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FUTURISMO AZORES WHALE WATCHING

Futurismo is a whale watching company in the Azores with bases on both São Miguel and Pico islands. Futurismo was one of the pioneers in the whale watching here and started this activity in 1990, just a few years after the whaling ended (1986). 

We can see at least 25 cetacean species (whales and dolphins) in our waters making the Azores a hotspot for whale watching. Four of these are resident here (sperm whale, and common, bottlenose and Risso's dolphin), meaning that we can see them year-round

During spring months (generally about mid March to early June) the big baleen whales (namely the blue whale, fin whale, sei whale, humpback whale and minke whale) pass the Azores on their way north to their summer feeding grounds. During the summer, when the water gets warmer other species can also be sighted in the Azores. At this time Atlantic spotted dolphins, striped dolphins, pilot whales, Bryde's whales, false orcas and many species of beaked whales can be seen.

In the Azores it is also possible to swim with several dolphin species. It is very beautiful to observe the dolphins underwater and listen to their echolocation as they pass by you.

Futurismo offers more than just whale watching and swimming with dolphins. With us you can explore the entire island of São Miguel on our guided tours. We offer jeep safaris, walking tours, sunset trips, bird watching, geotourism and more!

Write to us and one of our marine biologists will answer!




HISTORY 

Due to its geographic position, situated in between America and Europe in the middle of the Atlantic, the Azorean archipelago has always been of importance for commercial transport by sea as well as international air traffic.

In the XVIII century American whalers started to appear in these waters as they were looking for whales and places to stock up on supplies. Many Azorean people took the opportunity and joined as crew on these boats. Some of them learned to master the skills well and became excellent whalers (read Herman Melville’s book Moby Dick). 

Later these men adapted and evolved the technique to better suit the Azorean conditions. They used land based lookouts (“vigias”) to find the whales with powerful binoculars and then guided the whaling boats to the right locations. The living conditions in the Azores were hard and the whaling industry became a fundamental economic asset during one and a half centuries.

Last century, at the end of the sixties and seventies, concern for the welfare of cetacean populations increased. The Azoreans adapted quickly by shutting down their whaling industry and switching to protecting and preserving of our natural resources instead.

In the beginning of the nineties whale watching companies started to appear, among them Futurismo Azores Whale Watching, a pioneer in this area.

Since then the company has evolved to combine tourism and scientific research. Futurismo is at the present one of the biggest companies of Active Tourism in the Azores and we can therefore offer our clients diverse activities conducted at sea and on land.






AÇORES AND SÃO MIGUEL 

The Azorean archipelago is Europe's most western point and includes 9 island located in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. The volcanic origins of the islands created mountains and valleys covered by a luxurious and varied vegetation, lakes in ancient volcano craters, hot water springs, thermal hot water fountains, waterfalls and towering peaks contrasting with recently cultivated fields. 

The islands are divided into three main groups, the Oriental, Central and Occidental groups. The Oriental group in the south-east includes the main island São Miguel (with the capital city Ponta Delgada where Futurismo's main base is situated) and Santa Maria. The Formigas Reef (a great diving site) also lies within this area, between São Miguel and Santa Maria Islands. The Central group comprises 5 islands; Pico (where Pico mountain is located - Portugal's highest point, reaching up to 2,351 m), Faial, Terceira, Graciosa and São Jorge. The Occidental group in the west is made up of Flores and Corvo (Azores smallest island with only 468 inhabitants in 2006). 



The stories of how and when Azores were discovered are many, but officially the first island was discovered in 1431 by Conçalo Velho Cabral, in the service of Infante D. Henrique. However, credit for the finding was also given to Diogo de Silves in 1427. The first settlement on São Miguel was in 1444 and following this Vila Franca do Campo became the first capital. But only until 1522 when a large landslide caused by an earthquake devastated the Vila Franca and killed about 5,000 people. Vila Franca never regained its status so Ponta Delgada became the next capital and it has reaimed so since 1546. The Azores acquired administrative autonomy in 1895 and political autonomy in 1976 (Região Autónoma dos Açores). 

The Azorean flag is white and blue in colour, the nine stars represent the nine islands, the golden bird represents the goshawk, and the shield comes from Portugal's flag.

The legends about how the Azores got its name are also many. It is commonly said that the archipelago got its name from the Portuguese word for blue (azul) or from the goshawk (açor) because it was a common bird at the time of the discovery (although it is unlikely that goshawks nested there). Instead there is a local subspecies of the buzzard (milhafre or Azorean buzzard) that was wrongly identified as a goshawk by the explorers. 

The Azores has many endemic species including two bird species (the Azorean bullfinch or priolo (which is only found in the eastern part of São Miguel Island) , and the Monteiro's storm-petrel), a bat species called Azores noctule and several plant species.

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