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Whale-watching, this half term

Posted by Luci Ackers on 24 May 2016
Related property: Encosta Cabo Girao
Whale-watching, this half term

Those of you at Cabo Girão this half term might be looking for something interesting to do with youngsters. A boat trip is always a popular choice (with both young and old alike!) because the waters around the island have so much to offer.

Get the best view

Being located just off the western coast of Africa, the waters of Madeira are always a warm temperature – very inviting for passing sea life!

A huge tourist attraction are the dolphin and whale-watching tours that depart from the harbour in Funchal. The whale-watching industry has taken off dramatically in recent years and there is a great range of day-trips to choose from.

The sea life of Madeira is now protected and the waters around the island have even been designated as marine reserves. To the south of the island, and towards the eastern end of Funchal Bay, is the Garajau Reserve which protects and supports the conservation of a number of species. You'll find dive centres here and the area is great for snorkellers too. The waters are rich with life and the tour boats offer an eco-friendly means to discover them. Some of the companies operating from the harbour are listed below.

Why Madeira?

It is estimated that more than 20 different types of cetaceans pass through the Madeiran waters each year; the pilot whale is quite a common sight year-round as is the sperm whale, and the bottlenose dolphin. There is a range of tours to choose from. Some venture to the nearby little Desertas Islands, and some offer the opportunity to swim with the dolphins if they come up to the boat. It's important to remember that their habitat is respected and the animals' welfare is priority.

The island's scenery is beautiful when viewed from the sea and you are sure to see some excellent sights. Keep your eyes open for some of the less common species: loggerhead turtles, flying fish, minke whales, striped dolphin and monk seals.

The latter is becoming really endangered worldwide, though there is a population of around 40 living on the shores of the Desertas Islands. While you're touring you will spot a number of the island's sea bird residents, such as manx shearwater as well.

A lot of the tours provide the guarantee that if you don't see a cetacean you'll get a second trip free. This is a great way to spend the day, and lots of fun for the whole family!

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Luci Ackers

Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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