Whale Museum is situated in the small fishing village
of Caniçal, on the East Coast of Madeira island.
The museum looks back at the whaling activities that
formed a central part of many fishermen's lives for
many decades. Whaling has been prohibited in Madeiran
waters since 1982. Instead, those sailors who once
harpooned whales for a living are now working hard
to help preserve these gentle giants of the ocean.
In an effort to promote this ecological issue many
fishermen surrendered their hunting instruments to
the museum. Some have even created crafts and pieces
of artwork from parts of old whale bones or teeth.
display there are many photographs, depicting many
of the processes involved in the trapping of whales
by Madeiran fishermen along the coast. The visual
exhibit ranges in pictures of the preparation of boats,
whale spotting on the high sea, hunting methods, and
images of festivities after a successful hunt. There
are other pictures showing the processing and transport
of processed whale material, including oil extraction
and meat preparation.
major attraction of the museum is the model of a life-size
whale on display. Alongside the replica of the whale
is a small fishing boat, similar to those used when
fishermen went whale hunting. Visitors
are able to compare the sizes and dimensions of the
boat and whale to each other - and in so doing can
appreciate how difficult and dangerous this now banned
activity was for the local residents of Caniçal.
the impressive models on display, there are small
collectibles and items for sale at a small stand in
the museum: models of fishing boats, various whale
bone handicrafts, and so on.