August 2019 – Azores

Report by Steve Burgess           Photos

Had a fabulous time in the Azores.  I was not sure what to expect from the diving on Pico island, but booked 8 days diving with CWazores Whale Watching and Dive company.  We did 6 local dives which I have to say were top dives, varied from caves to volcanic lava tunnels and big walls. Saw loads of life on every dive.

We booked 3 shark dives and my hope to see a mako shark was ticked on trip number 1. The trouble with mako sharks is that they don’t hang about long.  They tend to come in fast looking around quickly then leave, but this one stayed for 10 mins and then a blue shark arrived together with a real bonus – a smooth hammerhead.

Princess Alice Banks was also on the trip – a big sea mount 48 nautical miles from Pico so 3 hour boat ride for 2 dives. You need good conditions and luckily we got that on the 2 days we booked, so not disappointed. Lots of mobular rays and a monster oceanic manta with a 5mtr wing span showed up along with some huge rough tail rays and very big shoals of amber jacks and barracuda. The amber jacks were in their thousands, amazing sight.
It’s some place is Alice Banks.  Not easy diving as big current and upwellings hit hard in this very exposed place.  A big well done to Jenny who handled the big swells together with a monster upwelling on dive 1 on Princess Alice.  Literally crawling along the bottom in extreme current to avoid being swept off the mount, glad we both had good gloves. Loads of dolphins on way back, saw common, spotted and bottlenose.

All in all Pico was great place for diving and would return again.

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