Diving with Whale Sharks (Santa Maria Island)
Diving with the world’s largest fish in clear waters is undoubtedly one of the best diving experiences of the Azores. Surrounded by several large tunas and countless other species of fish, these giants of the sea pass close to the archipelago as they make their way across the Atlantic. Although it is possible to spot whale sharks on several islands of the Azores, Santa Maria is the island most visited by this colossus of the sea. It is possible to spot them during a coastal dive, but you are more likely to swim with one further off the coast. As it slowly swims beneath divers, the sheer size – sometimes over 10 metres long - becomes apparent. There is also the added bonus of the entourage - it is common for this shark to be followed by an escort of thousands of tunas, as well as pilot fishes and numerous other small pelagic fish. It is an unbelievable dive experience.
As is standard in the Azores, there is always something to see and as the search for whale sharks takes place relatively far from the coast, it is not unusual to see turtles and several species of migratory dolphins on the boat trip there and back.