Our voyage starts in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. Known for their crystal-clear waters, typically about 20ºC, the surrounding dive sites offer great biodiversity, and a sea bed abundant with caves, niches and reefs.
Divers are then invited to play their part as crew to hoist the sails of the Santa Maria Manuela as we sail the 100 miles north to the Ilhas Selvagens, home to National Geographic's 2017 expedition.
We then dive the rugged, inhospitable Ilhas Selvagens, located nearly midway between Madeira and the Canary Islands in the North Atlantic, Portugal's southernmost territory.
In recognition of their importance as a nesting point for numerous bird species, the Selvagens are part of the country's Madeira Nature Park. Offshore, shipwrecks litter the marine landscape which create a rich environment for sea life.
The more tranquil waters of Porto Santo await 160 miles further north for the final of our dive days. The golden island offers ideal diving conditions with most dive sites best accessed by boat. Butterfly rays, barracuda, grouper and sea bass abound on the island's 23 dive sites and around the Madeirense ship wreck.
We then raise anchor for the 40 mile crossing south to the city of Funchal and the end of our voyage.
"Whilst our captain and crew will always use their best efforts to keep to the schedule, you safety is their primary concern and all itineraries are subject to weather and sea-state conditions"
Christened in 1937, and after many decades as a Portuguese cod fishing vessel in Newfoundland the renovated Santa Maria Manuela today is amongst the more comfortable tall ships on the water. All are welcomed aboard as members of the sailing crew and given every opportunity get personally involved in the sailing of the ship. No previous sailing experience is required to enjoy a voyage aboard the Santa Maria Manuela, just a spirit of adventure.
The ship follows a varied schedule including sail training programs, tall ships races, adventure sailing holidays, diving expeditions golf tours and island and coastline hops with the opportunity to enjoy the local food and culture. We also offer team development programs in partnership with a professional corporate training company.
The ship's facilities include kayaks, stand up paddle boards, fishing equipment and two 14 man power boats, adding to the fun at anchor. Cabins are basic but comfortable, each with a private ensuite shower and toilet. Wifi is available through the ships satellite system.
The Salon Terra Nova seats 42 for meals with bench sofas also offering enough comfort to relax or to be used for company meetings. Bars on deck and below help to create a relaxed atmosphere.
Food is a key part of the Santa Maria Manuela experience, with the ship's cook providing a variety of traditional Portuguese cuisine and other international dishes.
The ship is available for individual or group holidays, whole vessel charter, business meetings, events and product launches, and as a location for films.