Conservation Research & Education
Data Collection for Research
Since 2003 Terra Azul Azores Whale Watching is involved in MONICET, the main research project contributing to knowledge and conservation of the cetaceans in the Azores islands, and Portugal. Our research center is supported by the Regional Science and Technology bureaus (ref. M5.2.2/I/005/2008), the Regional Fund for Science and Technology (ref. M3.1.5/F/004/2009).
With this project: We aim towards optimal standards in data collection at Sea and at Whale lookouts inland, and a public database of all sightings – public on monicet.net (beta).
In 2007 we developed an Environmental Education Program that involved educating over 1.400 local school children about the history of Whaling and Whale Watching in the Azores Islands, about Cetacean Biology and Conservation, and included a trip to see Whales and Dolphins in their natural habitat.
With this project: Almost all of these kids it had the first opportunity to see Whales and Dolphins, and to learn about Cetaceans and the importance of Conservation.
Oceanic Wildlife Volunteer Program
In 2010 we have launched a Volunteer Program for the areas of Marine Biology, Ecology and Ecotourism. The Azores islands provide, in Europe, an excellent location and conditions to learn about Whales, Dolphins, and all the great variety of Marine life. We have since been involved in a cooperation protocol with the Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences (Holland), whom integrates students with us in academic internships with us.
With this project: We contribute to mutual influence & knowledge exchange, and provide international students a hands-on professional experience.
We collaborate with the Archie Carr Center for Turtle Research – University of Florida (USA) and the Azores Department of Oceanography and Fisheries – University of the Azores, in the research and data collection by tagging Sea Turtles found in the mid-Atlantic ridge waters.
With this project: We contribute to further Marine Conservation, providing the scientific community with geographical data to help understand all aspects of the biology of Sea Turtles.
On our operation we
Follow the local government Environmental regulations.
We use small expeditionary boats with most consumption and noise efficient engines available – improving proximity to the Whales with minimal environmental impact.
Avoid using supports that not eco-friendly, recyclable, or biodegradable in our activity.
All Boats use VHF radios in low wattage channels to reduce any RF radiation from electromagnetic waves.
Contribute to marine wildlife knowledge providing important localized information and assistance to the scientific community.
Have available in our base a small library with Cetacean related information and statistics we’ve gathered since 1993.
Educate Humans with information about Wildlife, and animal Conservation.
Provide information about the history of Whaling in the Azores to locals, and visitors when joining a Terra Azul Azores Tour.
What you can do
Culture & Local Heritage
Whaler Lookout “Vigia da Furada”
In 2003 we have established protocol with the Ponta Garça village council to rebuild the Whale Lookout “Vigia da Furada”, which is visited regularly by tourists and schools for a guided tour with information on the historic progress from Whaling to Whale Watching in the Azores islands, and the evolution from ancient techniques used by the Azorean Whalers since 1830, to nowadays by Whale Watching.
With this project: We add value to our service offering and a new cultural landmark for Ponta Garça, we’ve managed to sweep clean an area proximate to a school from abandoned waste, and to create a new job placement for the local community.
Whaler “Senhora de Fátima”
In 2010, with the precious help of retired Azorean Whalers and Boat Builders we have recovered the Whaler Boat “Senhora de Fátima”. The original boat built in 1945 inspired by the american Whaler of Moby Dick, and is now one of the few fully operational Whaler in the Azores Islands, and representation of a true symbol of the Azorean Culture and identity. The Azoreans have been Whalers since 1830 and, up until cessation of all Azorean Whaling activity in 1984.
With this project: We add an extension to our service and to the life of cultural heritage of the Azorean people, by providing authentic experiences with history and tradition to Tourists and new generations. Depending on availability, you can sail in an original Whaler as part of the training team, free of any charges.