CANADA
FRANCE
Tuesday, 25 June 2024 02:23 AM EDT
REGION
Lajes do Pico
Azores
OBSERVATION
Whales, Dolphins
PERIOD
July-August 1999
AUTHOR
Julien MARCHAL
34 pages

Hello to all,

Our report entitled: Study and observation of cetaceans in the waters off Lajes do Pico, Azores, Portugal (1999)

It is the result of a long teamwork and patience on the field. We were 10 people to participate from afar or closely to obtain this result. Of course, I am at the base of this first volumeBut without everyone's help, I would never have been able to write it.

Introduction

Ihere is an archipelago of volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic, far from Europe, known for its anticyclone and boat stopover. Alas, few people know about it!

Also, the islands are always relatively untouristy, and sometimes you won't meet anyone for miles on end. That's its charm. All this is accompanied by an extraordinary people ready to help you. You'll never see an Azorean staring at you.  

The country was a whaler until 1987, and forged a legendary culture around the sperm whale. A mystical animal, its frequency in these waters has been exceptional for generations. But why? It's a mystery.

Meanwhile, whale-watching appeared on the Californian coast, offering tourists a new form of development. In the Azores, as soon as the whale hunt was over, a reconversion based on the American model was born.

Since then, the economic impact of this form of eco-tourism has been counted in the millions of dollars worldwide. Boats and whale-hunters are transformed to take on camera-armed guests. Draconian rules of conduct at sea are written, and scientific studies are carried out for the safety and study of marine mammals.

Among other things, this report is a window onto observation and study, under the watchful eye of "Nossa Senhora de la Lourdes" (Our Lady of the Heavy), protector of the whalers.

Acknowledgements

My heartfelt thanks go to the people of the Azores and Lajes do Pico. Their hospitality is unforgettable!

Not forgetting :

  • Flavia Pereira and her family, who were patient and kind enough to pass on to me their tradition, culture and love of the country.
  • Lajes do Pico Town Hall.   
  • The museum director and staff for their documentation and explanations.
  • Rithinia, a former whaler, telling me about his exploits with a gin and tonic and a typical dish lovingly prepared by his wife.
  • Mr Amiel, my school principal, and the Espaço Talassa team headed by Serge Vialleille.

Four-page article in Planète Mer

S.O.S Grand Bleu n°23
(July-August 1999, France): "Journey to the Azores".

by Julien Marchal

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