MADEIRA - FUNCHAL
32°38.5'N - 16°54.5'W
The Island of Mountains.
Having departed Alvor, on the Algarve coast of Portugal, at 10:04 on the 15th August 2008, we arrived off Funchal at 01:12 on the 19th August 2008. A sometimes very thrilling sail reaching speeds of up to 7 knots and Kiah behaving well in some pretty lumpy seas.
Madeira is a mountainous island, with many steep roads and a coast road with lots of tunnels, it is a great place to visit. Stuck way out in the Atlantic to the South West of mainland Portugal, Madeira is full of spectacular views. from the top of those mountains (through the cloud to the top on some days) to the sea side towns and marinas. This island gets battered by the Atlantic Ocean and, on ocassions the sea water has destroyed the defensive sea walls of the marinas themselves.
Funchal is the main town on the island of Madeira, the harbour and marina being protected by high, strong, sea walls. The marina area itself is nested behind a wall that stretches out from the East end to the entrance gap at the West end. This inner wall overlaps with the main shipping harbour wall that is set further out and stretches from West to East. Funchal is a very modern city but still retains the wonderful element of local architecture and friendly people.
We arrived off Funchal late in the evening 5.5 days after leaving the Portuguese Algarve coast port of Alvor. We anchored on the outside of the inner harbour wall and had a most restless night with the rolling swell. The next day there was still no room at the inn, so we spent a second night at anchor. Eventually, we were able to get a berth alongside the sea wall inside the harbour. Jenny and Zoe joined us here, hoping to make the passage with us to the Canaries. Unfortunately, the weather forecast was not good to go so they eventually ended up getting the Ferry to Tenerife, where they then flew back to the UK.
Take a good look at the first of the images below, click on it for a better 'lightbox' view. In the center of the picture there are two, what appear to be water marks from the top of the mountain to the base. The one on the left you will see has a small white dot on it about a third of the way down. That in fact is a lift, used to get the people who live at the base of the cliff up to the top and back down again (it saves them having to be transported by boat everytime they wish to visit a supermarket or whatever. Please note that in Madeira this is a small cliff, the mountains on the island are a great deal higher and you travel up through the clouds to reach the top.