No other UW photographer knows the Azores like Daniel Brinckmann. He has been visiting the Macronesian Islands for decades and has followed the development of the diving industry. He accompanies this tour photographically and is available for questions and tips at the UW camera. In Santa Maria we meet the researchers of the Megalodon project led by Jorge Fontes. Then the participants have the opportunity to be very close when the team works with the whale sharks.
As always on our cruises, we sleep ashore as often as possible. The newest boat in the Pico Sport – ProWin Pronature fleet is the Seagull. This has 2 master cabins with double bed and bathroom and two simple bunk cabins that share the bathroom. Only when we spend the night on the open sea, like on Princess Alice or the Formigas, do we eat on board in the evening. The rest of the time, it’s time to go outdoors to explore the island’s restaurants and bars. Of course we are exposed to the winds of the Central Atlantic in the Azores so that the weather can put a spanner in the works. In that case we will see what we can do on land or in sheltered bays. Program changes are therefore due to the weather but are progressive whenever possible.
Santa Maria is known as one of the best diving areas in the Atlantic. Pico and Faial are also the best dive sites in the Azores. We dive with blue sharks around Pico and Faial. The overnight tour Princess Alice offers dives with the Mobula rays. At Punta Rosais off Sao Jorge, experienced divers can expect pelagic fish in the current. The Banco Joao Castro is the next island to grow on the tips of the mid-Atlantic. Here we dive and see geothermal reactions.
In the port of Terceira we dive at the anchor cemetery and on the west side of the island in a coral garden. In front of Sao Miguel lies the Dory wreck that we dive. South of Sao Miguel on the way to Santa Maria we dive at the Banco Mar del Plata before we continue to the famous places of deep sea diving places Formigas, Dollabarat and Ambrosia. A special highlight is diving in schools of the rare Bluefin Tuna or Yellow Fin Tuna. These often hunt together with the whale sharks in feeding balls. For the experienced divers there are high sea highlights because there are regular encounters with large sea turtles, dolphins and other marine mammals. We are not allowed into the water with whales, but it is possible with dolphins.
Jorge Fontes and his team are out in September to explore the whale shark migration routes. Every year these animals give us puzzles because they can be found again and again in the same shallows. First research results have shown that it is probably animals that migrate on the thermal line of the Atlantic and come from the Gulf of Mexico and Honduras. That’s super exciting because why do these giants wander all the way through the Atlantic. Apparently what warm water is the indicator that triggers the migration. The animals seem to know that from August onwards, huge schools of fish consisting of snipe fish, horse mackerel or sardines can be found in the deep sea mountains around Santa Maria.
But it is believed that whale sharks from the South Atlantic also come here to meet relatives from the Caribbean. We know that there is also a good population around St. Helena. From the Indian Ocean one knows that populations from all over the Indie also meet there at certain times of the year. Now our research should prove that it also happens in the Atlantic. Genetic testing and satellite tagging are effective means of doing this. Mobulas always give us great puzzles because it was found out that these animals migrate in water tires of over 1000 in the deep scattering. Now we want to know how far these animals wander in the Atlantic.
Only with this well-founded research is it then possible to determine protection zones for hiking trails in which there is no fishing. Transatlantic shipping should also be managed accordingly. After all, a lot of animal species migrate on these routes. Humpback whales migrate from the Silverbanks to Norway and the Barents Sea. The Norwegian researcher and nature photographer Auduum Richardson was able to prove this with the help of a satellite tag. Our river alps migrate to the Barents Sea to reproduce. The Tuna migration routes in the Atlantic are also huge. Turtles lay their eggs on babes and then rub in the Gulf Stream that leads past the Azores. Therefore it is time to document this and to regulate the protected areas and fishing quotas in the Atlantic.
You can be there live at work and by participating in one of our special trips you can make a contribution so that you can buy satellite days. As part of the Megalodon project in cooperation with proWin pro nature, 30 probes can be provided. But that’s not enough. The more probes that can be attached, the faster results can be evaluated and presented to EU and US politicians. let’s tackle it.
Price: master cabin 4,490.- pp
Twin cabin 3,990.- pp