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23 views • September 18, 2022

Sailing Atlantic

Consisting of 9 beautiful islands, the Azores Archipelago boasts a variety of geographical diversity and a number of vacation activities. Each island features unique attractions, cuisine, and cultural charm. Suspended in the volcanic Atlantic between Europe and North America, this Portuguese island group has developed its own special identity throughout its dynamic history, and today boasts natural beauty and friendly, welcoming residents. The relative isolation of the island group means the dive environment has remained pristine. Many of the Azores dive centers prioritize environmental conservation and educational eco-tourism, protecting the unspoiled beauty that attracts scuba divers from all over the world. A few of the varied sites include swim-throughs and caves created by ancient lava flow, giant crater lakes, and World War II shipwrecks. As it is surrounded by the wide-open Atlantic, the Azores serve as a veritable beacon for whales. Resident sperm whales are joined by migratory blue, fin, humpback, minke, and sei whales plus orcas and several species of dolphins. The peak of whale spotting season is early spring, a period that also features a rare sight: Portuguese man o' war amass here in the thousands, thriving in the rich waters before vanishing as the temperatures increase. An up-and-coming destination for shark diving, scuba centers are now facilitating blue and mako shark encounters in the deep blue water setting. Manta rays are also prevalent in these outstanding depths, along with occasional whale sharks, hammerheads, and a wide array of large fish. Mediterranean parrotfish, large grouper, triggerfish, rainbow wrasse, red scorpion fish, yellowmouth barracuda, ocean sunfish, devil rays, and sea turtles are just a few of the hundreds of coastal marine species thriving in this rich environment. These waters are also home to several species of nudibranchs and other macro subjects.
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