Rorqual is our flagship. We choose a speedboat, because we rarely find dolphins closer than 20 km from the port.. the whales usually are 30km away! And we don’t want to keep our guests waiting too long, after all you didn’t came to Lisbon just for a boat ride. A speed boat isn’t the most comfortable ride, but you get to the dolphins quick and bring you in time for lunch. But most important, she gets the job done and enables us to find the dolphins 97% of the tours.
- Brand & Model: Highfield PA760
- Length: 7.6m
- Width: 2.8m
- Max persons: 16 (can become open deck on request)
- Nº of seats: 10 for adult +2 for small children
- Built material: Welded Aluminium
- Engine Power: 200hp
The boat is built to host 16 people, but we only sale 10 adult seats, plus 2 small children seats in between the parents (high season 2024 we’re planning going to 12 seats). There is no middle row for adults, the 2 row configuration enables everyone to see the dolphins. This is the only dolphin watching boat in Lisbon with 8 individual and detached seats (except for high season), legs can move around them, no need to hop the legs over the seat. There is dry storage for your bags under each seat. We also have a double seat on the back with extra leg space and it sits lower to the ground.
We drive responsively through out the tour, keeping manoeuvrability to a minimum, staying as predictable as possible to the dolphins. Having the dolphins comfortable with the boat means that they will swim close to the boat. Francisco has a graduation in animal behaviour and will recognise the dolphins’ behaviour and will make sure that dolphins’ interests are respected.
The boat’s build is one of the best in the market, the hull was designed for open ocean and is made of recyclable aluminium metal, making her stronger and lighter, which reflects in lower carbon emissions. Being partially inflatable is a great advantage, as it saves even more weight, while adding stability (yes, the boat floats deflated). Having 7 separate chambers make her very hard to sink.
Rorqual is equipped with an Honda outboard engine, famous for their overall low noise emission. Additionally, as the engine is located outside the hull (unlike inboard engines), most of the noise is transmitted to the air and not to the ocean environment. We use a special propeller that enables us to run at low RPM, thus contributing for the reduction of ocean noise. The propeller is made of soft materials so that breaks when hits large marine life, such dolphins or sharks and to avoid collisions we have the propeller sheltered to protect the marine life from it. (we also carry a replacement prop.)
We are constantly researching on ways and gadgets to improve our fuel efficiency and choose fuels with higher performance and higher proportions of biofuel to keep our emissions to the lowest. When we started, Rorqual was in a fierce competition for the lowest emission dolphin watching boat in Lisbon (the other one is really small and light). In 2024, she releasing 70% of the emissions from 2023, for sure she owns the title now! Still, there is a long way ahead, as our goal is to be carbon negative!
NOTE: You might seen on reviews and old publications the sailing trimaran Megaptera, she isn’t operating anymore.
During the pandemic she showed to be too difficult to keep and had to sail away.
She also failed to find the dolphins in 20% of the tours. With Rorqual the rate went down to 3%.
But the goal stays the same, we want to have a sustainable boat like Megaptera again, we’ll start with Rorqual for now and see where we’ll go!
For the special cases and upon request, we also use large boats that have toilets, shelter and even a bar! The smaller ones, taking 8-10 passengers, are sailboats, ideal for private tours. The larger ones, which carry 50 passengers, are ideal for those who prefer or need a small piece of land floating in the ocean.
These boats are designed to deliver comfort and they are not ideal for finding for dolphins, as they are slow and cover less distance. However they may be the only option for some guests, such as:
- Large groups that don’t want to split in small different boats
- Guests with babies, as they need shelter from the sun and the elements
- Guests with back problems
- Guests that can’t stay 3h away from a toilet
- Guests that value comfort over proximity to the dolphins
- When a boat tour is more important than seeing dolphins
These boats usually don’t depart from Lisbon port, you will need to arrange transportation.s