Whale Watching Cruise - Past Sailings

The objective of this cruise is to provide a seafaring holiday aboard Spain's oldest sailing ship, to provide hands on experience with traditional navigation, and to discover first hand, the unlimited horizon of the Mediterean Sea and her most spectacular creatures: whales, dolphins, turtles, seabirds and other amazing marine wildlife.

Your participation will be essential as we invite you to become sailors of the "Rafael Verdera '' for your time aboard. We will share together as fellow seafarers and crew all that the Mediterean Sea offers us.

Our navigation and whale watching area is focused on the waters of the Northwestern Mediterranean, which includes the Gulf of Lion, Liguria, Corsica and the northern part of the Balearic Sea. The bathymetry of this area includes deep sea trenches with nutrient rich waters that, combined with our summer sunshine and other meteorological factors, such as the predominance of cold winds from the north and the contributions of the Rhone and other rivers, form a highly productive primary ecosystem of  phytoplankton and zooplankton. This rich summer food source attracts among others, the impressive Fin Whale, the largest whale of the Mediterranean and second only to the blue whale in size, the largest animal to have ever lived on our blue planet earth. We have also been privileged to see Sperm Whales, Pilot Whales, Grampus, Beaked Whales and Dolphins (striped, common and bottlenose) and other marvelous wildlife in this productive area.

Calm seas are the best when searching for and observing marine wildlife because we can distinguish sea surface disturbance from a greater distance using high quality binoculars. This helps us to recognize what is the possible cause of the disturbance:  a cetacean? or some other marine wildlife? Many keen eyes improve the chances of observing whales.

Our experience allows us to move in harmony and respect with marine wildlife and we find we are often welcomed into their mist, allowing us close and extensive contact with individuals and groups. This provides time to enrich the experience and be unhurried as we observe, and if we choose to photograph and video their behavior, and  deepen our connection with these wondrous creatures.

The shore port calls, are few and selective, along the coasts that grace this maritime zone. More often we choose the archipelago of the Hyères or the west coast of Corsica, based on their strategic position and beauty.

In any case, the choice of route and stopovers are at the skipper’s discretion and his navigation plan will depend on the progress of the voyage, weather conditions, fuel reserves, provisions, and other variables. The skipper is ultimately responsible for the ship and the success of the journey.

We will take advantage of favorable winds to set our sails, and while sailing can provide challenges, as the wind picks up it feels as if our boat has spread her wings to fly across the sea as we move between areas of wildlife observation. During traveling time we will share watches, ship maneuvers, relaxe, fish, and enjoy meals ... including the fresh fish we catch directly from the sea. You can try practicing a variety of deep sea and surface fishing methods to stock up and fill our plates and enjoy spectacular fresh seafood to complement other delicious mediterean specialties from the table.

There will be an through orientation for participants on your first day on board. We will review the ins and outs of operating the vessel with you, as well as your participation on the watches, kitchen duties, and also address any questions you may have. This will include a thorough safety orientation, including the placement and operation of safety equipment, lifejackets, inflatable rafts, radio equipment, etc.

This whale watching sailing cruise offers a unique and inclusive experience, and your participation, from working the rigging to providing keen eyes for whale watching, is a critical part of the successful and magical experience of the voyage.