Vigia/Lookout – Our eyes at sea!

Hi whale whatchers, I’m Nicole the Vigia (Lookout). The sea as always been an element of nature a little unknown to me, and after starting my collaboration with Terra Azul I was able to discover a world of majestic animals that brighten my day. Everything I know I learned from the best Vigia (Lookout) – my colleague Filipe Ferreira.

I want to share with you some information about my work, which I started about a year ago:

Whaling was one of the economic activities with the greatest impact on Azorean society. The brave men of the sea, at the sign of the Vigia (Lookout), dropped everything and set off towards the port. From there they quickly boarded the whaling boat, with the equipment and food necessary for another whaling hunt.

At this stage, the whale hunters followed the directions of the Vigia (Lookout) – a man positioned in a strategic location on the coast, with powerful binoculars in an area of great visibility. This element was one of the most important of whaling activity because without him it would be virtually impossible to know where leviathans arose from their deep dives.

At the first sign of a resurgence of a sperm whale from the depths, the Vigia (Lookout) alerted the men by launching rockets. And when the whaling boat was at sea, they used sheets and smoke signals to guide them towards the sperm whale. With the technological development, the Vigias (Lookouts) began to use the radios to communicate with the whaling boats and tugboats.


Vigia na caça da baleia.
Copyright: Mar à Vista – Património Baleeiro, RTP,2011.

The end of the whaling era gave way to whale and dolphin watching on virtually every island of the Archipelago. The importance of the Vigia (Lookout) remained the same in this new paradigm. They continue to watch in a high, strategic place since sunrise and communicate with the vessels on VHF radio.

Vigias are essential elements for the sightings of the various species of cetaceans, using their calm and patience out of the ordinary to guide the zodiacs at sea, with eager whale watchers from all around the world, towards the majestic marine mammals.

Nicole – female Vigia.

I hope you´ve enjoyed reading this post and I’m waiting for your visit here in Terra Azul.

Cheers, Nicole

Nicole Pereira

About Nicole Pereira

Nicole Pereira, the Junior Lookout at TERRA AZUL, studied Renewable Energies, in Terceira island, and is originally from Ponta Garça.

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