can be seen here all year round while sightings of others are more seasonal.


The top three encountered species are the common dolphin, the common bottlenose dolphin and the sperm whale, which can be encountered during the whole year but are more abundant during the warmer part. Baleen whales migrate past these waters and are usually most abundant in the spring and early summer, though, occasionally, they also come around to feed during the summer months. Other species, like the Atlantic spotted dolphin, only stay around while the water temperature is warm.


Observing these marine mammals in the Azores is a mix of the expected and the unexpected, making it both reliable and exciting.


About 460 fish species have been recorded in the Azores, including large pelagic fish, like the Atlantic blue marlin, swordfish, bluefin tuna, common dolphinfish, ocean sunfish, hammerhead shark, mako shark, blue shark, giant manta, devil ray and the whale shark.

Along the coast, we also observe a colorful range of fish, such as parrot, scorpion, damsel, cardinal and puffer fish, blennies, wrasses, moray eels, as well as eagle and sting rays.

Aside from fish, we can also find a plethora of fascinating invertebrates: octopuses, sea slugs, crabs and lobsters, sea stars, urchins and cucumbers can be found closer to shore while, further out at sea, we can also come across Portuguese man-o’-wars and salps.



Sea Turtles

Sea turtles are the most widespread marine reptiles and can be found in Azorean waters throughout the year. The most encountered turtles during our expeditions are the loggerhead, leatherback, green and, more rarely, the olive ridley sea turtles.









Sea Birds

The Azores are an important nesting and resting area for many species of seabirds, including the Cory’s, the Manx, the Macaronesian and the Great shearwater, the Bulwer’s petrel, the Madeiran, the Leach’s and the Monteiro’s storm-petrel, different Turns and Gulls, the Red-billed tropicbird and many more.