September 22- September 30, 2019; 2207 nm and 192 days after departure from La Rochelle
What a fish! The “Espada” (black scabbard fish, Schwarzer Degenfisch), the fish you can see in the introduction pic is a very impressive creature with it’s strong teeth. It is THE fish in Porto Santo and Madeira which you find on every menu. It lives in very deep waters up to 2000m in the dark. The fisher on the islands still fish them with small boats and long special lines. There is also a nice story how they found out about the fish, if you’re interested just google it 😉.
After 5 days just being on the sea it was of course great laying at anchor not having the necessity to be at watch and just be able to sleep as long as we liked. Though we didn’t sleep long as it was a beautiful day and we were excited to explore the little island to stretch our grown sea legs and just WALK for a while. That is definitely something you do not much while cruising.
Before we went ashore we could welcome our friends from Saviour, they arrived from Gibraltar in the early afternoon. They anchored so close to us (even though the bay is huge), we thought they needed a little cuddle after 6 days at sea 😁. It turned out they were soo exhausted that they didn’t really realise what they were doing and after some days they moved Saviour and anchored in the marina bay.
Porto Santo is a very small island and to us -like probably to everyone else- the most attractive part is the 9km-long stunning beach of super fine sand and turquoise crystal clear water. Just to let you know, the whole island is 11km long and 6km wide. A loooooot of beach for such a small island. Nice! The rest of the island looks rather rocky due to it’s volcanic origin (sandstones) and the lack of flora and fauna. Though it has stunning views and is great for energetic fellows (😁 not us) who like to walk and scramble over the island.
Still, we decided to rent a car to check out the island and to get some provisioning easier to the boat. Latest when the car rental staff tells you to refill petrol for 10 Euros only for a 24 hours rental you realise it’s a tiny, tiny island 😉.
The capital Vila Baleira sounds maybe big but is actually a little village. It presents itself as a very tidy and clean place with lots of pleasant restaurants, a surprisingly high amount of shops and like everywhere in Portugal Mr. Columbus is a big deal 😉. It has a Columbus museum, which is nice though not providing much information about Columbus 🤣. The main connection was, that it is located in the house where Columbus lived for a while with his wife. At least we learned about the dragon tree…
The anchorage provided us with some restful sunny days with amazingly clear water and the possibility to catch up with our friends from Saviour and meet quite a lot of other sailors. The sailors bar in the small marina was just too inviting as the next bar was a 15 min walk away, so even when we tried to go further we ended up in the bar. Like everyone else 😁. Very interesting was, that we met some single handed guys. It is always impressive to me how they manage not only their boat on their own but also BEING alone. I definitely prefer the 4 handed way.
Another special person we met was John from England. He and his wife (which we didn’t meet) have lived already for 35 years on their boat. They of course have already seen so much, been to so many places and also experienced how cruisers life has changed over the last 35 years. E.g. when they started their journey the first questions to decide where to stay was: 1. Is it safe (protection from wind and swell) ? 2. Can you get water? Nowadays the first question is: Is there wifi?
Technology is great but sometimes as well a burden.
Finally it was time to move on as Luisito was about to visit us soon. So we happily headed to Quinta do Lorde Marina, which is located in the very east part of Madeira main island. We had a couple of days to get Altimate ready for our very welcomed visitor. Tidying up the boat, preparing the visitor berth, renting a car to get groceries and of course to pick up Luis from airport Funchal. Yeahhhhhhhh Mummy is happy 🙃