Azores Shark & Ray Safari 2023

We are happy to announce the third edition of the Azores Shark & Ray Safari is going to take place in the summer of 2023. Make sure to register soon to be part of it!

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. In 2019 I decided to travel to Pico Island in the Azores (Portugal) to dive with blue sharks, mako sharks and loads of rays, including the iconic mobulas (read about my first trip here). Together with Martijn Schouten from CWAzores I decided to organize a trip that will not only give you the opportunity to interact with these a variety of shark and ray species, but you will also learn more about them! In August 2020 and 2021, despite the global pandemic, we successfully organized the first and second edition of the Azores Shark & Ray Safari. And now we are happy to announce that we will organize another safari in 2023!

DATES: 17 July – 26 July 2023. If you are interested make sure to already sign-up (below) for more information!

Our first and second Azores Shark & Ray Safaris were a great success! Our guests got to dive with blue sharks, a smooth hammerhead shark, shortfin mako shark, mobula rays, common eagle rays, round stingrays and roughtail stingrays. In addition to that list, we also saw plenty of dolphins at sea, a young sperm whale and loads of other beautiful marine life and sea scapes. One of our clients, Robin de Bleyser put together a beautiful video of his dives on our first ever Azores Shark & Ray Safari, make sure to check it out!

The Plan
The trip will take place in Summer 2023 (17-26 July) and will include:

  • Transfer from airports of Pico or Faial.
  • 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!

Not included:

  • Travel costs to and from Pico or Horta (Faial).
  • Rental of any dive gear (of course tank and weights will be provided).

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 on pricing, the accommodation and the booking process. Make sure not to miss out on this great opportunity to observe and learn about these majestic animals!
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