Wed 18th Sept
Having sailed into the harbour we had to find the reception pontoon and 'check in'. The marina was in one corner of what is quite a large harbour apparently built by NATO, 'just in case', but not used by them. The island is allowed to use it, presumably until in some war NATO demands it back.

Approaching the reception pontoon we found it occupied by a large German boat. We were preparing our warps and fenders to come alongside when we were addressed by a boy of 10 or 12 yrs on deck. "You can't tie up here", he said, "my parents won't be very pleased. Have you called up the Harbourmaster on channel 16. You must call up the harbourmaster."
Such was the natural authority of this young man that the four of us 'men' stopped in our tracks, and nearly did as we were told. But we'd been at sea for 4 days, and were tired, so we just passed over our lines and asked him to asked him to make them off. I was pleased, and quietly surprised when he complied.
When the parents returned later in the afternoon we exchanged hellos, or perhaps bon dias, (but not guten tag) and there was no evident displeasure on their part. Whether or not young Adolf was severely thrashed later, for letting four scruffy Englanders come alongside, we never found out!

Having cleared in with the necessary bureaucracy at both the marina office and the police we had a cold beer and went off to the beach. Warm sea, and golden sand (which we later found out is quite unusual on volcanic islands where it is usually black) were just what we needed for a well earned bit of r and r.

Porto Santo is a hot (for us) and arid place. Bare volcanic rock , (not enough water to sustain plants), covers much of the island, with irrigated palm trees planted here and there to soften the effect. We definitely felt we were on an island off the coast of Africa and not Europe. Alien but also exciting. But a couple of nights on Porto Santo was enough and so we set off on Friday morning under full main and No1 jib for Madeira Grande, about 35M to the SW. After a rolly but otherwise uneventful 6 or so hours we tied up in the marina at Quinto de Lorde on the eastern end of the island.

Quinto de Lorde marina is just a small part of the new-build resort started in the heady heights of capitalist optimism, and finished just in time for the crash. Hotel and church on the new village square, bars, restaurants, health and fitness spas, swimming pools.......etc,.....etc. quite tastefully done, but almost deserted. Evidently the majority of the apartments (time-share perhaps ?) remain unsold as we discovered a sales room with a large model of the village and a bored saleswoman on the quayside.

Interesting as it was , it wasn't really our kind of place, so in the morning sailed slowly along in the lee of the island, to Funchal, the islands capital. As predicted in the Pilot book, there was no room in the marina, which was mostly full of local boats, so we anchored off for a couple of nights.
The first day we explored the city which was delightful and on the second we went for a sail up the coast to see the 2000ft cliffs, which we're told are the 2nd highest sea cliffs in the world. Very impressive they were too, but what was most extraordinary was the little white line we saw running vertically up the cliffs as we tacked towards them. As we drew nearer we could see that it was in fact a lift which we later discovered was bearing customers to a little bar/restaurant at the base of the cliffs. Luckily we were able to anchor off the bar, swim ashore, and make a closer inspection. There was at the base of the cliffs a strip of land, maybe half a mile long by one or two hundred yards wide very carefully cultivated and hugely productive of all kinds of exotic fruit. A smallholding there had converted half a dozen outbuildings to holiday cottages, and that with the bar was apparently enough to justify attaching an 800ft lift to the side of the cliff. Extraordinary and beautiful, but given the setting the bar could only be described as 'ordinary' and disappointing.

On our way back to Funchal we passed a replica of the Santa Maria, Columbus' ship that took him across the Atlantic. The first to discover the trade wind route which we'll be on in a few weeks. And looking at his little ship and discussing it's ability to sail to windward, or rather it's probable inabilty we marvelled at his confidence in the existence of the circulation of the winds which would enable him to get home again.

This time at Funchal we were admitted to the marina having reserved a place a couple of days before. Madeira Grande, being a higher island than Porto Santo catches the rain and hence covers a lot of the island with lush vegetation. The small city itself was beautifully verdant and the wide European style pavement cafes were the perfect place to enjoy a 'copa de vino blanco' whilst listening to buskers playing their latin american rhythms on guitar. I could have enjoyed a longer stay here and again this goes down on the 'must revist' list.

But another crew change, and time to move on. Nick and Sam were leaving and John and I were being joined by Hadrian and James for the next leg to the Canaries.