Azores Shark & Ray Safari 2020

Sharks and rays are often the highlight of a dive, if you’re lucky to see them in the short window that we as divers have in their underwater world. During my recent trip to Pico in the Azores I was lucky enough to find myself in a true shark and ray paradise, in the deep blue waters of the mid-Atlantic Ocean. During my stay I observed blue and mako sharks in the pelagic, large mobula rays (and even an oceanic manta!) around an offshore seamount, big stingrays near the coast and juvenile eagle rays in a huge cave.  If you haven’t yet done so, make sure to read about my time in the Azores!

I am super stoked to announce that I will be organizing a trip together with CWAzores to not only give you the opportunity to see these beautiful species, but also to learn more about them! During a 10-day trip we want to show you as many shark and ray species as possible around Pico, Faial and in the offshore waters of these islands. Think about the majestic mako shark, blue shark and large mobula rays! But, that’s not all, we actually want to teach you something as well. During four evening presentations we would like to show you what it is like to study sharks and rays (and why these studies are important!), introduce you to the biology of sharks and rays, tell you more about the status of these animals (with a focus on the North Atlantic region) and show you how to safely interact with these animals in the wild.

The Plan
The trip will take place in August – early September 2020, more details will follow.

  • 10 days of accommodation on Pico Island in the Azores.
  • 4 local dives – chances to see juvenile eagle rays, round stingrays and roughtail stingrays.
  • 3 Shark dives – Blue sharks, with chances on short-fin mako sharks and smooth hammerhead sharks.
  • 2 Princess Alice dives (one day) – Sicklefin devil rays/mobulas, possibly roughtail stingray.
  • 4 Evening presentations on shark and ray biology, behavior, scientific research and conservation.
  • During days off additional activities can be booked. Think about climbing the highest mountain of Portugal, whale watching or taste the local wines!

Interested? Make sure to sign up at the bottom of this page!

The Team

Guido Leurs is a researcher and PhD. candidate at the University of Groningen, focusing on the ecology of sharks and rays. His studies and research have enabled him to work with a lot of different species and different locations. From white sharks in South Africa, silky sharks in the Dutch Caribbean to bull sharks and cownose rays in Guinea Bissau. Besides working with these animals in the field and working on the data behind his computer, he also loves to spend time with them underwater!

Martijn Schouten is a diveguide and skipper and specializes in conducting safe shark diving worldwide. Martijn has over 8 years of experience working in the Azores, among other places mainly focusing on diving with blue and mako sharks. Besides the Azores, Martijn has also worked with sharks in South Africa, the Bahamas and the Dutch Caribbean.

The Location
The Azores are a Portuguese archipelago existing of nine islands of which most are located a little east of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at approximately 1,300 kilometers from Portugal. The islands are from volcanic origin and of all nine islands, Pico is the youngest at 300,000 years old. This island is also home to Mount Pico, the highest mountain of Portugal at a height of 2,351 meters. The volcanic soil of The Azores is widely used for the production of local wines. Underwater this volcanic origin is also clearly visible in remnant craters and formed lava tunnels provide the perfect scenery underwater in addition to the rocky shores. For this trip we will stay in Madalena, the capital of Pico, which is a small city located on the western coast of the island. The center of Madalena is a cozy place with beautiful views of the sea, the neighboring island of Faial (20 minutes away by ferry) and Mount Pico.

The Requirements
The dive requirements for the shark dives and the dives at Princess Alice are a minimal certification of Advanced Open Water Diver (or equivalent) with a minimum of 50 logged dives. Dive tanks and weights are included with every dive. Dive equipment is available for rent at CWAzores if you do not have your own. All divers should have valid dive insurance.

Interested? Sign up for more information!
Please sign up below if you are interested in this trip and want to receive more information. We expect to share more details with you as soon as possible, but will only distribute this to members who signed up. Make sure not to miss out on this great opportunity to observe and learn about these majestic animals!
Please share this page with anyone who might be interested in this opportunity.

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