EXPLORE MADEIRA’S SEALIFE

Whale & Dolphin Watching

We offer daily trips of 2 – 2,5 hours to spot dolphins, whales and sea turtles on one of our 3 boats. All boats  have been supplied with new engines in 2016. They also have all obligated rescue equipment.

We only take small groups on each trip in order to provide our customers a personalized and comfortable tour.

Our captain speaks English, German, Dutch & Portuguese.

In the wintertime we offer 2-3  trips p/day and in the summertime up to 4 trips p/day. The last trip of the day is always in combination with viewing the sunset, which is spectacular in Madeira.

ENJOY THESE CLIPS MADE DURING OUR TRIPS

Amazing Whale & Dolphin Videos

PILOT WHALES – above water

PILOT WHALES – under water

SPOTTED DOLPHINS

SPERMWHALES – relaxing

LOGGERHEAD SEATURTLE

SPERMWHALE – curious

Sightings at recent Trips

Franki Slijpen Photography

Franki Slijpen is our head captain and has a passion for photography. With his professional equipment he will make pictures and/or videos during each trip. At the end of the day he will post them to his facebook page. Feel free to download them there for you personal use.

Links

Facebook Franki Slijpen
Instagram Franki Slijpen
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MOST COMMON SPECIES SPOTTED IN MADEIRA

Whales & Dolphins

Textsource: http://www.museudabaleia.org/

Photographs by: Franki Slijpen & Nicole Slijpen (brother & sister; captains on our boats)

sperm whale sperm whaleCommon name (English): Sperm Whale
Common name (Portuguese) : Cachalote
Length (Adult)- 11m (♀) – 15m / (Calf)- 4m (♂)
Weight (Adult)- 20 000kg (♀) – 40 000kg (♂)

Description:
The blowhole is located at the left side of the head, causing a 45º forward angular slightly to the left blow.
The body coloration is dark-grey to brown. The skin is rough looking from the pectoral fins to the caudal peduncle.
Block-shaped head.
Bulky and has no beak.
The dorsal fin is practically non-existent and the pectoral fins are small.
Triangular-shaped fluke which is completely visible out of the water when it dives.

Ecology:
Occurs in deep waters where they are believed to be able to reach 3000 m in depth in order to capture pelagic cephalopods, which are their main prey. The larger males may remain 1h30m without breathing and females 45min. The adult males tend to form small groups or are solitary, while females with calves and immature males form groups of 20 or more animals. They are usually less active when at surface. They move at about 3 to 5 knots. They can socialize at the surface for several hours.

Conservation Status (IUCN) – Global / Regional:
Vulnerable / Vulnerable.

Legal Protection Status:
Species legally protected under the Regional Decree no.6/86/M; Habitats Directive – Strict protection (appendix IV); CITES (appendix II); Bern Convention – Protected Fauna Species (appendix III)..

Threats:
Population decay over the last 3 generations and collisions in places of high maritime traffic. In Madeira, there is also the ingestion of anthropogenic materials (e.g. plastics).

Distribution:Cosmopolitan
Female and immature males groups and females generally inhabit the waters between 40 ° S and 42 ° N latitudes. The adult males move up to higher latitudes.

Presence in the Region:Common
It is observed regularly in the waters of the Madeira archipelago. The region is used as a crossing point, feeding and socializing spot as well as to give birth to calves.

Occurrence throughout the year:Periodic

pilot whalespilot whalesCommon name (English): Short-finned pilot whale
Common name (Portuguese): Baleia-piloto-tropical
Traditional name in Madeira: Boca-de-panela
Length (Adult)- 4,5m / (Calf)- 1,5m
Weight (Adult)- 2 500kg

Description

· Dark-grey to black coloration with a light grey patch behind the dorsal fin.

· The head has a bulbous melon with a barely noticeable beak.

· The dorsal fin is slightly raised, rounded, with a very broad insertion base, located in the forward part of the body. This fin forms an obtuse angle with the anterior dorsal region.

· They are more corpulent than any other species of dolphins.

· The ends of the pectoral fins do not extend past the base of the dorsal fin.

Ecology:
This species inhabits coastal and oceanic waters. It is also a gregarious species, frequently found in groups ranging from a few to several dozens of individuals. They may demonstrate segregation by sex and maturity. Not an active species, it does not come close to vessels. Its diet is based on pelagic cephalopods, although it occasionally eats fish (up to 45 kg per day). They sometimes mix with bottlenose dolphins.

Conservation Status (IUCN) – Global / Regional:
Least concern / Least concern.

Legal Protection Status:
Species legally protected under the Regional Decree no.6/86/M; Habitats Directive – Strict protection (appendix IV); CITES (appendix II); Bern Convention – Strictly Protected Fauna Species (appendix II).

Threats:
By-catch in fishing activities and pollution. The impact of fishing activities is unknown in Madeira however a less appropriate code of conduct by maritime tourism operators may induce stress.

Distribution:Generally occurs in tropical and warm temperate waters. The species does not occur in the Mediterranean Sea.

Presence in the Region:Common
Groups with calves, feeding, resting or socializing are frequently sighted.

Occurrence throughout the year:Permanent
In the Madeira Archipelago it occurs all year round but not as frequently as the bottlenose dolphin.

bottlenose-dolphinsCommon name (English): Bottlenose Dolphin
Common name (Portuguese): Roaz ou Roaz-corvineiro
Traditional name in Madeira: Bôto
Length (Adult)- 3m / (Calf)- 1m
Weight (Adult)- 350Kg

Description

  • The head has a rounded frontal melon, presenting a profound notch separating the beak of the forehead.
  • The beak is short and thick.
  • The inferior jaw is prominent in comparison to the upper jaw.
  • Dark grey coloration in the back.
  • The belly is lighter, ranging from white to pink.
  • Robust body.

Ecology:
Bottlenose dolphin is a common species that occurs near the coast and in oceanic zones, generally in islands. They may demonstrate segregation by sex and maturity. Gregarious species, forms either small groups or groups with a few dozen individuals although groups of several hundreds of individuals have been reported. Some individuals form mixed groups with sperm whales where they are usually outnumbered. They are not fast swimmers, but when they are feeding its speed reaches 25 knots. They interact with vessels. Their diet is based on small fish and cephalopods. Appears to be opportunistic in prey choice.

Conservation Status (IUCN) – Global / Regional:
Data deficient / Least concern.

Legal Protection Status:
Species legally protected under the Regional Decree no.6/86/M; Habitats Directive – Strict protection of species and habitat (appendix II); CITES (appendix II); Bern Convention – Strictly Protected Fauna Species (appendix II).

Threats:
Direct capture, by-catch in fishing activities, habitat changes and pollution. In Madeira there are occasional cases of interaction with fisheries, direct mortality and stress caused by maritime tourism vessels.

Distribution:
Temperate and tropical waters of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Also occurs in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

Presence in the Region:Quite common
Uses the area for feeding, breeding and socializing. It is a common species in all waters of the archipelago, coming very close to shore.

Occurrence throughout the year:Permanent
In Madeira archipelago it is possible to sight this species year-round. Photo-identification studies carried out by the Whale Museum point to the existence of individuals that regularly use these waters. There is an increase in the number of sightings during spring and summer due to the presence of transient groups.

common-dolphincommon-dolphinCommon name (English): Short-beaked Common Dolphin
Common name (Portuguese): Golfinho-comum
Traditional name in Madeira: Toninha ou Antoninha
Length (Adult)- 2m / (Calf)- 0,8m
Weight (Adult):100Kg

Description

  • Yellowish pattern on the flanks between the eye and dorsal fin, easily visible when they are breaching.
  • It has a dark grey cape along the back that creates a “V” just below the dorsal fin on either side of the body.
  • The posterior flanks and caudal peduncle are light grey.
  • The belly is white. Their beak is prominent, slender and dark coloured.
  • Tall, dark dorsal fin, often with a lighter patch in the centre.

Ecology:
Gregarious species sighted in groups of one to several tens of animals in Madeira, however they may form groups of hundreds of individuals. The size of the groups varies seasonally and it depends on the time of day. They are very active, often interacting with vessels. Their diet is based on small fish and cephalopods. When they are looking for food they move at an average speed of 5 knots, but at top speed they may reach 25 knots.

Conservation Status (IUCN) – Global / Regional:
Least concern / Least concern.

Legal Protection Status:
Species legally protected under the Regional Decree no.6/86/M; Habitats Directive – Strict protection (appendix IV); CITES (appendix II); Bern Convention – Strictly Protected Fauna Species (appendix II).

Threats:
Direct capture, by-catch in fishing activities, habitat changes and pollution. In Madeira there are occasional cases of interaction with fisheries, direct mortality and death by ingestion of anthropogenic materials (e.g. plastics).

Distribution:
Occurs globally in temperate, subtropical and tropical seas, between 40ºN and 40ºS, except in the North Atlantic where it is sighted above 60ºN. It is sighted in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

Presence in the Region:Quite common
Very common species in the waters of Madeira, where it develops a set of activities such as feeding, socialization and reproduction.

Occurrence throughout the year:Seasonal
The animals are sighted quite frequently in the waters of the Madeira archipelago in the winter and spring. It can be sighted more rarely at other times of the year.

Common name (English): Atlantic Spotted Dolphin
Common name (Portuguese): Golfinho-pintado ou Golfinho-malhado-do-atlântico
Traditional name in Madeira: Toninha ou Antoninha
Length (Adult)- 2m / (Calf)- 0,9m
Weight (Adult)around 120Kg

Description

  • Greyish with white spots on the dorsal area of the animal and lighter coloured with grey spots on the ventral region.
  • The number of spots increases with age.
  • Younger dolphins have a white or rosy coloration on the belly.
  • All individuals have a lighter stroke-shaped patch on the back (Genus characteristic) on the back, beneath the dorsal fin.
  • Prominent and elongated beak.

Ecology:
The oceanic form of this species, which is the one that occurs in the seas of the Madeira archipelago, is smaller and less painted. Gregarious species, often sighted in groups ranging from tens to a few hundred individuals. Very active, frequently accompany the vessels and display very acrobatic aerial behaviours. They can easily swim at 18 knots. Their diet is based on small fish and cephalopods.

Conservation Status (IUCN) – Global / Regional:
Data deficient / Least concern

Legal Protection Status:
Species legally protected under the Regional Decree no.6/86/M; Habitats Directive – Strict protection (appendix IV); CITES (appendix II); Bern Convention – Strictly Protected Fauna Species (appendix II).

Threats:
Direct capture, by-catch in fishing activities, habitat changes and pollution. In Madeira there are occasional cases of interaction with fisheries, direct mortality and death by ingestion of anthropogenic materials (e.g. plastics).

Distribution:
Tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic Ocean (East, Central and West), approximately between 45 ° N and 20 ° S. It is not observed in the Mediterranean Sea.

Presence in the Region:Quite common
Fairly common species in all waters of Madeira, where it develops a set of activities such as feeding, socialization and reproduction.

Occurrence throughout the year: Seasonal
Quite common animals in the waters of Madeira during Spring and Summer they may, however, be observed less frequently at other times of the year.

Common name (English): Fin Whale
Common name (Portuguese): Baleia-comum
Traditional name in Madeira: Finbeque
Length Adult- 20m /Calf- 6m
Weight Adult- 80 000kg

Description:
Very long body. It has a less pronounced dorsal fin compared to the Sei Whale and located it is located further on the back.
The body colour is dark blue-grey in the dorsal and pectoral fins, and light in the belly.
The lower left lip is dark and the right one is white.
When it surfaces it is not possible to see the blowhole and the dorsal fin simultaneously.
When it dives it does not show the fluke but it bends its caudal peduncle.
Its blow is vertical and very high, reaching up to 5 m high.

Ecology:
Usually occurs in deep ocean waters and is rarely seen in coastal areas. They are usually solitary or form groups of up to 5 individuals. They are fast swimmers, with an average speed of 9 knots. Its diet is based on small planktonic crustaceans such as copepods, small fish and cephalopods.

Conservation Status (IUCN) – Global / Regional:
Endangered species / Data Deficient.

Legal Protection Status:
Species legally protected under the Regional Decree no.6/86/M; Habitats Directive – Strict protection (appendix IV); CITES (appendix I); Bern Convention – Strictly Protected Fauna Species (appendix II).

Threats:
Accidental drownings in fishing gears and collisions in areas with high maritime traffic. In Madeira there is a case of vessel collision.

Distribution:
Cosmopolitan, but more frequent in temperate and sub polar waters.

Presence in the Region:Common
Regular presence in the waters of the Madeira archipelago. Animals accompanied by calves and/or feeding were observed. Interactions between these animals and fishing vessels were also seen, the animals rubbed their back of the hull of the boat.

Occurrence throughout the year:Seasonal
Frequent in spring and summer. Sporadic observations in other months of the year.

Common name (English): Bryde’s Whale
Common name (Portuguese): Baleia-tropical ou Baleia-de-bryde
Traditional name in Madeira: Finbeque
Length Adult- 13m /Calf- 3,5m
Weight Adult- 18 000kgBaleia-tropical ou Baleia-de-bryde

Description:
Very similar to the Sei Whale.
It is distinguishable by its three longitudinal ridges on the top of the rostrum. The caudal peduncle arches when diving.

Ecology:
Found in especially productive areas. They are observed either alone or in pairs; they form groups of up to seven animals, although less frequently. Around highly productive feeding waters it is possible to see loose aggregations of up to thirty whales. They feed on small fish and sometimes small planktonic crustaceans (e.g., krill). Patterns of seasonal migration aren’t known, however they perform activities close to coastal areas. They may interact with the vessels.

Conservation Status (IUCN) – Global / Regional:
Data Deficient / Not evaluated.

Legal Protection Status:
Species legally protected under the Regional Decree no.6/86/M; Habitats Directive – Strict protection (appendix IV); CITES (appendix I); Bern Convention – Strictly Protected Fauna Species (appendix II).

Threats:
Accidental drownings in fishing gears and collisions in areas with high maritime traffic. Unknown in Madeira.

Distribution:
It occurs in tropical and warm temperate waters throughout the world, usually between 35 ° N and 35 ° south they can also be observed sporadically at higher latitudes. In the Northeast Atlantic can be sighted near the North-east African coast up to the Strait of Gibraltar.

Presence in the Region: Occasional
The first record of this species in Madeira Archipelago waters is recent and dates up to 2004. Feeding animals were observed and a calf was stranded, indicating that these waters are used for females to give birth.

Occurrence throughout the year: Undetermined
The species has been observed between June and October, implying a seasonal occurrence. However, with only one year of observation recordings (2004) no conclusion could be made.

Common name (English): Humpback Whale
Common name (Portuguese): Baleia-de-bossas, Jubarte ou Baleia-corcunda
Length Adults- 14m /Calf- 3,5m
Weight Adult- 30 000kg

Description:
It has series of knobby protuberances on the head and pectoral fins, clearly visible when the animal is at the surface.
It has very long pectoral fins, up to 1/3 of the total body length.
It has a dark bluish dorsal colour, and in the ventral surface it might be light or dark.
When it dives strongly arches the back and raises the fluke completely out of water.

Ecology:
Generally inhabits coastal waters, crossing deep waters during migration. They are usually observed in small groups. They are curious about boats and extremely active, frequently breaching. When in cold waters, they feed on crustaceans and small fish, the humpbacks fast during reproduction.

Conservation Status (IUCN) – Global / Regional:
Vulnerable / Not evaluated.

Legal Protection Status:
Species legally protected under the Regional Decree no.6/86/M; Habitats Directive – Strict protection (appendix IV); CITES (appendix I); Bern Convention – Strictly Protected Fauna Species (appendix II).

Threats:
Its population fell by an estimated 95% caused by hunting which officially ended in 1966. Accidental drownings in fishing gears. Unknown in Madeira.

Distribution:
Migratory species that occurs in all oceans. Spends the summer in feeding areas located at high latitudes, migrating in winter to reproduction areas located in shallow waters around islands, seamounts, along continental coasts and in tropical and subtropical regions. The waters around the islands of Cape Verde are known as the reproduction area for the North-east Atlantic humpbacks.

Presence in the Region: Rare
It uses the waters of the region possibly for migrating routes. Rarely observed in the waters of the Madeira archipelago. There are some observations and captures of animals in the 1950s and 60s Whaling Company of Madeira Archipelago (EBAM) and two sightings in the past two years.

Occurrence throughout the year: Undetermined
It might be sighted in the waters of the region during spring when migrating to higher latitudes and in the autumn months when migrating to lower latitudes.

Lucky Franki

OUR COMFORTABLE BOAT

Lucky Franki

Lucky Franki is our luxury, comfortable boat with toilet on board.  It offers space to 8-10 people. It has a nice deep walkaround. Once we arrive to a group of dolphins or whales we allow our guests to walk around in the boat for optimal contact with the animals. Lucky Frank is a very stable boat which we can us in all weatherconditions

OUR FAST BOAT WITH SUNROOF

Nautipos

Nautipos is our fast boat with large sunroof. In 2018 it has been supplied with a new 115 HP Suzuki outboard engine. It offers space to 12 people. It is a low boat and has a large free space in the front that allows perfect interaction with the animals. Because of its speed, we have a wide range we can search for dolphins and whales.

OUR TRADITIONAL TOURINGBOAT

Milan

Milan is our traditional semi-fast touringboat. In 2018 it got a complete renovation with a new powerfull inboard diesel engine as well as new painting. This boat is ideal for larger groups or families with small children. It has a large sunroof and spacious seatings. It offers space for maximal 14 people.

Online Tickets

You can book your tickets online or make a reservation by phone or email.   Phone: +351 914 844 825   Email: office@calheta.eu

CHOOSE ONE OF OUR 3 BOATS

Our Prices

Boat Lucky Franki

5500Adult
  • Luxurious Boat with toilet
  • 2 x 300 HP Suzuki outboard engines
  • Maximum 8-10 people
  • Safe comfortable boat in all weatherconditions
  • Adult € 55 / Child 0-15y € 27,50

Boat Nautipos

4500Adult
  • Fast boat with large sunroof
  • 115 HP Suzuki outboard engines
  • Maximum 10-12 people
  • Low boat for optimal contact with the dolphins
  • Adult € 45,00 / Child 3-15y € 22,50 / Child < 3y free

Boat Milan

3900Adult
  • Nostalgic touringboat with large sunroof
  • Inboard engine
  • Maximum 14 people
  • Adult € 39,00 / Child 3-15y € 19,50 / Child < 3y free

ONLINE RESERVATION

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- Tours can be briefly canceled or rescheduled in case of bad weather or lack of participants
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- A free drink is offered at Restaurant New Era afterwards
- We give no guarantee, but discount on a 2nd tour
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