Porto Santo to Madeira

Brian Bonniwell and Claudine
Fri 6 Nov 2015 16:27
32:39.00N 16:54.00W
The trip to Madeira was short with little wind, so we had to motor.  As we approached the wind picked up a little and  Brian ordered our new Code zero sail to be hoisted.    It really worked well and lived up to expectation, powering our fully laden 34 ton yacht along the south coast, past the industrial port of Canical, the airport built on concrete stilts rising from the seabed and the impressive VR1 motorway linking them with the capital town of Funchal (our destination), to the marina.  The island was not quite as expecting and a total contrast to Porto Santo.  Brian had warned us that Funchal was renowned for being dominated by cruiseliners, and the town, by their contents!  The entire sea front is being re-developed to provide facilities for even more cruiseliners, taking over the entire area charted for yachts at anchor. The marina attendant advised that there was no room in the marina and his subsequent gesticulations from the sea wall were either telling us where to anchor, or to clear off!  We chose the former, only to later be told by a ‘very polite pilot boat’ that we couldn’t stay there.  He indicated a location outside the harbour. After a very bumpy night at anchor, we moved into a vacated berth in the Marina the next morning.
Following our rather disappointing introduction to Madeira, Funchal  itself  turned out to be full of pleasant surprises.  A very busy cultural town, with beautiful sculptures and the renowned Portuguese patterned cobbled streets everywhere. Brian and I did the tourist thing in the morning and went up in the cable car to view some of the spectacular scenery.  We wanted to visit more of the island and particularly the levadas that afternoon.  Unfortunately, when checking our boat, which was moored ‘stern too’, a very bad surge had developed which was putting at risk our ‘new’ bathing platform.  This meant we had to stay on board to monitor the situation.  The boys on the other hand, had a very successful trip climbing one of the mountains and walking above the clouds.  Their photos really looked good.  In the evening the surging subsided and we all ended the day joining the locals for supper at a lovely traditional street restaurant with live jazz playing.  As we sat there at a 11ish at night in T-shirts and shorts we briefly wondered …..what this November night would be like in Guernsey and England??.!!   We will soon find out as three of us will shortly be flying back to the UK.

Brian, Claudine, Ben and Sam