05 October, 2012
The Madeira group of island is about 450 nm from mainland Portugal and out in the Atlantic off the coast of Morocco. Some say it is the garden of Eden. There are two main inhabited island – Porto Santo and Madeira lying 30 nm south.
Malua pulled into the large American built harbour at Porto Santo and went alongside amongst many other cruising yachts mainly going to the Canaries.
I took a local bus tour of the island visiting the ex USA airbase and all weather runway plus the radio masts and the northern coast. An interesting trip well worth the 3 euro bus fare.
After a few days it was time to head south to the main island of Madeira. We stopped at the new marina Quinta do Lorde which is just west of a Baia du Abra which we had hoped to anchor in but is untenable in anything but a northern wind.
The Marina Quinta do Lorde is a new development based around the marina. The houses, apartments and rooms are not yet finished but they expect to open the huge complex in December. Only 20% of the units are sold but at a starting price of 420,000 euro I am not surprised. The quality is good, the design great as is the location but at this stage there is no sole in the place.
The marina is a good walk to the small town but close by a wonderful nature reserve extending north west to the cape we had rounded on the way in. A four hour walk to the summit of the island and to the tip of the cape is well worth the effort however if you are scared of heights and walking on a narrow path between a steep drop off – get someone to hold your hand although the s/s rail is secure and well tested.
We took a local bus to Funchal to try and source a few parts for the boat and spent a fruitless day walking the streets and backstreet to find a supplier. A two hour bus tour of the island gave me a sense of the town which has been a tourest destination for many many years. There are many large resort style hotel and apartment complexes crowed around the Funchal harbour.