Whale and dolphin sightings! Interesting day at sea...More photos tomorrow...



Claudio Martins, on board professional photographer, was kind enough to send me some of his photos from our outing.  Although I attempted to get good shots, standing on seats, hanging onto poles for balance in the choppy waters,  I couldn't seem to land many decent shots, as did Claudio.
Yesterday, we headed to the marina in Funchal, the capital city of Madeira.  Arriving in plenty of time, we picked up our tickets at the Madeira Seekers window and waited with the other participants at the pier to be directed to the location of the huge catamaran.

We were grateful that only 54 of the possible 98 passengers were on board.  As it was, it was crowded making it difficult to take photos and see over the heads of the equally anxious tourists with cameras in hand. We were reminded of how much we prefer not to engage in crowded sightseeing activities.

More Spotted Dolphins as one leaps through the air.  It was a cloudy day.
The rocking of the boat in the choppy waters and the manner in which whales and dolphins make only seconds-long appearances, it was nearly impossible for me to get any good shots. 

With my bad shoulder I was unable to hold the camera long enough to maintain the necessary waiting position for the marine life to breach the water.  But "safari luck" was on our side once again and we were able to see both whales and dolphins.  More photos will follow tomorrow.

A pod (or school) of Spotted Dolphins.
I became quickly frustrated fearing we'd end the tour without a single photo to share here today.  As we passengers were graciously introduced to the staff on the well run and safety-first operation, I'd paid special attention to the onboard professional photographer, Claudio Martin, as to how he was getting his photos.

Standing high above the passengers at the raised helm Claudio had a better advantage than I did standing on the interior deck.  (We'd decided not to sit on the net of the catamaran since it would make it difficult t stand to take photos).
It was impossible for me to take this quality of photo with my camera, my lack of skill and from my poor vantage point.  Claudio, a professional photographer had no trouble capturing these.
After the first hour passed with several sightings, I asked Claudio if I could speak to him.  Showing him our business card, I explained that we would be posting online and could he kindly help us out by sending some of his photos from the outing.  He happily complied.  I couldn't have been more thrilled.

Not only was the operation well run and professional but, we'd be able to share what our eyes beheld in wonder albeit my camera failed to capture.  Thank you Claudio!  We are grateful!

A Spotted Dolphin.  All of these wildlife photos shown today were taken by Claudio Martin while we were on the catamaran yesterday.
Having been on safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya last October, writing and sharing photos of our adventures over many days and living in Marloth Park, South Africa where the animals roamed free around our house where we lived for three months, our expectations of sightings were high.

However, we learned yesterday that being out to sea provides little opportunity for extended gawking and fawning over nature's wonders.  They breached the surface in seconds, not minutes. 
My photo of all of the fishing boats in the village of Camara de Lobos.
 I'm sure, as we've seen from many videos, there are periods of time when whales and dolphins make several more lengthy appearances with lucky and skilled photographers at-the-ready to capture the moments.  Not so the case yesterday.

In any case, we had a good time, especially as the boat maneuvered along the shore of the island which we'd seen 14 months ago from our ship when it docked here for the better part of a day.  But now, seeing the island from the ocean after living here for the past two months, gave us an entirely different perspective.

I took this photo when the captain explained that this spot, Cabo Girao, is the highest cliff elevation from sea level straight up to the top of the cliff which was 580 meters, 1775 feet. 
Had we not been able to see any whales or dolphins, we still would've enjoyed the ride and the views of the massive rocky cliffs of Madeira. 

After the tour ended, we walked back to the parking ramp in downtown Funchal, checking out the digital equipment store thinking maybe now would be a good time to buy a new camera.  With VAT (value added tax) at 22% plus other taxes,  an additional 48% in total would be added to the already high prices.  We passed.  We'll have to figure out another plan.
When the sun peeked out for a few minutes, I was able to capture the bright blue water as we sailed past this huge cave along the shoreline.
After the mall, we drove to the airport to return the blue car, switch companies and pick up yet another car for our remaining 15 days on the island.  We paid as much for the remaining days as we'd paid for each of the prior two full months, rates having increased due to the summer season.

We were home in time for dinner as I anxiously awaited the photos from Claudio.  Early this morning, much to my delight, the photos appeared in my inbox leaving me excited to share them here today.

We'll be back tomorrow with more of Claudio's photos marine life photos including whales we were lucky to see and a few more of my shots.  Stop back, if you will!
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Photo from one year ago today, July 16, 2014:

We drove down the church across from our 300 year old stone house to scope out the grounds when we spotted this old locked gate. For details from the date, please click here.

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