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Faial

Everybody knows Horta harbour for being the most famous port of call in Portugal, and everybody knows that’s where you find Peter’s Sport Café… Here you won’t feel to be as far away from civilization as in other Azores Islands. The most cosmopolitan Azorean city has lots of action both in the island as in the sea. The biggest Portuguese marine Biology University is right here in Horta so, expect to find a lot of young people. You will as well see sailors from all over the world, that stop here to rest or repair the boats, while crossing the Atlantic Ocean. In the harbour there are a few diving centres where you will find divers getting ready for their personal adventures under these breathtaking seas. Faial is famous for the underwater volcanic craters and the whale watching where, more than in any other island, non-divers can meet with over 24 species of cetaceous, blue whales, dolphins and anything big you can imagine. If you are lucky enough to have a husband/ wife that doesn’t really understand what you feel when you see things underwater, this is just the place they will, and maybe, just maybe they will become divers soon. Most dive masters are marine biology students at the University and most of the dive operators are very professional and experienced, and this two combined make probably the best diving service you will ever find on a dive trip. They take you to wonderful dive sites to see yellow flower like anemones, with colourful blennies, thalassomas, puffer fishes, blue sharks, turtles, sun fishes, jacks, mackerels and the incredible manta-rays. The underwater landscapes are volcanic all right, there is one particular dive spot near Horta where you can be just in the outside of a crater surrounded by hundreds of fish. Between Faial and Pico there are a few seamounts and as well small islands providing very distinct dives. The best season is May to September. Come with time and some extra money to dive at Princesa Alice Bank and don’t drink the night before, you will have to wake up very early because the boat will leave the harbour at 5 or 6 am. 45 miles of sea into southwest separate you from all the manta-rays and all the pelagic. You can see as well the sneaky Portuguese man at war jellyfish that cross these waters. Don’t be surprised if your best moments are while you’re snorkelling, without bubles manta-rays will come closer. Special safety conditions are required as the currents are very strong. Remember, you are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with more the 1000 meters of water bellow. Speaking about the abyss, here you will watch the light rays plunging to the deep like no place else. This location is perfectly aligned with the pelagic and cetaceous migration route. On the island you can see numerous species of crustaceous, parrot fishes and damsel fishes. If there is one island that could represent the entire Azores Archipelago, Faial would be that one.

 

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