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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sail Porto Santo to Madeira 16 to 17 July 2010

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Left the Porto Santo marina at 1000 hrs 16 July and had a great sail to Madeira in a NE 4/5.
Rounding the rocky islands at the eastern extremity of the island was interesting - encountered a 2 knot east going current which , with 18 kts of wind from the NE led to quite some steep waves and slowed us down considerably. This rounding could give overfalls and be quite dangerous in stronger winds. Once we had rounded the point we came into the lee of the islands and the seas flattened off.

Catia and Joana gave us a very good welcome at the marina Quinta do Lorde and arranged check in with the authorities without us needing to be present. Marina costs are even higher than Porto Santo - 34 Euros/night taking into account our 20 percent discount - weekly discounted rate reduces to just under 30 euros /night. For these rates at least one gets electricity, water and showers included in the fee.

The marina is built below some high vertical cliffs and, since we have been here, has been subject to strong gusts of wind.

The marina is part of a resort development which consists of a picturesque brand new village nestled against the cliffs complete with church and village square.
Unfortunately the development, although nearing completion, seems to have fallen foul of the current economic crisis and work has slowed down on its completion- it resembles a ghost town at the moment although 15 percent of the homes are, we are told already sold.

Saturday 17 July, a coach tour of the eastern side of the island was organised for us by the marina with Joana as our friendly multilingual guide.

The tour took us through many tunnels to Santana giving us superb views of the awesome north coast with very steep rugged verdant slopes plunging to the valley bottoms and the sea. Wherever possible, the slopes are terraced and green with various crops. Houses are scattered through the valleys and perched precariously on the slopes. The road in many places seems to just cling to the mountain sides with almost sheer drops on one side. Without the many tunnels , some several kilometers long, travel across the island would be very slow.

At Santana we stopped at some traditional thatched sided houses. Soon aftewards we visited the Santana theme park - first impressions were "why on earth are we stopping here?" as the first thing we did was have a children's ride in a four seater tracked "boat" through a boring, ill thought our fairground ride. However, the rest of the park proved to be quite interesting with side shows of traditional crafts (basket weaving etc.) and a very good museum addressing the origins, history and culture of the island.
We were shown an excellent promotional film of the island whilst sitting in simulator moving seats - one minute hiking along the Levadas, the next gliding over the spectacular scenary in a delta wing glider, then plunging to the depths in scuba diver gear and miraculously ending up on a sailing yacht romantically sailing into the sunset - never experienced such a large simulator.

Afterwards the coach took us to the mountainous interior climbing to the third highest peak on the island, Pico Areeiro 1818 m , high above the clouds with spectacular views.

Afterwards we returned to the marina via Pico do Facho 322m , close to Machico with excellent views of our marina.

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