DIARY - Cascais to Tenerife

Wed 28 Nov 2018 14:31
Leaving mainland Europe behind, we set sail on 20th October 2018 at 1.40pm for Madeira, with around eight hours sailing at 5 to 6 knots, with North Westerly winds on our beam. Changed to very light wind after 9pm, and we motor-sailed for a while before the wind picked up from the east, with Luna Quest sailing through the night.   The views behind us as we left Cascais were magnificent, with Cabo de Roca to the North West ( the most Westerly point on mainland Europe), and Lisbon's 25 de Abril bridge to the East.  About 6 miles out, we had a visitor from a very tired starling that literally dropped into the cockpit; she slept for a while, with her head under her wing.  She woke up and sipped the bowl of sugary water supplied by Austin, with a couple of dead insects that we found on deck; she then decided to go "ag pórsáil" in the cubbyholes, probably looking for more food.  After eating some crumbled biscuit, she stretched to her full size, ruffled her feathers, took one look upwards at the sky and took off towards land.   
After dinner and snoozes, the night-watch was spectacular, with lightening on the horizon, even fork-lightening from cloud to cloud.  Seas during the day are inky dark-blue; cloud- watching is a great way to pass the time.  We saw a water-spout less than three miles ahead at one stage; very dramatic, seeing the water being spun up from the surface of the sea.   Mark spotted a turtle about 24 hours out of Madeira; sea-water is getting warmer!  We've had a couple of schools of porpoise playing off the bow-wave too.  
Luna Quest made landfall in Quenta do Lorde, Madeira on 24th October at 3pm ish.  Very nice marina with a sea-water infinity pool, and a fantastic Michelin-standard restaurant at very low prices; dinner-trousers essential for the guys!  Madeira is beautiful, with its hiking along levadas or aquaducts that transport water to the terraced fields, its laurel forests in the centre of the island, and its amazing road system with 150 tunnels, making it very accessible for driving.  A favourite hike was the headland just east of the marina, so like Ceann Sléibhe, with the Islas Desertas reminding us of Na Blascaoidí.  Funchal, the capital, is very chilled out.  We had a recommendation from Fergus Tuohy to visit Moynihan's Irish bar and say hello to owners Tadhg and Sinéad; they were great fun and very welcoming...great food and music.  We spent the night in Ronaldo's football-themed hotel, with its grass-coloured carpets, world-cup replicas and photos of the number 7 man himself. 
After Helen's last swim in the sea-water infinity pool, having provisioned for our departure to Santa Cruz in Tenerife, we ate once more in Lorde's restaurant (for the 6th time in the 9 nights spent in Madeira) and set sail next day, 2nd November at 1.30pm, on a heading of 175 degrees south.  We covered 166 nautical miles in the first 24 hours.  We made landfall in Santa Cruz de Tenerife marina at 12pm on 4th November.   We said farewell once again to Mark, and all headed home to Ireland for a visit.   Austin arrived back to Tenerife on 21st Nov, Helen on 26th from her visit with Kathleen to see Siobhan in Copenhagen.  Very nice to be back in the pleasant heat of Santa Cruz.
After provisioning on 27th November, we welcomed Corkman Scott Mackeown on board to crew with us on our Tenerife to Cape Verde leg of the journey.  Farwell to the lovely Santa Cruz on 28th November, bound for Palmeira, Cape Verde.