In Madeira 32:44.46N 16:42.71W
Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Sat 1 Nov 2008 14:31
The daily ferry from Madeira to Porto Santo was running a little late. We were able to slip and leave the harbour before it entered to execute its 3 point turn reversing adeptly onto the quay. Once in the bay we hoisted a heavily reefed main and bore away with full genoa. Watching the lovely island fade into the distance we lost the lee and once again felt the wrath of the Atlantic. Another catamaran (bigger!) that left a few hours afterwards overhauled us at the north eastern end of Madeira just as we were passing over an under water bank that steeply shelved from thousands of feet to only a few hundred. The waves were particularly evil. At times we could only see their rig as they disappeared into the troughs. As if that wasn't enough back in the lee of the peninsular we were headed by some fierce katabatic winds!
The efficient staff at Porto Santo had already booked us into the new marina at Quinta do Lorde near Canical. The marina RIB came out to greet us and lead us to our berth - apparently that corner is renowned for giving yachts a roller coaster ride. Quinta do Lorde is going to be a very nice resort when it is finished! The marina, the tower and buildings round the quay must have been phase one - phase two is currently one massive building site with no fewer than ten large "T" cranes spoiling the view of the Nature Park in which it is situated. Being a bit exclusive, out of the way and unfinished means there is not much available on site. The shops mentioned in the brochure are empty, the one open restaurant does bake fresh bread for the yachties and the marina runs a mini bus to the nearest supermarket twice a day.
Having taken the only weather window available for the next week or so to get across it was reassuring to be tied to a pontoon albeit with the gale force winds blasting in from behind. The staff assured us that the prevailings could come from either direction which they have done accompanied by lashings of rain. We've come here to see the island so armed with waterproofs we climbed the hill through the building site to catch the bus to Funchal. It stayed dry for the hour and half winding through all the villages and towns en route including a stop at the airport. Sadly our memory of Funchal will be a very wet one, wave after wave of heavy rain clouds swept down the green slopes. We had been told that the marina in Funchal itself is always full. Sure enough it was with the overspill (mainly catamarans) anchored outside in the howling winds. As we seemed to be spending all our time running for shelter we decided to abort our visit! The bus we caught in had gone up the road past the marina into the Nature Park, turned round and come back for those of us waiting at the bus stop. Hoping to see a bit of the Park we stayed on this one not knowing he wasn't coming back for an hour. Sometime later two very wet & bedraggled people entered the marina office to book a hire car for the day when the weather improves - having sailed all this way we will see what Madeira has to offer!