Monday, July 25, 2011

Common dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins kept us company on the way to the Ilhéu de Vila Franca this morning, seen below just off the coast of São Miguel.


A visit to this beautiful island is included in one of our full-day tour options, after whale & dolphin watching in the morning and a hearty lunch in Vila Franca do Campo, and is especially popular this time of year. It was an particularly good choice today as Ponta Delgada is a little cloudy, whereas the sun is shining over Vila Franca! Usually our guests divide their time in the afternoon between sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling in the submerged volcanic crater, a natural reserve. Because fishing is forbidden in the vicinity of the islet there is plenty to see while snorkeling  and despite sea conditions being a little rough today the crater lake is always calm and protected.

The islet is a perfect nesting spot for a variety of birdlife - rock pigeons, common terns, Cory's shearwaters and yellow-legged gulls are among the birds that call the volcanic crater home. Our guests are always eager to see the Cory's shearwaters in particular, a species that comes to the Azorean archipelago to breed during the summer and is renowned for it's peculiar mating call. Sometimes when we're really lucky we also see pairs of milhafres (Azorean buzzards) swooping above the islet, a bird symbolic of the Azores.

Chat to one of our staff or check out for more info about the combined whalewatching and Ilhéu de Vila Franca trip, or one of our other options if you want to make the most of a full-day combination of sea and land activities!

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