The volcanic archipelago of Madeira is one of the most isolated oceanic islands in the northeast Atlantic, with up to 28 species of whales and dolphins typically spotted in the area. With its dramatic landscape, the island is surrounded by deep waters and submarine canyons just a few miles offshore — perfect for deep-diving marine species, such as sperm whales, beaked whales and pilot whales.
Situated in the marina of Calheta on the southwestern coast, Lobosonda offers several daily two- or three-hour trips on small boats. Established in 2003 as a family business, one of the company’s main principles is that ‘we are the guests out there’, emphasising that the animals should in no way be harmed or disturbed.
Every tour is a unique experience, but they all start with a short presentation on sea life and a briefing about safety rules on board. To ensure higher encounter success rates, an experienced land-based spotter helps to locate the animals at sea and assists with undertaking the most appropriate approach. Lobosonda’s skippers are trained to navigate in a responsible and respectful way without disrupting the natural behaviour of the cetaceans.
On board, expert guides, including biologists, teachers and ocean specialists, share their knowledge with the group about the biology and behaviour of marine mammals and other oceanic creatures. With the clear aim to raise environmental awareness, the guides invite their guests to become ‘marine ambassadors’, believing that everyone on a personal level can help to save the planet’s oceans. Every sighting gets recorded and monitored so that the data can be shared at a later date with the Madeira Whale Museum and the University of Madeira. In this simple way, Lobosonda is making an active contribution to on-going scientific studies in the region.
Meanwhile, back on land, the Info-Center located in the marina provides more in-depth information about marine life. Among the myriad activities, guests can discover detailed statistics about the success of the sailings, and while away the hours in the specialist book/library corner.
Enjoy Madeira’s natural treasures aboard Ribeira Brava, during a whale and dolphin watching tour with onboard expert guides
Need to know
• 2-3 hour whale watching and dolphin snorkelling trips
• Responsible and respectful observation opportunities
• 2 boat types: a Zodiac (maximum 12 passengers) and a traditional former fishing boat (maximum 16 passengers)
• Expert onboard guides
• Professional land-based spotter