The Great Whale Project

Help to assist a team of marine biologists in important whale and dolphin conservation projects!

From £605.00

  • Up to 8 Persons
  • Some Meals Included
  • 6 - 83 Nights
  • Whales,Marine Wildlife
  • 1st and 15th of every month (April - October)
  • Minimum Age 18

Project Details

Activities

The Great Whale Project is primarily focused on assisting a team of biologists collecting photo-identification and ecological data on blue and sperm whales (depending on the time of year) for wider research of whales in the Azores region. You will enjoy regular trips to sea and will be integrated in ALL aspects of the operation daily workload.

By enrolling in this project you will be educated in an informal environment, learning about whale and cetacean biology, whale and dolphin conservation and research techniques. Activities may change from day to day, but you can expect to take part in the following:

Monitoring
Monitoring
You will spend time on the boat photo ID-ing whales, getting the experience of field work and collecting research data. The whale belongs to the group of cetacean mammals that inhabit the planet, also including dolphins and porpoises. You will be conducting cetacean surveys from land look-outs and will be helping in fascinating and profound whale research. During this paramount activity, you may encounter humpback whales, blue whales, (which is in fact, the biggest animal on earth!) sperm whales and more!
Marine Knowledge
Marine Knowledge
This part of the project provides you with knowledge and experience on cetacean biology, whale conservation and identifying these gracious mammals at sea. The indescribable moment when a huge humpback whale breaches out of the sea whilst you sit in a boat just a short distance away, will stay with you forever. The wildlife diversity in this region is simply incredible, so do not be surprised if you catch a sight of bottlenose and Risso Dolphins too!
Boat Skills
Boat Skills
This project is a great opportunity to be enriched with new skills you may never have gained otherwise. Whilst learning about the marine wildlife in this spectacular location, you can learn basic boat skills and assist with boat duties, such as boat checks and post-trip cleaning. By gaining new skills, not only are you helping the whales in their conservation, but you are potentially opening up new opportunities for yourself in the future as a result of everything you have learned.
Work with tourists
Work with tourists
This involves developing the whale watching naturalist skills of other tourists and members of the public. This will expand their education regarding the different whale species that can be found in the area, and increases the chance of people wanting to help them, and knowing how to do so. You can further increase your whale knowledge, and show off your newly obtained whale expertise!
Data Analysis
Data Analysis
This activity focuses on office-based work, where you will be cataloguing and analysing collected data, obtained from excursions. Data could include photographs, sound recordings and surveys. You will also assist with the day-to-day operation of our station, including cleaning, taking bookings and assisting guests where needed.
Photo opportunities
Photo opportunities
The diverse range of wildlife encounters you could experience on this project are once in a lifetime opportunities. It is not every day that you are in the Azores Islands, watching up to 30% of all of the cetacean species known around the globe. Practise your photography skills, and grasp the opportunity for phenomenal pictures that you can keep forever, and share around social media.

Itinerary

Please note that itineraries are subject to change and what follows is simply a guideline.

Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
On arrival from your original destination to Faial you will transfer to your accommodation and will get settled in, before meeting project facilitators Joana and Tiago for a welcome dinner
Day 2 - 13 - Project Days:
During your time here, you will be involved in a range of activities every day, including whale and dolphin photo ID-ing, collecting invaluable research data on sperm whales throughout and fin, blue and sei whales (during the Spring), conducting cetacean surveys from land look-outs, and assisting with boat duties. You will also have free time based on your weekly workload.
Day 14 - Final Day:
Unfortunately today is your last day, and you will head back to the mainland for your connecting flight or commence onwards travel plans.

Dates, Availability & Price

Although it is possible to join for 6 nights, as the activities taking place are dependent on weather and sea conditions, we recommend taking part for 13 nights or more if possible.

To secure a place on this project a deposit of £195 is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.

Select a duration below to see the available start dates. All dates shown are currently available for you to join this project!

Duration Price
Please choose a trip using the select menus to the left.
Price:

*Rates other than GBP are estimates based on today's exchange rates. All payments are made in GBP.

Updates & Outcomes

This is a fantastic whale conservation project offering the opportunity for volunteers to experience spectacular volcanic landscapes, friendly people, great diving, and of course plenty of whales and dolphins!

During your time as a volunteer here, you will be based at 'Dive Azores' -a PADI Dive Resort and Whale & Dolphin Watching Eco-operator. Owned and run by Joana and Tiago, both marine biologists, conservationists and diving instructors, you will know that you are in the best possible hands to carry out this integral research. They say:

"Environmental responsibility is a top priority to us. We firmly believe that we must educate, involve, and inspire people about the world's marine ecosystems and their amazing inhabitants, and in this way helping to create a worldwide awareness of whale and dolphin conservation issues."

By joining this volunteer placement, you are supporting vital cetacean research, data collection and whale conservation efforts within the Azores, which in the long run will help in cetacean research and conservation strategies worldwide.

When Should I Go To The Azores To See The Whales?

When Should I Go To The Azores To See The Whales?

As you may well know already, whales are migratory creatures which means they don't stay in one place all of the time! Use our handy guide to find out here when the best time to see them is on The Great Whale Project! We can't guarentee a sighting, but we can certainly help a littlle!

Read More

Is this trip for you?

Accommodation

Accommodation

Accommodation during your time here will be within a twin shared room in an apartment or a house – only a walking distance from the Dive Azores building from where all volunteer activities will occur. All accommodation options have a kitchen attached where you can cook and prepare all food for the day, as well as all the usual mod cons (LCD Tv's, free WiFi, a washing machine, fresh linen etc.)

Couples, friends or families volunteering together who would like private accommodation should let us know in advance so we can arrange it

Meals and Beverages

Meals and Beverages

All meals (except for the welcome and farewell dinners) and beverages are NOT provided during your time on this project. This is something that will need to be arranged by yourself during your stay here.

Fitness & Skills

Fitness & Skills

This project does not involve much in the way of physical labour, but all volunteers should have a basic level of fitness when taking part. No specific skills or experience are required, just commitment to the project and its aims. You must be prepared to work alongside other members of the team, and to bring an upbeat, positive attitude to the endeavour as a whole.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations

The vaccinations required will depend on your medical history of each volunteer. We recommend that you consult with your GP regarding your own immunisation needs. In conjunction with this, we would also recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website.

Project Details

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VOLUNTEER?

The best time to volunteer on this project is between March and August. During these months you will be able to see sperm whales and dolphins, however, the 2 seasons that this period of time includes also offer additional marine wildlife sighting possibilities.

Spring (March until the end of May) – This season also offers the opportunity for seeing many more species of whale including the blue, fin, sei and humpback whales. The daytime temperature in these months averages between 13 and 17°C (55-63°F).

Summer (June until September) – During this season sperm whales are in abundance as it is their peak season and there are also a lot more varieties of dolphins including the Atlantic spotted dolphin. The daytime temperature in these months averages between 21 and 25°C (70-77°F).

Getting There

Getting to the Azores will generally require a stopover via Lisbon, from where you can catch an onwards flight direct to Horta on Faial island where you need to arrive between 9 am - 5 pm on your project start date. TAP Air Portugal is usually the best airline for this. Alternatively, you can fly direct to Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores, and transfer to Faial using an internal flight. Please note that to get to Horta on Faial island where the project is based, you will need to take an internal flight.

If you would like help booking your flights, please visit our flights page and fill out the form. A member of our team will get back in touch as soon as possible with a suitable quote.

Visa Requirements

Visa requirements in the Azores are the same as for mainland Portugal. Citizens from the UK, the EU, the USA, Canada and Australia are not required to get a visa in advance for stays of up to 90 days. Nationals not referred to here are advised to contact their Portuguese embassy/consulate to check for their visa requirements. Please note that ALL citizens travelling to the Azores are required to have a passport with six months validity.

Currency and Exchange Rates

As the Azores are a part of Portugal, an EU country, the money used here is the Euro

What's included in the price of the project?
  • Airport transfers
  • A donation to the project
  • Accommodation (on a twin shared room in an apartment or house with a kitchen and only a short walking distance from our station)
  • Tutoring and all project activities
  • Welcome and farewell dinners
What's not included?
  • Flights (internal and external)
  • Food and living expenses (apart from the welcome and farewell dinner)
  • Travel insurance (though this can be provided by us here at The Great Projects at an extra cost)

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Give Us A Call

Nikita

+44 208 885 4987

If you have any questions about this project or would like help finding the perfect project for you then please feel free to give us a call or send us through your enquiry and we will be happy to help.

Nikita & team.

Project Reviews

Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 9BX
United Kingdom
Opening hours: 9am–5pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987