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BLUE SHARK DIVING
After having dived with Dive Azores off the coast of Faial and having a great time, we wanted to try the experience of blue sharks diving, which turned out to be one of the best dives of our trip in the Azores.
We were actually very lucky! Since 2 essential conditions must be met; minimum swell to be drifting with the boat while waiting for the sharks to come, and enough divers who want to go, in our case we were 4 divers and 4 snorkelers.
Best dive sites in Faial
Faial, a small central island of the Azores, is a fantastic island for diving, with multiple possibilities for both shore and offshore diving, and for all types of divers, from experienced to beginners:
- Coastal diving in the marine reserve of ‘Monte da Guía’.
- Offshore Shark Point: Blue Shark Diving (and also ¡mako if you are lucky!)
- Offshore Princess Alice Bank: Diving surrounded by numerous and beautiful mantas
We were very lucky and were able to do all 3 types of diving in Faial!!
Offshore shark point: Buceo con tiburones azules
Horta port, DiveAzores boat
We reserve the whole day for this special dive. Around 8 am we go to the Dive Azores dive center to get ready and leave our equipment in the zodiac.
Tiago, Dive Azores manager, has been looking at the weather forecast and today will be a good day for sailing, perfect! It takes about 30 minutes to get to the dive site, shark point.
Shark point is located in the underwater channel formed by the 3 islands of Faial, San Jorge and Pico. This point is strategic precisely because it is a place of transit during the seasonal migrations of this species.
There seems to be some waves and wind, but we are doing well. Once on site, Tiago and 2 other guides put a box full of fish in the water, which hangs about -5 m deep and is about 20 meters behind the zodiac secured to the boat with a rope.
They also throw a “soup” of crushed raw fish slowly overboard to attract the sharks. The sharks can’t feed on this fish soup, it is simply a matter of attracting them, and as they are very curious, they will go to see what is going on and if there is any possible food.
The boat drifts in the wind and so we wait, while they throw the fish soup overboard to leave the smell behind us.
The wait is getting longer and with the movement of the waves, people are getting dizzy and need to lie down to prevent things from getting worse. How long the wait is!
When we have been waiting for about 1 hour, we see a shark!
We wait a while for the shark to gain confidence and finally Tiago changes and jumps into the water.
Then we place in the water some ropes with weights on the ends so that the divers can hold on to them at a depth of about -5 meters. It would not be safe without these ropes as the boat drifts in the wind and then we would each be left behind.
At the shark point there are more than 1,000 meters deep and that’s why you can’t drop anchor.
Blue shark diving
As we are 4 divers there is a line for each of us and snorkelers can get directly from the boat without any problem.
What a thrill! We all get into the water and go down the line, each one with his own, little by little to about -5 meters.
Edu and blue shark
We stay in a vertical position, hanging, watching the blue shark pass by.
At first there is only one, then 2 and up to 4 beautiful blue sharks appear!
The sharks go from the fish box behind the zodiac to the divers, swimming very gently. They go slowly while watch the divers, curious, with that big eye they have, swimming really close, very slowly, it’s so cool!
How close some blue sharks pass by!
And approximately 40 minutes later, a mako appears.
At first it looked a little different, and indeed, it has a more compact but very agile body, moving very very fast, it circled the box a couple of times, came a little closer to us, and in a second, disappeared into the blue, and we didn’t see it again.
We are approximately 80 minutes in the water with them, having a lot of fun, always with sharks playing around.
These animals have really stolen our hearts, they are so beautiful.
Blue sharks are fascinating creatures, with a wingspan of 1.5m to 2m, they are curious and come very close, circling around divers, but without aggression or a sense of threat.
They have long pectoral fins, pointed nose, are slender and elongated with a cobalt gray body that shines with the light.
After the dive, we get out of the water (there are still sharks below!) and return to Horta.
On the way back, which takes about 30 minutes, we are offered drinks (water, tea or juice) and sandwiches, which are great!
Once in Horta, we clean all the equipment, put it in the suitcases and ask for a cab to take the ferry to the island of Pico, our next stop!
Views to Horta, Faial
We had a great time and we are very happy to have been able to enjoy this great experience, diving with sharks in the Azores, really out of the ordinary.
As always, very well organized by DiveAzores, a diving center run by wonderful people, with great heart and concerned about marine animals, the environment and the environment, so it’s nice.
To say that for this type of diving is enough with the qualification of “open water‘, since we are caught of a line without going down to more than 10 meters. Although it is recommended to know how to handle yourself underwater and not to panic at the sight of these animals to keep everyone safe.
Sharks are vulnerable to overfishing, as they have a low reproductive rate, low fecundity and high gestation periods.
In recent decades shark numbers have declined drastically, mainly due to professional fishing pressure (partly due to increased demand for shark fin), sport fishing and by-catch.
Not only are they fascinating and aesthetically beautiful animals, but from an ecological point of view, the decline of their populations is a serious problem, since sharks contribute to regulate the ecosystems in which they are distributed.
For all these reasons, their conservation is crucial.
Other dives in Faial
Las aguas de Faial, en las preciosas islas Azores, se caracterizan por una exuberante flora y fauna marina. Las zonas de buceo más habituales se encuentran alrededor de la reserva marina de la península “Monte da Guia”, situada al sur de Horta.
The waters of Faial, in the beautiful Azores islands, are characterized by an exuberant marine flora and fauna. The most common diving areas are around the marine reserve of the peninsula “Monte da Guia“, located south of Horta.
Princess Alice Bank is an incredible dive site. It is a submerged mountain of more than 1,000 meters high. It is a place known worldwide by divers, here the most famous is to dive with mantas, being able to see big schools of mantas rays, in a natural way!
Diving information in Faial
- Water temperature: 19-21 degrees. We recommend semi-dry suit.
- The best months for diving are from June to September, summer months with the best visibility, weather and temperature, being the best months to see blue sharks from July to September.
- Reserve at least one week if you also want to do the special offshore dives.
DiveAzores Dive Center Information
With Tiago, at Dive Azores diving center
- Managed by two marine biologists: Tiago and Joana, they promote ecotourism, sustainability and good practices.
- They have a place to clean the equipment but no changing rooms or bathrooms.
- Convenient access, right in front of the port without having to carry equipment or tanks far away.
- For diving off the coast of Faial they schedule 2 dives per day, usually in the morning at 9 am and 12 pm, but also in the afternoon.
- They schedule special offshore dives according to the weather forecast.
- They also do whale watching tours
Dive Azores diving center website
Complete your trip in Faial!
Hiking in Faial
No hay nada mejor que descubrir la naturaleza de un lugar, por arriba y por debajo del agua, ¿nos acompañas a recorrer la isla a pie y descubrir sus montañas y grandes paisajes?
Aquí te dejamos nuestra gran travesía de senderismo en Faial:
There is nothing better than discovering the nature of a place, above and below the water, will you join us to walk around the island and discover its mountains and great landscapes?
Here we leave you our great hiking tour in Faial:
Hiking in the Azores is one of the best ways to know the islands and of course the island of Faial is one of these islands that deserve to be traveled on foot in its entirety.
In a route of approximately 70km long, divided in three days we will visit the most emblematic natural monuments of the island such as the central Caldeira and the natural site of Capelinhos, we will walk the GR from coast to coast in its entirety and we will enjoy between green forests and fields between hydrangeas.