The Azores or Western Islands comprise a volcanic group of nine islands lying around latitude 38° N. Some 900 miles from Portugal and towards the middle of the North Atlantic (Fig.1). The islands lie in three groups whose outriders are distant from each other about 100 miles, and the distance from Corvo in the Western Group to Santa Maria in the Eastern Group is nearly 400 miles (Fig. 3, p.297). The archipelago is administered not as a colony but as an integral pan of Portugal. For this reason, when reference is made in the present account to the mainland or its inhabitants, these are usually distinguished as 'continent Portugal ' and the 'continental Portuguese'.

At present (1953) they are three Portuguese whaling centres in the North Atlantic (Fig. 1). Setubal on the mainland of Portugal conducted steam whaling for Fin and Sperm whales between 1925 and 1927, and in 1944 resumed operations from a fine new station.  In the archipelago of the Açores and in Madeira the fishery is of a different kind and only Sperm whales are taken.  Sperm whales are the largest of the Toothed whales: the male Sperm whale can grow to 6o ft.in length and the female to 39 ft.

Texte from Robert Clarke (1954)
Open boat Whaling in the Açores Discovery Report no 26.