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Dive Review of Pico Sport/Jeiroes Do Mar in
Other Locations/Pico Island, Azores

September, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by DAVID SHEM-TOV, NY, US
Sr. Contributor   (20 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 6708
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

choppy, surge  
Water Temp
21   to 22    Celsius  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
15   to 25    Meters  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
On open ocean dives you had to hold on to rope dangled from zodiac  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
1 stars  
Small Critters
  1 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
1 stars  
No rinse tank on boat.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars    
1 stars   
3 stars    
European divers head to Pico or Horta, two mid-atlantic islands of the
Azores 3 hrs from Lisbon or 5 hrs from Boston to dive with Blue and Mako
sharks or Mobula Rays. Hurricane Nadine, heading in the direction of the
islands, shut down diving operations on the third day after we landed. We
cut our trip short. 
If you plan to go, be warned that conditions are very challenging. Before
you can even join an oceanic dive, you will be (quite reasonably) expected
to demonstrate your skills at SMB deployment from depth on the check dive.
The shark dives take place after a gruelling 90-120minute trip on a zodiac.
A further 30-60 minutes is spent on the unanchored zodiac in the blue,
chumming the waters.  Ropes are then dangled from the zodiac and two divers
are expected to suspend from each one while the inquisitive sharks swim
nearby. The day I went, conditions once we arrived at the site were deemed
too choppy and the dive was aborted.  We still had to endure the four hour
transit though.  My dive buddy did the dive the next day and reported that
the trip was an extremely uncomfortable.  The dive was spent bobbing up and
down in the swell as the boat was unanchored.  It was a "once in a
lifetime experience."  I.e., just once was enough. 
During our visit it was impossible to do the dive with the mobulas at
Prince Alice Banks, the seamount 40nm from shore, with a 3hr journey time
in each direction.  
Pico Sport is one of two dive operations on the island.  I found them
professional.  They graciously waived the cost of the failed shark dive
(EUR 175 per person) even though the zodiac made the journey to the site
and back.
Many Azoreans emigrated to the US, therefore English is widely spoken. Pico
is a pleasant volcanic island with no beaches. Our rented apartment in
Madalena was conveniently located to the dive centre and very comfortable. 
There was a supermarket nearby and a couple of good restaurants. Aside from
diving one can participate in whale watching trips, swim with wild
dolphins, go on a number of hikes, visit whaling museums or climb Mount
Pico, the highest in Portugal. 
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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