Until recently the wind was in the south west, and surge in the marina kept us awake with the same snatching and creaking we endured in Porto Santo. Limbo now has no less than six lines holding her in place. Other boats have had warps part completely and Spirit of Argo's substantial fairleads were starting to come loose. Thankfully this has been less of a problem for the last few days, but still the squalls come. Much of this must be a local katabatic effect - the marina is backed by a towering (and not particularly stable-looking) cliff - but the weather has continued to be extremely unsettled. One boat came in with a ripped mainsail and partly-shredded genoa. The local news tells of landslides and flooding.
|Dark clouds over Madeira as we approach from the east.|
We are at Marina Quinta do Lorde, on the peninsula at the east end of the island so the first port of call on the way down from Porto Santo. It's a pleasant place, surrounded by a brand new, yet-to-be-opened village development (complete with its own town square and church) which, if slightly Disneyesque, is nicely laid-out. One pleasing feature is the on-site bar complete with daily happy hour (1.40 Euros a pint can't be bad), which has made it a sociable place to be.
|Happy hour! Cain, Quinn and April from Spirit of Argo|
|Natalie, Willie, Ollie, Tim, Carlotta|
|Marina Quinta do Lorde|
The best thing about Madeira has been that - until recently - many of our friends have been here. We enjoyed a swim on our first morning, thanks to April's discovery of a (not quite finished) seawater swimming pool on the other side of the development. I'm not sure we were meant to be there, but it made a refreshing start to the day. Quinn the dog wasn't quite convinced!
A highlight of our stay has been a levada walk with Willie from Quaver, who'd hired a car on our second day here and invited us to join him. Levadas are the concrete irrigation ditches built to redistribute rainfall around the island, and make superb walking routes. We drove up to Queimadas in the north (an experience in itself!) and hiked 15 miles or so to Caldeirao do Inferno and back, which took about 5 hours. Willie had warned us that he would take it at a good pace and we struggled to keep up on the way back. I hope I'm as fit when I'm 67...
|Natalie and Willie (sans beard since Porto Santo!)|
|One of the many tunnels|
|See Natalie, bottom left, for a sense of scale!|