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Last update August 30 2011.
Joseph and Karin just went home and the next guests already sign up. Uncle Frits and his son, cousin Chris drive down from Spain, where they are on holiday with the rest of the family. We are still anchored in Culatra, but moved to the port of Olhao where we can easily pick them up. Together we sailed back to the anchorage at Culatra, now they can have a taste at the life on board for 24 hours. We all had a great time. The next morning Uncle Frits and Chris had to take the first ferry back to Olhao to return to the family in Spain.
On August 6 we weigh anchor and put up the sails; Madeira here we come. The wind comes from behind, which means Joho starts rolling, and if there is anything I can not stand it is rolling. The crossing is a cold one, we have to put on our new sailing suits and we thought we were going to the warmer areas where we would not need this nonsense. The wind continues to blow in force and within 80 hours we arrive at Porto Santa of the Madeira group. A new 24 hour record (just under 200 miles) and we thrown out our anchor next to the harbour.
Porto Santo from our cockpit looks very impressive with its dramatic high peaks. The beach looks golden and we are curious about the town of Vila Baleira. So we go for a walk in town. The island was discovered in 1418 by Joao Goncalves Zarco (a Portuguese). Vila Baleira reminds us of a medium sized beach town in the Netherlands. It's very crowded, the ferry comes twice a day from Madeira. This island is famous for its beautiful long beach. A stroll through the historic center, where Columbus lived changes the view, it definately is something special. Everything is well maintained and radiates. But we made up our minds, after this short visit we will focus on the main island of Madeira.
The anchor is pulled up again on August 11, when we say hi and bye to friends of SY Dorado, Ulrike and Lutz while we float by (they just arrived that night). There is a lot of wind and accordingly high waves, it is the Atlantic Ocean we're sailing in of course. The closer we come to Madeira, the more wind we get. We plan to anchor in the Abra bay, but with this wind it's will be the question whether we can get there. After a short struggle we put down the sails and motor into the Baia de Abra an idyllic bay on the east side of Madeira. We are only boat and surrounded by high cliffs in many colors.
After a windy night, we go ashore with the dinghy. The landing is not easy and I almost felll in the water, camera and all. There is a path up and we walk to the ledge of this rugged mountain range. Joho is on the quiet side and when we're on the ledge, we see the other -very rough- side that is quite impressive. The blue of the Atlantic is a nice contrasts with the sunny-colored cliffs. We walk a bit over the edge and enjoy the scenery. The rest of the day we remain on board of JoHo and make further plans.
The plan is to move to a new marina on the western side. Porto da Calheta the Recreio has everything and is reasonably priced for a marina in Madeira. We sail close to the coast which means you have a splendid view. Everything looks better from the waterfront. We have a nice breeze and JoHo is in her element.
Then suddenly the wind turns (again) and we get it on the nose. Westerly winds, so we will never reach Calheta in an easy way. So it will the Marina of Funchal as an alternatieve, because anchoring over there is not an option. The marina is already pretty full but there is still a place for JoHo, so now we are right in the centre of the capital of Madeira.
We are looking for a rental car to see the island of Madeira, but August is the busiest time. There are no cars available, no wheels period (we also looked for mopeds or motorbikes, but nothing available). So we decide to take a tour on the west side of Madeira, this appears the only solution. Half past eight in the morning, Abraham our guide picked us up at the marina by Jeep, he drives toward the large hotels first where we pick up four other (Dutch) people.
First stop is in Ribeira Brava, a small town with a river that regularly floods. After that the jeep leaves the paved road and we reach one of the highest points of Madeira. The view is overwhelming. Everything is green from the peaks to the valleys and the towns. From the north (Sao Vicente) we ride on the old road to Seixal. There are waterfalls that make us think back to the Azores. Porto Moniz is located in the North and has a natural pool at a rough seashore. The jeep goes to a plateau high up in the mountains, where today windmills and solar panels are stationed, then we go on an unpaved road back to Funchal.
It was another day with lots of impressions but even more to come. We hear that there is a party in Monte, a neighboring town of Funchal. We take the bus to Monte and we see a beautifully decorated square with a church and a band is playing music, party. By the time they break things up, we begin our brave steep walk down towards the port of Funchal.
In the morning at the marina we arrange permits for the islands of Desertas and Salvagem, then we take public transport to the Botanical Garden where we walk around and enjoy some hours. This time we take the bus back (as our legs still hurt from the steep walk down yesterday) and stop at the wine museum where they explain how Madeira wine is made and in what flavors it comes, which of course ends with testing the wine. That night we do nothing but enjoying the surrounding of Funchal, we are still full of all the impressions of the past few days.
August 17 we are up early and leave the main island of Madeira to sail 20 nm to Ilhas Desertas. These three islands are a National Park where the endangered Monk Seal life. The seals, which occur only in the Madeira Islands were nearly wiped out by the Portuguese. The seals ate the fish that were necessary for survival for the residents of Madeira back in the 18th century and after massacre the seals they found out that the creature was good for eating and they could use the fat as lamp oil as well. Now they are protected animals and they are only rarely seen. We hope to be lucky.
The anchorage is beautiful and we take our dinghy ashore to investigate the high cliffs and caves with bold colours.We follow the tour on land but didn't see any seals.
August 18, we are rolling our way to the Salvage Islands. Almost no wind but there are still waves. The wind turns slowly to north-west, we see the main island, Salvagem Grande. But as our anchorage is not a safe haven we won't stop here. Another night of sailing, no shower or nothing, not what we wanted so let's go on as fast as possible.
We look forward to a good night's rest.
Just before the sun goes down we can throw out our anchor in the bay of Isla Graciosa. As soon as it is light we will anchor in another bay next this one, were there is no swell. Rest and relax. Here we stayed four days before we went on.
After La Graciosa we sailed to Lazarote. We are not really impressed seeing it from sea, but that is logic after seeing Madeira. The anchorage is not comfortable, by the coming and going of ferries we roll a lot. Yet we want to see the island and we are lucky. We can find a rental car for a reasonable price. We go to the Marina Rubicon, as we do not want to leave JoHo unattended at anchor. The holding ground is not so great.
En route with the car, the first stop is at the Parque National de Timanfaya. From the waterfront this NP looks like Mars in my opinion. Once inside the NP, we see that there are several kinds of landscapes. Lava that has been solidified, many cones and a desert landscape. From the arena of vulcanos we drive north where we see Haria, a North African style town. From Mirador del Rio you see Isla Graciosa where we were at anchor. We drive back via the east coast and stop in the capital Arrecife. Then lastly we cross the island again on to the green water at El Golfo, and through the salt pans back to Joho.
We've seen a lot this month. In September we go to other Islands of the Canary and I think we start to sail towards Cape Verdes in the eind of September/early October.
If you're interested in sailing the BAHAMAS,
BERMUDA, MALDIVES or BONAIRE have a look at our books at SAILADVENTURES
where the books are available online.
You can always mail us for more info on these cruising grounds or cruising in general, we'll gladly help you out.
JoHo is in the water on anchor at Playa Blanca, on Lanzarote in Canary Island. Position 28 °51,5' N - 13 °49,1' W.
You can reach us by e-mail and Sat phone 00870776456078.
To go off again and sail to less explored areas, maybe begin the start of a circumnavigation (although to circumnavigate is not the goal).
JoHo will be our main address, floating office and home for the next year.
Still we'll have to work some in between where and when possible, compiling a few cruising guides on our way.
John and Jolanda.