Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Azores: A BIG Deal

An archipelago of huge volcanic peaks breaking the surface in the mid-Atlantic, the Azores is a spectacular region to visit whether it’s for diving, hiking or whale watching. The Gulf Stream ensures a mild and humid climate year-round. The lush green islands are untouched by mass tourism and the surrounding waters hold a rich marine biodiversity, most notably a wide variety of whale and dolphin species. Visibility is 30 metres on average and the most comfortable diving season is May-Oct. Travel time to these magical islands is under four hours from the UK and it’s the perfect place to go island-hopping and whale watching or even to try something new and adventurous.

Photo Credit: Visit Azores.com
Underwater highlights include exploring volcanic topography, diving in the blue for the chance of a shark or mobula ray encounter. The variety of shallow rocky reefs, arches, underwater caves, wrecks and deeper oceanic dive offer an abundance of rich marine life in these subtropical waters fed by the Gulf Stream. Expect to see anything from nudibranch to whales – with plenty of schools of pelagic fish, dolphin, turtles and lobster. This is a fantastic destination for photographers looking to capture some unique and memorable shots.

New for 2013 – Santa Maria Island
The most south-eastern of the archipelago, the ‘Yellow Island’ is warmer, flatter and drier than the others, especially in the west. In contrast, the east features more luxuriant vegetation comprising the Pico Alto. Experienced divers will enjoy the diversity of pelagic species at Formigas and Dollabrat Bank.
The local dive sites around the island are varied and suitable for all. Underwater highlights include exploration of caves, tunnels and sea mounts, however it’s the nature reserve Formigas and the Dollabarat Bank that divers hope to get to experience. Here, the marine life is abundant and you can expect the highest number of pelagic sightings including several species of shark, barracuda, tuna manta and devil rays.

Mobula Ray Aggregation, Santa Maria, Azores_Credit_Pedro de Carvalho
Photo Credit: Pedro de Carvalho
To the northwest, the site of Baixa do Ambrósio is famous for its mobula ray aggregations during the summer months – suitable for divers and snorkellers, a magnificent sight with visibility around 40 metres.
Prices from £1,225 per person
Includes flights from the UK, 6-nights (BB) on Santa Maria, 10 local dives and 2 at Formigas (subject to minimum numbers and weather conditions) and your final night in Ponta Delgada. Based on two people travelling together.
Create your own adventure
CALL the experts on 0845 130 6980 
Visit Azores
We feature the islands of Sao Miguel, Faial, Pico and Santa Maria, perfect for island hopping!
Anything is possible on a diving aventure to the Azores. We can help create your personal itinerary to include diving and other activities on one or a number of the islands, all of which have their own character and highlights.
To learn more about the destination, Visit Azores.

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