To conclude this introduction I cannot prevent myself from saying what I think today about "whaling", here and there. Time has weakened the impulsive aggressiveness of my adventurer mind and now the sensitivity dominates my analysis concerning my past as a whaler. It is my right and my duty to analyse it: in view of the illegal persecution still carried out on these animals, regardless of well known ecological problems, I join forces with the others with my cry as a man of the sea :
- Stop with that! The echo of that cry is barely a reflex of humanity.
Nuno Alvares, in "Memórias de Um Baleeiro" (a whaler's memories) - 1985
cofounder of the Espaço Talassa, this former «old salt» who put in at the Azores, has fallen in love, in no particular order with the islands, with a girl from Azores (Alexandra), with dolphins and whales. In 1987, helped by João Vigia, Serge founded the first Observation Base of Cetaceans from Azores in Lajes do Pico.
Serge is Portuguese silver medal '2010 of merit for tourism.
as a cofounder of the Espaço Talassa and Serge's partner, she experienced the first (difficult) miles of the Espaço Talassa in 1989. Architect by profession she designed our base in Lajes and now she runs with her good mood as well as with her sense of aestheticism the OBCA complex, where it is pleasant to be after getting back from the sea.
was a whaler for 36 years and moved over into tourism … as he said! João has been getting a lot of patience since 1992, to teach "the young environmentalists" the art of knowing how to approach an animal, to understand its behaviour and to respect it. João set sail for an endless journey in December 2005 but wherever he may be, he keeps guiding our adventures...
look-out of the new generation, he combines effectiveness and tradition (his father has been look-out for Espaço Talassa some years ago) and over all a new glance on Eco-Tourism activity, with respect for the cetaceans he 'gives' us to observe and overall an open mind at the search of new species to investigate: birds, turtles, sharks...
skipper : son of a professional fisherman of São João, located on the south coast of Pico and a "piercing" lover, Pedro joined our team in 2003. As he’s very familiar with the Azores sea, it didn’t take him long to adapt his own natural sensibility and know-how to approach large whales as gently as possible, those mammals he got used to meet when he was on board his father’s trawler.
comes from a family of shipowners called " Picaroto " and the stories of sailors used to punctuate the long wait for the " lancha " on the warf of Madalena. This photographer who is also campaigning for the protection and study of Sado dolphins, has been also moving to Lajes in spring since Espaço Talassa started. At sea, he is the ideal skipper for all those who have a passion for amateur of professional photographs.
Since 2006 chef in our 'Whale'come ao Pico'. Herminia has a preference for local products, especially from Piedade, her village in the east of the island. Simple, local recipes are given a personal touch, are rendered much lighter. Good mood, sweetness, smile, simplicity : the best ingredients as such. Do not hesitate to ask her for our salads or for our vegetarian dishes...
In the Hotel "Whale' come ao Pico", Eunice is your housekeeper. Do not hesitate asking her about the secret places, mainly about "Pontas Negras", in the southern coast of the island, where she lives. At breakfast, Eunice will offer local products, whenever possible, such as: honey, cheese, banana, corn bread, araçá jam ... a smile and efficiency.
Lisa da Silva & Stéphanie Bettencourt,
our Canadian girls, have taken over the base 'Espaço Talassa' since a couple of years. They will help you to organize your visit on Pico (walks, excursions, activities...). You will cross with them early in the morning before the briefing and our trips to the ocean; they are always around, with a smile, professionalism and ready to help.
as like so many other 'Picarotos' has two professions : fisherman in the winter, skipper with 'Espaço Talassa' from June to October, since 2010. He is our specialist for 'Swimming with Dolphins'. Patience, experience and a certain 'know how' is the essential cocktail that allows him to take you to an encounter with animals in their realm, in security and with the utmost respect.
a marine biologist since 2008 joined our team in 2011. He is our portuguese specialist and he is responsible for 'Espaco Talassa' photo id project. His strength is marine biodiversity, from the smallest bacteria, the biggest blue whale, the "krill" sharks, turtles, to the birds… all these species have an important role in keeping the ecosystem balanced for the planet. He loves sharing his knowledge and a chat with him will be all you need to be convinced.
She has a BSc (Hon) in Marine Biology and a MRes in Marine Mammal Science attributed by the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, with a thesis focused on photo-identification of sperm whales. She is also passionate about sea turtles, and she is in charge of the sea turtle tagging project in which Espaço Talassa collaborates with the University of Florida. She will be happy to share her knowledge about marine wildlife with you.
Maria João Simões,
Maria has a professional degree in Restaurant & Bar attributed by the Hotel Management and Tourism School of the Algarve. She joined the Espaço Talassa team in 2013. Her natural friendliness is contagious and we can find her, every day, at the “Whale’Come ao Pico” Restaurant, waitressing with a smile and always in a good mood.
Sonia Manso ,
She travelled to the Azores for the first time in 2007 and fell in love with Pico Island. In 2012 she moved to the island permanently. She has a degree in Marine Biology and has always worked in ecotourism and environmental awareness. At Espaço Talassa she is responsible for the Outdoor Activities. She always has stories to tell you about Pico’s volcanoes, its traditions and she knows where to look for the best Verdelho of the island.