By Bo, co-founder of SeaBookings, working from Lisbon:
As you may have already read on this blog, we’ve been on a short 3-day trip to Madeira island Portugal. Our goal was to check out some of the coolest things to do on Madeira and share them with you. One thing is a true must on Madeira: whale watching!
We went on a dolphin and whale watching tour on Madeira with departure from the Marina of Funchal. After a very complete briefing about what we species we could expect to find, about the tour itself and about respect for nature (which is very important for this tour operator), we headed down to the boat.
The boat used for this whale watching tour is a rigid inflatable boat (RIB). These boats are known for their speed and safety, ideal for a dolphin watching trip! And another good thing is that, opposed to other boats, on RIBs, it’s very rare to get seasick. Francisco, who usually gets seasick when sailing is the proof! On the RIB, a super fast boat, he did not feel sick 😉
We had quite a laugh when boarding because some of the other passengers would put their life-jackets the other way around and one lady even decided to sit backwards on the seats! It was hard to keep our laughs! Be careful not to do this! :p
As soon as we left the marina we immediately went full gas towards the deep blue of the Atlantic. On this 2,5 hour dolphin and whale watching trip in Madeira, we were lucky enough to spot three species. Did you know that around the year, 28 different species of cetaceans (dolphins and whales) can be spotted around the island of Madeira? Some of the most commonly spotted species are common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins, sperm whales and pilot whales. And sometimes even other sea life like turtles are spotted from the speed boats.
[youtube height=”300″ width=”615″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJc9eza7o60&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]
As the Atlantic is rather big and as we deal with wild animals and they are not fed, this tour operator counts with observers on land. It may sound strange, but these observers help a lot! From the mountains, they give directions to the skippers to easily find the animals. Once the skippers track the animals on their GPS, it’s time to speed up and head to the whales and dolphins to watch them closely. Chances of finding some species of cetaceans are, like this, very high on Madeira. However, it’s a true adventure and on some tours, it can happen that no dolphins or whales are sighted.
We saw common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and sperm whales very closely. Actually, we even found two pods of common dolphins and with the first spot, some of the passengers had the opportunity to get into the water to swim with dolphins. I was one of them and trust me, this was one of the experiences in my life I’m most grateful for. You can read my full experience here.
While near to the mammals, this tour operator respects a certain distance to not disturb the animals and give you some time to observe them. But not too long, also to respect the animals. The marine biologist onboard will keep you updated about what’s going on. As we found the species, we were informed about them and their behavior. Feel free to ask any questions. The guides love to tell about our favorite animals!
We had a great time onboard. The boat ride itself is really worth it. The sights over the coastline of the island, like Cabo Girão and Ribeira Brava, are stunning. And the speed is a lot of fun!
To watch whales and dolphins (and maybe even other marine life) in their natural habitat is a truly unique experience for the whole family in the middle of the Ocean. This experience is more than just watching these magical creatures. You’ll get to know a lot about cetaceans and particularly about the ones around Madeira Island. Feel free to book your dolphins and whale watching trip on Madeira online and feel free to contact us about any questions you may have.