Around Porto Santo
We have been in Porto Santo a couple of days now - the picture above shows about half of the island! - it's only about 5 miles long with just over 4000 residents,
the harbour that we are staying in is at the far end of the main island on this picture. At first when we arrived I thought that the island looked quite bleak - it is very dry with not much rain - strangely Madeira is very green with lots of rain and only 20 miles away! However - now we have been here a couple of days we both think it's great. The entire south side of the island is a long sandy beach with the little old town set in the centre. The beach is clean with golden sand and few people and the town is very clean,pretty and quiet.
In the harbour pretty much all of the sailing boats are people travelling south like us - either just to the canaries or over to the carribean, there seems to be much more cameraderie here than on the mainland ports and we have met some interesting folk. The variety of boats is amazing - I would say we are classed as 'mid range' - but we have seen a dutch couple here with a huge 52 foot yacht with washing machines and all sorts on board. . and a watermaker that creates 150 ltr per hour of fresh water from sea water (ours does 5 ltrs per hour!). At the slightly more compact end of the scale we have met Jim who is going to Barbados on a 34-ish foot boat and is going to do the atlantic solo - we first met him in Nazare where he ended up with his boat rafted against ours - we knew he was coming to porto santo and it only took us about 10 mins to locate him in amongst the boats here - he's a really good bloke and is sailing a boat that his Dad built years ago to cross the atlantic, then sold - he found it again for sale a year or so ago.
Along with Jim are two other solo Sailors who all came across here from Portugal a couple of days before us, a french guy called Jad gets our vote for the bravest - he is here in a boat that must be around 25 or 26 foot with a little outboard engine, we him first up in Baiona but haven't spoken to him before yesterday - his boat is hand painted to look like a fish so you can't miss it. He did say to us that he hadn't intended to come down here but had got carried along with the other two.
Did I say that the water here was blue? - I think I did maybe one or two times as the picture below proves, kids jumping off the steps at the end of the town pier - looks more like a swimming pool. Now even we consider the water warm enough to actually get in it.
Today it has been really windy here with the wind from the south west so blowing straight onto the beach - I had a look on the weather text information though and I don't think that we have anything like what it is forecast to be in the UK over the next few days - gales everywere! A windy day here gave a good excuse to get the kite out and be dragged around on the beach by it - it's good exercise anyway. Think we'll be here for the week though looking at the weather - which isn't a bad thing! - glad we came across from Portugal when we did though.
These huge butterflies are all over the town and have been the only animals so far slow enough for me to take a picture of - there are lizards too but they are too quick, apart from sea birds that is about it for wildlife I think - but we are going to go diving when the wind calms down in the bay just round from the harbour - Adam is playing with his very noisy dive compressor as I write this! (good job they stuck us in the far corner of the harbour away from everyone else)
This is the highest hill on the island - not that high I think about 500 metres - and it is one of the only completely green hills - the rest seem to mainly have cacti. Apparently it is easy to walk up so we will have to do that before we go (excuse the telegraph wires on the photo)