sexta-feira, 19 de novembro de 2010

quarta-feira, 17 de novembro de 2010

Join the Team

Espaço Talassa pretende admitir para a época de 2011

uma pessoa (m/f)

com formação em biologia marinha ou na área do ambiente


- acompanhamento de clientes durante as saídas para o mar, antes (“briefing”) e após (“de-briefing”)

- actualização diária das estatísticas de observação:

- gestão das fotografias de Identificação de cetáceos:

- representar a empresa em eventos internacionais como ECS…

- manter “data” de cetáceos e dar informações à equipa...


- grande capacidade de relação com o público

- carta de patrão de costa ou de marinheiro

- boa capacidade de comunicação em português e conhecimento de uma outra (fluente em inglês de preferência)

- conhecimento em informática - microsoft office (power point)

- de preferência com curso de primeiros socorros


- contrato de duração de 7 (ou +) meses Abril/Outubro 2011

- renumeração conforme capacidade (admite-se estagiar L)

- possibilidade de integração nos quadros da empresa

Pede-se resposta com CV detalhado através do e-mail:

quinta-feira, 14 de outubro de 2010

Espaço Talassa photo IDea

Since the 2008 season following a request from Dr. Jonathan Gordon we started the ETID, the Espaço Talassa sperm whale photo-id data collection, not with the purpose of creating a new catalogue, but a photo-id online databank opened to all: curious, whale watchers, students, researchers… where it will be possible to download photos, as well as to include them in already existing catalogues, the reference in this field being the catalogue created by IFAW, Dr. Jonathan Gordon and Dra. Lisa Steiner, in the Azores in 1987.

If you are a regular client or a regular visitor of our website, we are glad to let you know that with the help of Marie Guilpin, a St. Andrews university master student, the effort of the team regarding this 2010 season data collection is already online, so, you can visit the link on our website and if you went out with us this season, by searching the date and time you were at sea you can check the whales you saw and even match them with your own pictures.

Also, this season, after two and half season’s of data collection, curiosity started growing and we decided to do a simple analyses on the whales we id so that we had an idea on the number of different animals identified by us, how are they and how often they visited the south of Pico on the last season´s.

So, from this analyses we saw than 761 photos were taken by members of our team and whale watchers, this 761 photos translate in 235 individual whales, from witch 77 were sighted more than once, so next time you visit us, you can see on an album the whales sighted more than once and also some of the ones sighted only once.

You are welcome to visit our photo Id databank at:

sábado, 14 de agosto de 2010

A Wonderfull "Première", it's warming up !

August 12th, 11h30, Pedro phone me, they are with a group of 50 Stenos (Steno bredanensis)...

Checking the azorean official sighting list, the last time that this species was seen in the archipelago was in 1995 !

15 years latter, a first record for the Espaço Talassa team, summer 2010 is really special !

Good for our ego, beautiful photos... but the question is "Why this guys are back ?", well the sea temp is over than 25 º, is it the explanation or part of it ?

sexta-feira, 9 de julho de 2010

Marvellous July

Wonderfull first week of July, four very special encounters.

Very rare in the azores, Gervais beaked whale

A premiere, a blue whale in July , first time that I see this during my 22 year's experience

Ahead of time 3 Northern bottlenose

and finally the last but not the least
spotted dolphin... late this year

terça-feira, 1 de junho de 2010

Espaço Talassa in Spain

Joana Vian, our resident biologist, will represent Espaço Talassa and the whale watching made in Pico (Azores) at the "III jornadas de los Delfines del parque natural de la Serra Gelada",by June 11th, her talk call "Watch how we watch"...

sexta-feira, 28 de maio de 2010

Once upon a blue!

The Azorean people since many years look at the sea searching for whales, in the beginning looking only for sperm whales witch they hunted, but since those times there are memories of bigger “fishes” with “blows like towers” that were sighted from land, but because they were not the sperm whales they were searching for, they were not of much interest.

When the Espaço Talassa team started going to the sea, 21 years ago the opportunity came to go sea closely one of those “big fishes” imagine the surprise on the discovery that was nothing more than a blue whale, the biggest animal ever to life on heart, and this was how the first sighting of a Blue whale ocorred on the Azores, by 29 may 1997.

After that, sightings of other baleen whales like the Fin, Sei, Bryde, Humpback and even the Minke occurred on this waters during the months of april and may, since there every season during this months we fulfil the dreams of many that want to sea the oceans biggest creatures life on their natural environment.

Every season during the months of April and May, the baleen whales are migrating from the warm waters in the south, were they mate and have their young’s, to the cold north waters were they feed. During this migration they pass in the Azores and that is when we get to see them here in south of Pico island.

Because there is some food availability in these waters, they tend to stay a few days around here. The 2010 season started with a month of April with a regular number of sightings of baleen whales, but then in May something extraordinary happened, we started seeing them almost everyday, and we were so surprised that we decided to make a small statistic analyses with the data that we collect every day.

The results are shown on the graphics below, one regarding the month of April and the other the month of may for the last 10 seasons (we collect this data since 1989, but only the last 10 years were analysed because before that the effort on this months was much smaller). The analyses consist on the number of times each species of baleen whales was sighted each year; also there is a line with the number of trips to the sea to give an idea on the effort.

Regarding the month of April we can see that we have been sighting baleen whales every season on the last ten years, doe the numbers of each species change a bit.

If we analyse species we can see that the 2006 season was the best regarding Blue and Fin whales sightings, 2001 was very strong on Humpback whales, 2004 on Sei whales and 2002 on Minke whales. And looking at the present season we can see that it’s a good season, but not that much different from other years like 2002, 2006, and 2007.

And we can see that this numbers are not dependent on the number of trips, since in some years with less trips we see more animals that in years with more trips (compare 2004 with 2006, for example).

But when we look at the month of May, we can see that specially regarding Blue and Fin whales this is definitely the best season of the last 10 years, and again it has not to due with the number of trips to sea. On 2004 we sighted more Humpback whales, in 2008 more Sei whales and in 2006 more Minke whales.
But the month of May is not over yet and we have no idea of what is still to happen on the months to come.

The reasons for this extraordinary amount of whales around are not fully understood by us, according to the knowledge we have on this animals we can infer that it is probably due to a higher amount of krill than usual, but because we do not develop dedicated research on the food availability here we can’t be sure.

On the year of 1998 Espaço Talassa started identifying Blue whales for Richard sears, and took the picture of the first Blue whale match from the Azores to Iceland, this season, Richard was here and during his stay, until the 15 of May, 15 different Blue whales were identified, at the moment this number is still increasing.

We keep in touch…

segunda-feira, 17 de maio de 2010

Espaço Talassa via Pedro Madruga celebrates the year of the biodiversity

First sighting from our team of a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle “Lepidochelys kempii” by May 14th around 5 PM, 2 miles south of Pontas Negras, Pico Island… of course !

The animal was covered with gooseneck barnacles and sea weed. Sensible skipper Pedro has removed all the parasites.

Pedro thinks that he has seen another similar sea turtle, last week when he was snorkling by the “Castelete”, bigger than the one from Ponta Negras who was 30 cm of lenght.

Lepidochelys kempii

The Kemp's ridley sea turtle was named after Richard M. Kemp, a fisherman and naturalist from Key West, Florida, who first submitted the species for identification in 1880.

It is rarely sighted in the Azores archipelago

Size 24 to 36 inches long

Diet Crabs, fishes and an array of mollusks

Lifespan At least 30 years, and possibly 50 years or more

Range Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and U.S. Atlantic Seaboard

Habitat Coastal areas, nesting on beaches

Predators Foxes, weasels, cats, dogs, raccoons, crabs and more eat eggs

and hatchlings. Sharks and other large fishes prey on juveniles and adults.

Humans threaten them with fishing activities.

Relatives There are seven species of sea turtles, including the green, loggerhead, 
Kemp’s ridley, olive ridley, hawksbill, flat back and leatherback.

Family life Female Kemp’s ridleys nest all at once in a large group called an arribada.

In 1947, about 42,000 turtles nested in an arribada in Rancho Nuevo, Mexico.

Conservation status Critically Endangered Kemp's ridleys face major threats from accidental catch in fishing gear and are currently the most endangered sea turtle in the world.

Sea turtles and climate change Rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and other trends are having an effect on the world’s sea turtles.

sexta-feira, 16 de abril de 2010

Our mother'nature present of yesterday...

2 blue whales, south of Lajes do Pico

sábado, 3 de abril de 2010

Powerfull Nature

Before yesterday I was annoucing the begining of our whale watching operation for 2010 like this "Four days at sea, four days with sperm whale", now I can say five days at sea with sperm whale, 5 different species of dolphins and... Orca ! definitively the water south of Pico are unique.
I wish that ou
r visitor can feel it with pleasure and respect !

Photo by Pedro madruga

quinta-feira, 4 de março de 2010

Pagamento de taxa de renovação de licença de observação de cetáceos.

2.760 euros é um cheque que me vai custar muito a assinar.

Não pela quantia, apesar desta representar mais de 50 cêntimos por cliente embarcado, mas porque este imposto das baleias é injusto.

Injusto, porque arrecadado nos cofres do estado, será sem dúvida dirigido a qualquer outro fim que não o bem da minha actividade e dos cetáceos... para cimentar o litoral açoriano, por exemplo.

Injusto, sobretudo, porque a ideia de instituir uma licença de “observação de baleias nos Açores” foi desnaturada, traída ao longo dos 5 últimos anos.

Voltando um pouco ao passado, alguns deverão ainda lembrar-se de que estive entre aqueles que lutaram pela existência desta licença. Fui então criticado por isso. Nessa perspectiva, participei, mandatado pelas companhias existentes na altura, em diversas reuniões com os responsáveis políticos e científicos do arquipélago: a minha ideia era, em suma, “a defesa de uma observação de cetáceos de qualidade, respeitadora, elitista, onde a importância não estivesse no número de pessoas embarcadas, mas sim nas divisas que essas pessoas trouxessem para o arquipélago, utilizando a imagem das baleias mais do que utilizar as baleias à nossa imagem!

Não ponho em causa a importância da Portaria n.º 5/2004 (imposto das baleias), mas, com seriedade, analisemos o que resta dessa lei, modificada ao sabor de influências políticas e do apetite de certos operadores...

Em resumo:

  • Empresas foram vendidas sem que para o efeito tivessem que provar um mínimo de actividade e outras conseguiram fazer modificar a lei da república sobre lotações e instituir uma excepção açoriana, sem mais nem menos...
  • Houve embarcações operando com excesso de lotação durante vários anos, com a benção das autoridades, sobretudo em S.Miguel.
  • Porquê preocuparmo-nos com isso quando outras embarcações operam regularmente nos dias de hoje com excesso de lotação, sem rol da tripulação e por conseguinte sem contratos de trabalho.
  • Paquetes de vários milhares de toneladas vendem e fazem observação na zona sem serem questionadas pelas autoridades.
  • Pior, operam com embarcações matriculadas, sem licença “baleia”, mas sob a capa de um marketing de “observação da vida marinha” ou sea watching!!! Algumas dessas embarcações pertencem a sociedades que no entanto possuem já vários barcos legalizados. Pude até ver um barco escola passar diante de uma das minhas embarcações.
  • O cúmulo é quando autorizações de “audio-visual” ou científicas são dadas a empresas/embarcações que não chegam a ter licença de observação... o cúmulo do cúmulo ainda está para vir, quando licenças especiais forem dadas a embarcações de pesca.
  • Não é raro ver 10 nadadores simultâneamente na água com os golfinhos ou pseudo-profissionais nadar na companhia de cachalotes ou então, baleias azuis.

Aprendi durante estes 20 anos de trabalho que denunciar abusos, uma falta ou uma infracção às autoridades (Inspecção do Trabalho, Direcção Regional do Ambiente, Direcção Regional do Turismo, Capitania do Porto) não serve senão para ganhar inimigos, na medida em que pouco ou nenhum controlo é efectuado e sanções concretizadas.

Será tudo isto somente falta de meios ou/e falta de vontade de sanear todo um sector turístico que anda à deriva?

Para ser politicamente correcto e também porque não tenho alternativa, pagarei a dívida daquilo que defendi noutros tempos... um imposto baleia... mas isso está-me custando … 2.760 euros.

quarta-feira, 17 de fevereiro de 2010

Espaço Talassa fly with SATA

Alexandra'work showed in Azorean Spirit, the SATA magazine... and on the front cover... please !
We are very proud that our base (and house), the BOCA was choose to illustrate Pico as a respectful architecture and I wish a responsible tourism.

terça-feira, 9 de fevereiro de 2010

Paradise and Low cost

Please don't sign the petition "low cost for the Azores".
There is a big confusion here.
The question is: Do we want to allow the access to the archipel to the mass or do we want to travel cheaper ? ... I say Yes for the low price for Azorean resident but who visit us has to pay the true price... do we really want to sell off the paradise ?