Group enjoying the Belize Boat Party Group enjoying the Belize Boat Party Group enjoying the Belize Boat Party

A Day in the Blue from Ferragudo

Watch here the video for this trip:

Trip Summary:

Best thing about this trip: Video of the trip with underwater footage

Departure Point: Ferragudo Marina

Duration: 7 hours

Route: From the Arade river towards Portimão’s underwater valley around 12 miles offshore

Snacks and drinks included: Yes

Visits inside caves: No

Visits Benagil (including going inside the cave): No

Swim stop: Yes

Boat Summary:

Best thing about this boat: Oceanus is a fast sailing catamaran and moments of adrenalin and joy are guaranteed!

Type: 44ft Sailing Catamaran “Oceanus”

Motor or Sailing: Motor and sailing

Maximum Capacity: 12 people.

Bar: Yes

Toilet: Yes

Marine Biologist onboard: Yes

Indoor space: Yes

Outdoor shade: Yes.

The beautiful Sailing Catamaran set sails from Arade river towards Portimão’s underwater valley around 12 miles offshore, a known wildlife place. You will have a wildlife and environmental awareness briefing given by an marine biologist.

One we are at the valley you will probably find common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, minke whales, turtles, sharks and a variety of marine birds.

Depending on the weather and sea conditions you can experience a swim in the deep blue offshore waters and the quietness of the big blue ocean. Snorkelling gear will be available on board.

  • 7 hours trip
  • Vessel: 44ft Sailing Catamaran “Oceanus”
  • Max, 12 guests on board
  • Video of the trip with underwater footage
  • Marine Biologist onboard
  • Safety and Environmental Briefing
  • Lunch, snacks and non-alcoholic drinks included.
  • Upon reservation choose your meal:-Chicken Salad-Tuna Salad– Vegetarian Salad
  • Bathing suit and towel
  • Bring a coat. Although the Algarve weather is very pleasant, the sea breeze is always cool.



Trip report by Algarve Fun’s writer Sara Fernández. Sara is a marine biologist and sea-lover that has been living in the Algarve and spent a long time working on dolphin watching boats. Continuously amazed by these magnificent creatures, she strongly believes that tourism is a powerful tool towards conservation. She loves sailing, diving and showing our visitors the spectacular marine life of the Algarve. 

I can state that “A day in the blue” was just an amazing day sailing through the open ocean. The trip takes 7 hours in total where you have time for everything!

Ferragudo & Arade River.

Let’s start from the beginning… the meeting point is in Ferragudo, at the harbour, where the front desk staff are waiting for us around 30 minutes before the boat departs. During that time, you can do the check in and ask all questions you have at the reception. Then, they accompany the group of passengers to the end of the pier where a small transfer boat takes us to the Oceanus, the 44ft catamaran that is waiting in the middle of the Arade River since, due to its draft, it cannot approach too close to Ferragudos pier. Once we reach the catamaran, the friendly crew welcomes us with big and sincere smiles. The crew is composed by Dani, marine biologist expert on cetaceans,  skipper and owner of Oceanus; and Vasco, a professional sailor, guide and tour videographer.

First of all, they make us feel comfortable as if we were at home. They show us the inside and outside of the boar and tell us where we can leave our belongings and where the toilets are.

Then, we set sail towards the south, coming out from the Arade River towards a very interesting area from an ecological point of view: the Portimão underwater canyon. The route will depend on the wind direction and strength and if we can we slightly deviate if Dani receives some good news about dolphins close by, through the radio.

people in a Sailing Catamaran in the Blue ocean
Oceanus catamaran.

Once we find ourselves in the Atlantic, Vasco and Dani give us a safety briefing followed by a short and enjoyable environmental awareness explanation about the area, oceanographic features and marine species that we might see on the way. We then have some time to relax, get on some sunscreen (if we haven’t done it yet!), put on a hat and drink lots of water because summer days can be very warm.

Oceanus is a very comfortable sailing catamaran for a maximum of 12 passengers, with some mats over a net at the front part of the boat. Most of the passengers are laying down on the mats getting some sun and feeling the sea breeze while we sail.

After a few minutes, the radio announces an interesting spot for dolphins so Dani and Vasco work on the sails to speed up in that direction. A few minutes after, we get to the pod of common dolphins! They tend to swim around the boat and underneath, so we can watch them while we are laying down on the nets.

4 people on a sailing boat watching the dolphins playing in the blue ocean
Sighting of Bottlenose dolphins.

The most common species are the bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) and the common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). Both species are resident in the area, although there are some common dolphins that live in the north Atlantic and decide to visit the south of Portugal in the summer. They choose warmer waters for reproduction during this time of the year.

The guides on board explain that every day is different in terms of species, location where they might be, behavior, etc. But you can actually see them very often being active and sociable, with some chances of mating behavior, playing and high possibilities of finding newborns and calves within a pod, always swimming by their mothers side. Vasco gets some really good underwater footage of these fantastic animals, as well as a video of the trip that will be sent to us to have a good souvenir of this adventure!

common dolphin
Common dolphin.

Heading to the Portimão Canyon, an underwater rift valley located 12 miles off south shore , we spot some trawlers. This area is very rich in marine life , due to the oceanographic features found on the seafloor (it has a very sharp slope starting at 100 m deep going down to 2000m deep), an upwelling phenomenon takes place. When upwelling occurs, deep cold waters rich in nutrients come up to the surface replacing the warm waters that lack nutrients. Thanks to this process, more plankton grows and so more fish come, becoming a hotspot for top predators like dolphins, whales, sharks or seabirds that go there to feed. Therefore, it is not a coincidence that trawlers frequent this area. And not by chance, we spot a family of bottlenose dolphins nearby, probably trying to catch some fish from the nets.

oceanus catamaran with dolphins
Dolphin watching on board Oceanus.

This moment is particularly interesting, we get to understand the relationship between humans and dolphins, the importance of this area for the food chain and we get to know a bit more about the fishing industry and its impact over the dolphins populations. Dani has grown up in the Algarve and belongs to a family strongly linked to the sea world, so his knowledge is huge.

After this amazing sighting, we make a stop  for a swim. The high temperatures push us to jump into the water to cool down. It’s so nice to feel the big blue offshore waters, far from reality… it invites us to relax on the water surface trying not to think of anything else.

At midday it’s time for lunch! Vasco gives us our lunch, a healthy and tasty salad we were offered when booking the trip. We had 3 choices: tuna, chicken or veggie salad. Each of us choose our favourite. They give us a drink (soft drink, water). Of course, they have some snacks available during the whole trip, let’s not forget that the sea makes everyone hungry! We get together to have lunch and we chat and share some jokes and stories before we have some time to sunbathe. For the ones that have had their sun session, they can enjoy some drinks under the cover at the back. Some others prefer to take a nap on the mats.

catamaran crew
Oceanus crew observing the dolphins.

We then start heading back north. This route also varies with wind and sea conditions but usually the two options are going northeast or going northwest. We approach the coast to enjoy the spectacular views of the cliffs. In this case, we went east, towards Albufeira, and then the catamaran continued all along the coast to Portimão. On the way, we could see the spectacular rock formations and the gorgeous beaches that define the Algarve.

At some point, we make another stop for a swim in a sheltered bay. It’s so different than being in the big blue! On this stretch of the itinerary we realize just how clear the water is and you can see the bottom! Some spots are ideal for snorkeling and, of course, Oceanus has snorkel gear available for those that want to explore the underwater world. We pass by several caves and have the opportunity of taking spectacular pictures of this landscape before entering the Arade River back in Ferragudo. After a 7 hours journey, it’s time to get our belongings back and thank Dani and Vasco for the fantastic day they provided. We say goodbye and we jump on the transfer-boat that will take us back to land, safe and sound. Another unique and unforgettable day in the Algarve that sadly ends!

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