Mike and Liz Downing
Sun 26 Oct 2008 22:52
We're now in Madeira - the marina at Quinta do Lorde on the south east corner of the Island. It's a new marina and quite strange. The setting is quite stunning being directly under the very high vertical cliff of an extinct volcano. It's the first stage of a new holiday village and the buildings on the water front are all in pastel shades. Behind these the building is going on at a pace up the valley, 6 days a week, with a lot of resultant dust on the boats and 11 tower cranes are all working at once. We have to go through the building site to catch the bus, but the marina has beautifully clear water - we can easily see the bottom in 20ft of water. Last time we anchored in Funchal harbour, but we've been told that you can only anchor outside the harbour and you are charged for the privilege! The marina at Funchal is not very good - if you can get in you're rafted up several deep. So we decided to try here and apart from the building site, oh and the fact that it's on the flight path of the only airport on the island, it's not too bad! There are no all-weather anchorages around the island and as we are still trying to complete work on the boat, we would prefer to be settled.

We sailed from Lagos to Porto Santo - 501 miles in just under 4 days. Apart from the first half day we sailed most of it, but with the wind in the west it wasn't the most direct route and not the fastest passage. I find it very satisfying finding Porto Santo - such a small speck out in the Atlantic. I know it's not difficult with GPS, but you feel it would be quite easy to miss and thus feel a sense of achievement when you see it on the horizon. We stayed there just a couple of days - looking around the island, walking on the 3.5 mile sandy beach and updating our picture on the harbour wall (the one from 13 years ago was still there) before sailing on to Madeira to miss the strong winds predicted for the following 4 days. We arrived here on Tuesday evening and it's been blowing hard, with some rain, ever since. The next few days are supposed to be better and we hope to get out and do some walking - not that we have any suitable footwear for the mountain terrain. The island scenery is stunning and you could spend weeks walking here. Unfortunately we need to be on our way south again in a week or so.

With the clear water here I used the scuba gear to give the boat a good clean. I gave it a quick once over in Lagos using wetsuit and snorkel, but it was a bit like swimming in pea soup and I could barely see the bow truster propeller let alone the bow thruster anode that I was actually looking for to check. The boat is a lot more organised now and the only big job still on our never ending list is to service the winches. Better that we do that here than in the chaos of Las Palmas.

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