Jump to content
Clare
Clare

Day 8: Dolphin watching

We woke up this morning knowing that it was our final chance to go on the boat trip that I'd originally booked for my birthday. When we looked at the window it looked like a fairly calm and sunny day but then, so had yesterday! Personally I was feeling a bit sceptical and I wasn't convinced that this trip was ever actually going to happen. Before we set off on another 5-mile round trip into Funchal, I decided to send the company a message on WhatsApp. To my surprise, they replied almost immediately saying that the boat trip was on and we needed to be at their office for 10.30. We set off from the hotel straightaway!

We just about made it to the office near the harbour for 10.30 and were given boarding cards for the boat. Then we were told to sit and wait for someone to come and fit us out with life jackets. We sat for about 10 minutes or so, with a view of the two large cruise ships that were in Funchal today.

image.jpeg

Eventually the boat personnel arrived and we were fitted with our life jackets.

image.jpeg

The life jackets were necessary because we were going on a speedboat trip. When looking at boat trips in Madeira I found that there tended to be a choice between going by catamaran or on a speedboat. The speedboats were smaller and took fewer people, so I thought it might be more fun. We'd enjoyed our speedboat trip between Flores and Corvo in the Azores last year.

image.jpeg

We boarded the boat and were given a safety briefing by the crew.

image.jpeg

Tim and I had managed to board the boat first, with the result that we had front row seats.

image.jpeg

First impressions were that the water seemed quite calm today and the boat wasn't moving anywhere near as violently as the speedboat to Corvo we'd taken last year.

We'd been warned that the tour company couldn't necessarily guarantee that we'd see any wildlife which, of course, made sense. So we were really surprised when, only around 10 minutes into our trip, we spotted dolphins!

image.jpeg

You will have to look carefully for evidence of dolphins in these pictures, because they were really hard to photograph :D

image.jpeg

By the time you'd noticed that they'd popped up, they'd be halfway to disappearing again.

image.jpeg

The guide explained that for animal welfare reasons, there are strict rules about how close the boats are allowed to get to the dolphins and how long they're allowed to stay. So you may be able to make them out in the video below, but you'll see they're quite a long way in the distance.

You'll be able to see them a bit closer in the next video. Essentially the boat was still at this point and the dolphins chose how close they came.

It was so much fun to see them :) The guide explained that these were bottlenose dolphins.

image.jpeg

Once we'd finished watching the dolphins, the boat was on the move again. This time it picked up some speed!

From the water we had some wonderful views of the coastline, including Cabo Girão where we'd been on Monday.

image.jpeg

We didn't travel too far before coming to a halt again. The guide made us aware that there had been a sighting of a pilot whale.

 

If you thought the dolphins were hard to spot, the pilot whale was even harder to keep track of.

image.jpeg

Apparently they dive quite deeply, so you're never quite sure when or where they're going to pop up.

image.jpeg

I must admit, I'd never heard of pilot whales before today.

image.jpeg

The guide explained that they're actually a type of dolphin, rather than a whale, but they gained the whale name because they're so big.

image.jpeg

At one point the pilot whale appeared right in front of the boat, which was really cool :) 

That was all the wildlife we saw today, but we still had the return journey to look forward to.

image.jpeg

The speedboat went really fast this time, so we got to enjoy a few bumps!

As we sailed past Cabo Girão, I was excited to catch sight of a cable car I'd read about. Tourists can pay to use it but it was originally built for the benefit of farmers, who farm the small strip of land underneath the cliff.

image.jpeg

From the water you could really appreciate how huge the cliffs here are.

image.jpeg

I was also excited to spot the viewing platform we'd visited on Monday (you may just be able to make it out towards the top middle of the photo below, to the right of some greenery).

image.jpeg

Soon we began to recognise parts of Funchal we were now familiar with. This is the beach I've been walking alongside in the evenings. Our hotel is somewhere on the cliff above.

image.jpeg

And this is part of the route that we've been walking between the hotel and central Funchal.

image.jpeg

Two hours after we'd departed, we were back in Funchal...

image.jpeg

...and it was time to disembark from the boat.

image.jpeg

It was a really exciting experience and a great way to finish what has been a fantastic week in Madeira. I'm definitely going to remember my 40th birthday trip :)

image.jpeg




User Feedback

Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.



Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.