Not being able to check out until 8am and then the lengthy task of getting the dinghy onboard and put away meant a departure before 9.30am was unlikely. We left just after our estimated time and as we rounded the rocky headland my thoughts were with my sister Julie whose birthday is today. Oh how she loves her rocks! The Desertas Islands were already visible and in no time at all Madeira was also clearly jutting up from the horizon. There was no wind to sail and it was very hot. The flat seas however made it so easy to spot the numerous turtles that drifted past us and we also had a visit from some large, dark dolphins which at first we thought were whales. With one yacht some way behind us at least we didn’t have to worry about clothes in the midday heat and Brindabella became a nudey boat.
Today’s vegetable lunch was tomato and basil salad with a little pot of soft, yoghurty cheese that I had to try because all the locals were buying one in the supermarket. The basil plant on board has eventually started to grow a few leaves which were lovely with the tomatoes. I’ve been very glad of the basil oil I made a few weeks ago in the absence of fresh: Dried herbs just aren’t the same. When mobile reception returned I rang Bob to see how my youngest got on in Turkey. Milder than normal temperatures were a relief for my redhead and a leap off a cliff paragliding somewhat exhilarating! My cheese lover salivated at my descriptions of local cheeses.
Madeira was growing into quite a sight with fantastic multicoloured cliffs, keen walkers stopping for a breather at the top now just about visible. I thought of Julie again. The runway further round the island looked most hairy jutting out on stilts into the sea. Our pilot book was written several years ago when the completely new marina village of Quinta do Lorde had just begun construction. The marina was open then but not much else. I was very surprised to see only the first row of buildings around the marina were finished and behind major construction work was still in progress. I wondered, bar walkers, who would want to come and stay in the enormous hotel as we are 32km from Funchal and several from the nearest town/village. At least I have my bike I thought before seeing the lack of coast road and the steep winding road going up and over the hills. Humm! We’ll see……
A call on VHF to the marina resulted in Pedro flying out of the marina at high speed in a rib to greet us and lead us in arms directing, where Carlos was waiting and waving on the pontoon ready to take lines and tie the boat up. Boy it’s going to be hard returning to England! The service and attitude of everyone are second to none. The marina sits under a stunning cliff in wonderful tones of orange, red, black and brown with clumps of vegetation desperately clinging onto eroding edges: I rang Julie. The birthday was going great with a balloon flight to look forward to later and an evening listening to my nephew Mitch playing in his heavy metal band at a gig tonight.
Although later in the afternoon by the time we had sorted ourselves out, it was well into the 30°s. We are going to be here for several days so we put the beer on hold and decided to set up the big cockpit cover, immediately giving us a large shady area with a breeze wafting underneath. Life on Brindabella then switched to chill mode with drinks and nibbles over chat about sightseeing plans. It was difficult knowing what to do until we know if CJ will be flying out with his mum and family. Being cut off here in the marina, news of a bookable daily shopping bus taking 5 passengers to the supermarket in the next town was a bonus. There is also a bus from the main road into Funchal. We will hire a car to see all the other sights.
Inspector Gadget set up signal boosters and over peach bellinis we tapped away on our laptops for a while. I used our first tin of meat for dinner tonight and made a cottage pie in the electric Remoska cooker with some steamed vegetables from the microwave: Back on shore power then! I haven’t really cooked corned beef much so was rather pleased with my result. What a shame as usual I didn’t write down what I put in it. Lots of socialising went on around us this evening as a French rally with pretty flags flying on their boats are preparing for a trip to the Amazon. A few ARC flags are dotting about us too.