Revisit National Geographic's Azores Expedition Aboard the Santa Maria Manuela

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In 2018, National Geographic partnered with the Oceano Azul Foundation and Waitt Institute to dive for a month aboard the Santa Maria Manuela, a steel-hulled sailing ship that was once a cod-fishing vessel, refitted in 2010 to cater for scuba diving, adventure cruises, and even as a floating conference centre. 

A total of 611 dives were launched from the Santa Maria Manuela in the Azorean archipelago in the name of marine science and conservation. The resulting National Geographic documentary showed the world how stunning the waters that surround the Azores are, and how important it is to protect the surrounding ocean with its stunning array of marine life.

National Geographic's expedition video report

As a result of the National Geographic expedition, on 28 February 2019, the Regional Government of the Azores signed a memorandum of understanding over the Blue Azores Program, which will enable the creation of new marine protected areas covering 150,000 sq km of the region's waters.

In August 2019, the Santa Maria Manuela will return to dive some of the best sites featured in the National Geographic expedition, including those around Faial, Flores and Corvo Islands. The dive team are on hand to support visitors with their extensive local knowledge of all the best sites, with plenty of experience in dealing with specific swell and weather conditions. Guests are welcomed on board as part of the crew, and can get involved in sailing the ship, even if they have no prior experience - a liveaboard experience with some real adventure.

To find out more or to join the adventure visit The price is €1350 per person including all dive equipment and air fills. Check out the National Geographic video above and the Ocean Azul video below to see how the adventure unfolds...

Ocean Azul's vision for the Blue Azure's marine protected area


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