Thursday, 15 November 2012

Madeira 2: more walking, more rain..

Funchal view

We spent our first visit to Funchal exploring with Ollie and Carlotta.  It's a surprisingly lively place, particularly given the average age of the tourists (nearly all English and German)!

Funchal and the harbour

Another windy day..
Back at the east end of the island, we took advantage of a rare rain-free afternoon to walk along the peninsula towards Ponta de Sao Laurenco (the only walk you can really do without getting transport from the marina). Very different to our levada walk, it was just as spectucular.

Walking the peninsula at the east end of Madeira

Another day was spent driving around the island with Mark and Ginny, an American couple cruising on Mark's Rival 38 'Lone Rival', who kindly invited us to join them in their hire car. Ginny has her own 39-foot boat back home in Connecticut, and they've both done a serious amount of cruising.   After working our way up steep roads in thick fog, the view from the Valley of the Nuns was virtually non-existent. We gave up on seeing anything at altitude and ended up having lunch at Camara do Lobos, a small fishing village where Churchill used to paint, before heading up to the top of the cliffs at Cabo Girao.  The cable car wasn't running because of the wind, but the view down to the sea was vertigo-inducing enough!  It was a treat to spend a day with such interesting and friendly people.

Mark and Ginnie

Cabo Girao cliffs
Sadly, other days have been spent weather-bound, with far too much time spent here in the internet room in the marina.  It's mostly been too wet to get any productive jobs done on the boat.

Not really sailing weather.
We're now meant to be in a region of much steadier northerly winds, and this pattern recently started to re-establish itself (the Azores high temporarily settled back into place, at least for a few days) making conditions much better for heading down to the Canaries.  Frustratingly, we both caught colds at just the time the weather looked best to move on: we were all set to leave several days ago, together with Troskala, Spirit of Argo, and about five other boats.  I'm glad we stayed put, as we felt rotten for a couple of days - not conducive to long night watches - but it's seemed very quiet here. It's even started to feel disconcertingly cold after dark..

The forecast again wasn't playing ball, so we decided to spend a couple more days in Funchal, with a night in a hotel so that we could get out in the evening (and for some relative luxury!). We went up to Monte on the cable car and enjoyed a Madeira wine tasting tour at Blandy's.  We've also got to know Christian, the professional skipper of a 70 foot Jongert, who invited us for a long pasta lunch in his enormous leather-clad saloon with another Frenchman Jean-Phillipe, who's cruising to the Canaries and the Azores.

The wind is howling through the marina again, and the pontoons are rocking with the surge as a depression goes through.

There's a glimpse of better weather ahead...we really need a change of scene now!

We've spent far too much time here..

1 comment:

  1. Hi there,

    Beautiful pictures!

    Hope you guys got better and carry on to the canaries soon! We had a change of plans. Maybe we meet each other somewere in the Canaries.

    Greets, Guia IV