Whaling around ABOVE water

Trip Start Apr 02, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Portugal  , Madeira Islands,
Monday, March 30, 2009

Our fourth and final day in Madeira was to be short, as we had to be at the airport by 4pm, but that didn't stop us using every minute available to us and making it pretty special at that. We walked down to Madeira's main harbour at 10am, to meet other people also expecting to take a catamaran out to sea, an excursion that Patricia had kindly organised for us.

We stood at the end of the dock as our catamaran approached, and Ed and I (in contrast to the slightly older other passengers) jumped straight onto the net part, bouncing around gaily with the sea passing beneath us as we set sail. It wasn't long, perhaps two miles off shore, before we spotted a pod of dolphins which the ship's crew chased, our crowd wooing as their fins sliced the wavy's sea's surface. I have only seen dolphins in the wild once before, and the experience was just as exhilarating this time as the last. We saw perhaps four or five jump before they wisely avoided us and continued their daily migration.

Half an hour later, the catamaran's crew spotted a whale in the distance, which eluded my eyesight, though not my camera's :). The whale's tail surfaced as we approached, almost catching up with him, before he sank into the depths in reticence or indifference.

The crew erected the catamaran's full sails for the remainder of our 3 hours aboard, and though we didn't see anything more, it was pleasant cruising the calm waters and basking in the sun. We passed Madeira's cliffy coastline on our return to admire its visible and coloured layers of volcanic rock and Cabo Girão's height from below, before disembarking and meeting Wally, stopping by a park blooming with exotic and bright coloured flowers before returning to the house. Our catamaran was with the company Sea the Best - not as popular / high-profile as Sea Pleasure but as far as I can tell, no different, and thoroughly worth the 20 euros we paid (10 off the usual price!).

A quick bite to eat and some manic packing later, Patricia returned home and both she and Wally accompanied us to the airport - not only to wave us goodbye (which they did even as we took off) but to collect their next set of guests! Madeira is a gorgeous, lush and colourful island, that is slow-paced, luxurious and thoroughly relaxing. Going back we will be - thanks Patricia and Wally!!!!
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