Whale Watching in Madeira
Whale Watching is not just unforgettable…it´s watching the future of mankind!
Text ASTRID HAAS & PAUL ABBIATI
Observing Whales and Dolphins in the wild is an exciting activity with
unforgettable moments and once in a lifetime experiences!
So, it´s no wonder that whale watching has become popular worldwide.
By observing these fascinating animals, people learn about their biology and behaviour. Indeed, the experiences encourage whale watchers to become ´ambassadors´and to get involved more in the protection of marine mammals and the ocean in general.
For some years now, Madeira has become a popular location for Whale Watching in Western Europe. This is not surprising, since the waters around the island offer an ideal habitat for Sperm Whales and other marine mammals. ´The European Hawaii‘, the volcanic archipelago of Madeira rises from depths of more than 5000 metres in the Atlantic Ocean.
And close to shore the Madeiran Islands slope down to 3000 metres. And it is here that Sperm whales find their favourite prey, Giant Squid and other tasty food! The waters around Madeira are rich in species…`an oasis in the high seas of the Atlantic Ocean.´
Upswelling currents carry nutrients from the depths to the surface and help to start the marine foodchain benefitting not only many Species of Whales and Dolphins but, other big fish too such as tunas and sharks.
Commercial Whale Watching licensed by the Portuguese authorities started in Calheta region, the largest ´concelho´ region of Madeira with the most forest in Madeira on the sunniest, warmest south west coast.
The mountain chain on the south west acts as a barrier against the dominant trade winds providing good conditions on many days of the year to observe Marine Mammals off the Calheta coast.
From the south west Calheta coast Whale Watching can be continued both further south west and south east.
Some commercial professional Whale Watching providers have offered these services for many years with marine biologists guiding clients leading presentations and answering questions. Some providers do not. Naturally, with the popularity of Nature Tourism the number of providers has grown and quality of services varies. So, feedback and reviews easy to find and plentiful on the internet nowadays measure the quality of these services including education and sustainability.
The best professional Whale Watching providers follow International Whale Watching Viewing Guidelines including acting respectfully towards the animals being observed. To gently and smoothly approach the animals professional, experienced boat crews are critical.
Its no surprise that the best Whale Watching guides are biologists and guides with experience of working on the oceans in harmony with the marine biodiversity. On board the boats, the best crews ensure amongst other things that clients are provided with information about the animals and more importantly that the Whale Watching Viewing Guidelines are complied with.
The best Whale Watching businesses share their data with both Government and Private scientists globally in the best interests of conservation of the marine biodiversity. Any Whale Watching business guaranteeing sightings suggests that they may be more interested in short term business marketing strategy and commercial gain than long term conservation of marine biodiversity!
The oceans cover more than three quarters of Planet Earth. They are without a doubt, one of the most exciting and thrilling ecosystems with so many species that mankind has not and will never identify and record all of them! There is evidence that almost all the species on the land of this planet originated from the ocean and with the world´s human population spiralling out of control the oceans are the final source of sufficient food for mankind. So, the oceans are important as the air that we breathe and they deserve all our respect and protection.