Saturday 16th July

Sat 16 Jul 2016 19:45
Dear All

We have arrived in Porto Santo, a small island just off the NE coast of Madeira, on our way - so we had to call in. It has a fabulous sandy beach right next door to the marina, and is where the Madeirans have their holiday homes. Our journey from Lisbon took 75 hours (476 miles) and apart from the last 3 hours or so, all of it under sail. We can't quite believe we are here.

Sometime in the last days, we have all had 'conversations' with ourselves; but this trip has always been about putting ourselves outside our comfort zones. In the middle of the night, when on watch, I was listening to music on my I pod, Katie Melua singing "This is the closest thing to crazy I have ever been" may be written about some love affair, but the irony of the title wasn't lost on me. The winds have been constantly 5-10 knots stronger than forecast, which was Gale Force 7 gusting 8, not conditions we would have set out in had we known!

Our first real test came close to midnight on the first day. Helen (clipped on with her harness so in no real danger), was flung across the cockpit by a giant wave and pinned against the rear locker. David was at the chart table at the time, heard Helen calling, switched immediately into perfect 'Skipper mode' and barked to Paul and me "HELP, but nobody on deck without lifejackets and being clipped on." We got Helen downstairs, not sure if she had broken any ribs; there was a calm and totally professional reaction to the crisis. Ibuprofen and Ibuleve are keeping Helen comfortable whilst the bruising diminishes.

Having had a very successful Biscay crossing without any seasickness, it hit me hard when it did come. It is supposed to last for three days, but then we arrived here, so I haven't really had the chance to learn that it will pass and I will be able to live a normal life at sea. I survived because all of the others did everything they possibly could to support me; they covered all galley duties and generally just left me to myself, which was exactly what I wanted (although I was able to keep up with my watches).

When on the long passages we spend most of the day talking, everything from discussing the phases of the moon to catching up on gossip. However, when the evening meal is served, normally a time for sociable chit-chat, we all fall remarkably silent (we noticed this on the Biscay crossing as well) in an effort to consume the food before it goes cold.

However, 'No pain, no gain' and we have been rewarded with a perfect day today. We hired a car to drive around the island and have come to the conclusion that Porto Santo is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Today's photos are of Team Madeira at a sublime spot for lunch, which was then walked off by a hike up the second highest peak on the island, Pico Branco at 450 m, which gave us amazing views of the coastline.

On the move again tomorrow - the final 40 miles to Madeira.

Loads of love
Vicki (and David, Helen and Paul) xxxx

JPEG image

JPEG image