The Desertas Islands are a group of three islands that since 1990 have been included in the Madeira Natural Park protected areas.
From the local and global standpoint the biodiversity of these islands is incalculable. The ex-libris of these islands is the colony of Monk Seals Monachus monachus that were in danger to of extinction but nowadays have a safe and stable population.
These islands are home for many seabird colonies extremely important in the Macaronesian region and in the world. Outstanding among these are the world only colony of Desertas Petrel Pterodroma deserta with approximately 150 breeding pairs and the largest colony in the Atlantic of Bulwer´s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii. Other species with significant populations include Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro, Cory’s Shearwater Calonectris diomedea and Macaronesian Shearwater Puffinus baroli.
The vascular flora is composed of around 200 species, of which 15% are endemic to the archipelago of Madeira and a further 10% endemic to the Macaronesian region. There are also two species exclusive to Desertas – Sinapidendron sempervivifolium and Musschia isambertoi the latter having been discovered only a few years ago.
During the trip to Desertas Islands you will have the opportunity to observe some of the seabirds nesting in the islands and the cetaceans occurring in our seas, such as Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis, Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncates, Pilot Whale Globicephala macrorhynchus but there is always the chance to get other species.
When we arrive to Desertas the lunch will be served onboard and after a very nice meal we will visit the island for about 1 hour. Here you will have the opportunity to have some explanations of the conservation work made by the Natural Park of Madeira in the last years. Sometimes is possible to see some Bulwer’s petrel and Cory’s on the nest. During the visit to Desertas is always good to have our eyes on the sea around these islands. There is always a chance to see a Monk seal, but very remote because they a very shy specie.You will have the opportunity to swim in the clear of waters Desertas islands and make snorkeling if you wish. In the back journey to Funchal there is always the chance to observe new species of birds and sea mammals.