Rui Santos – expert guide and whale researcher

Rui Santos

Rui on the boat

This exclusive small group is led by expert whale researcher Rui Santos.  Rui guides our tour on Pico in April and May which offers a unique opportunity for you to see these ocean giants in their mid-Atlantic feeding grounds where the sightings have been exceptional over the last few years.  

Rui Santos has a masters in Marine biology and has been conducting his ongoing research in Pico since 2008. He has had several publications and lectures about some of his discoveries on this remote location. He has worked as a whale watching guide for the last 9 years and is always very popular with the guests. He is very enthusiastic and passionate about dolphins and whales – you will certainly learn a lot! On this tour you will have a chance to assist him with his research: photo ID , acoustic sampling with the hydrophone, data collection etc..

You will participate in research during this tour guided by Rui and you will:

  • Learn about the dolphins and whales that are resident and migrating through the Azores and the scientific research that is being conducted here.
  • Help collect data about the animals and see them in “real” time using an underwater Go Pro as they pass beside the boat and help with photo ID records
  • Listen to the animals with the hydrophone – acoustic sampling


“Our tour was lead by an expert guide and whale researcher who gathers data about the Azorean whales in order to collaborate with other researchers around the world for the enrichment of wider knowledge and species protection. This passionate, hard working, sharing and kind approach sums Rui up to a tee. He is literally the nicest guy you will ever meet and if you ever fancy learning what Rui doesn’t know about whales, forget it because you will discover it to be a minuscule amount of knowledge. The guide and the local team were always caring, smiling and super enthusiastic. The 3 hour trips out to sea were truly amazing with many sightings of Blue, Sperm and Fin Whales together with several dolphin and turtle species. There were numerous other creatures to be expertly described by Rui ( the mans knowledge is PIC_0327unbelievable) therefore these trips were simply out of this world and went by like a flash. We were also educated as to the role of the spotters (and were fortunate to meet one spotter) who guided us to the animals, again learning how all this is achieved was a real pleasure.

Regarding going out on the boat, I was very worried about getting seasick as I’m not good on the water, however just taking some travel sickness pills sorted that out and I didn’t have any issues at all. We were also given short seminars after the trips recapping on what we had seen and allowing us time to consider and ask questions as he was passionate about sharing his fascination for these animals and all things nature in general“ Richard Christie