The future of whale and dolphin watching begins in the Canary Islands: the first silent and 100% electric catamaran in the European Union inaugurated in Lanzarote by the company WeWhale

After seven months of refurbishment of a 45-foot (almost 14 metres) catamaran manufactured by Astasfersa from 1984, a new era for “La Santa Maria” began on Monday, the 1st of May 2023, as the first 100% electric catamaran without emissions, creating low noise and water disturbance and leaving no oil or lubricants in the sea.

The boat is specially refurbished for whale and dolphin watching under the Spanish flag. 

The vessel has about 108 square meters of space and is equipped with a hydrophone and special cameras on board to offer an experience beyond a simple sighting tour with a focus on creating a deeper connection and understanding among humans and the animals found in the Canarian waters. 

Founder of WeWhale, Janek Andre, said: “We are more than happy to take the first step in creating an innovative concept for the future of whale and dolphin watching, without disturbing the animals, without polluting the ocean, and on personalised trips with a maximum of 12 people on board where customers truly learn about the animals. 

“Lanzarote with its concept of more sustainable and responsible tourism, as well as being a lucky island with several species of cetaceans throughout the year, seemed like an ideal place to launch our first boat in the Canary Islands.” 

At least 30 species of cetaceans in the Canary Islands 

At least 30 species of cetaceans in the Canary Islands make it one of the places in the world with the greatest diversity of cetaceans and the largest in Europe. With such an impressive variety of species, it is not surprising that whale and dolphin observation trips are a very popular activity in the Canary Islands. 

However, recent studies have highlighted the negative impact of the constant noise of boats on these majestic creatures.  

Gonzalo Apesteguía, Tour Lead and Skipper of La Santa Maria in Lanzarote, said: “At WeWhale, we are betting on a different concept – with silent engines, an on-board hydrophone, and a guide explaining biodiversity, the trip becomes a cetacean masterclass with the live experience at sea.” 

Tadeo Fittipaldi, who is responsible for the refurbishment of the boats within WeWhale, said, La Santa Maria is just the beginning – we are already researching more sites to continue implementing more sustainable boats and leading this change in an industry that still operates as it did 30 years ago.” 

Find out more about our Lanzarote whale and dolphin observation experiences.