Captain Carlos, the Ocean’s Protector

A life dedicated to the sea and contributing to its sustainability

He says that seawater runs in his veins and we truly believe so, given all his dedication and commitment to the sea. Carlos Silva has been a Captain at VMT Madeira since the arrival of our first boat to Funchal – Sea Pleasure! However, his connection to the ocean has started at a young age and has since evolved, like an addiction.

Carlos, 41, tells us that he has been fascinated about everything is ocean-related since the age of 13. Former canoeing athlete and coach, passionate scuba diver and surfer and trained Marine vertebrate observer, anything makes a good excuse to be at sea.

Without surprise after being a lifeguard when in his teen years, Carlos chooses tourist boat operation as a career, here in Madeira. Starting as a deckhand in 2000, we were fortunate enough to have him joining VMT Madeira in 2004 where he had the chance to improve his skill as a photographer and later to start his duties as Captain in our boats.

Truth is when you make your living from the sea “a strong sense of protection and preservation towards the ocean arises”. That is the main reason why all of Carlos’ projects are connected with the ocean. From that need of protection and preservation of the ocean, Carlos created The Captain’s Report, inspired by an NPO linked to marine lifeSea Shepherd.

This was a daily report that combined photographs, observed animals and a few tips and experiences lived by VMT Madeira crew under Carlos’ perspective.

It is a hard and long work but it has preserved the memories of many heart-touching stories at sea. Carlos tells us about heartwarming stories of sea turtles rescues that have touched not only himself but also all those on board, which made the highlights in the newspapers such as an this article in Diário de Notícias da Madeira, back in 2014.

We, at VMT Madeira, work in close cooperation with Marine Biological Station in Funchal and with Prof. Dr. Thomas Dellinger helping turtles in danger at sea.

Carlos tells us “my first reaction is to help” and for that reason, he has launched in 2019 another Project called Ocean Love Arts from which 30% of the profits from the sale of handicraft made from Sperm Whales bones are donated to institutions operating in the protection of marine animals.

The bones from a Sperm Whale found dead in Porto Santo in 2011, together with other materials found and recovered from the sea ( such as plastic and Bamboos ) gain a new life in the form of bracelets, necklaces and earrings:” from the plastic that we take from the sea I make beads for the necklaces. The most important is to give a new life to what was once garbage and harms the sea animals”, says Captain Carlos.

To Carlos is important to give a new meaning to an animal that has lost its life and also to reuse materials to save the ocean and its creatures. “I was able to donate some money to Funchal Biological Marine Station [ through Ocean Love Arts] to help with fundraising to care for 2 sea turtles “. Afterwards, “ I had the opportunity to swim with one of them upon release  (…) it was magical,” he tells us emotionally.

“He’s so interested in marine life conservation for being connected to his job, that he offered straight away to participate,” commented Filipa Duarte, biologist of the Turtles Recuperation Project research group.

Nowadays, VMT Madeira has as its main goals, trash recovery from the ocean, environmental awareness and sustainability and eco-sustainable education (Eco-Discipline Project)– projects in which Carlos took part of.

The crew as learned from skipper Carlos to pick up the garbage in the ocean when cruising by, to care and preserve and to educate the clients on board “if we have clients, it is because of the animals, so we have to give something back to the ocean.”

This feeling and motivation makes all the difference, not only for being detrimental but also as a team-building tool. “My knowledge of team work started with this company (…). Carlos encourages all the team to pick up the floating garbage and motivates all the crew with the urgency to save the oceans” says Cátia Raquel, deckhand at VMT Madeira.

To our protector of the ocean, a big round of applause and may continue his work at sea and in VMT Madeira family create a more significant impact.