October 11 – October 27, 2019; 2339 nm and 219 days after departure from La Rochelle
Isn’t it funny? Cows are strolling at the high plateau at Madeiras centre like the cows do in the alps. Big poohs showing their tracks. 😉 And when you need to pass them they cross the streets in a very relaxed and slow manner. We loved it!
After Luis’ departure we had quite a lot of projects to finish. Yeah! Again. 🙄
El Capitano needed to repair the seawater pump. That turned out to be a bit less expensive and uncomplicated as we eventually found a nice Volvo dealer who offered to exchange the broken parts instead of getting a complete new pump. (Without special tools it is not possible to do it yourself.)
Me on the other hand, I had sewing repairs to do. Our lazybag (that is the bag which kind of collects and keeps the main sail in place when dropping it) definitely needed a huge refit. That forced me to spent a couple of days close to my sewing machine. It was quite challenging to get all the broken parts done with my ordinary machine and the huge amount of canvas. A lot of swearing and support from El capitano helped.🤪 The success encouraged me to do a new mast/sail cover. (Our lazybag does not cover the whole sail at the mast end.)
The most difficult part was to get the equipment I needed (huge zipper, velcro, eyelet rings, nylon webbing and buckles, I already had the canvas). Here again we have to highly celebrate and recommend the awesome marina staff. They are incredible helpful. Nicole from the office got me the contact details of a sailmaker in Funchal. He (I forgot his name😳) was so nice to sell to me what I needed even though he’s not a retailer. The best part was, that he even delivered the few things I needed directly to Altimate. What a service!
All in all it took around a week to get all the sewing done. Of course with enough breaks in between.
A lot of cruisers came to the marina. Most of them didn’t stay long as they seemed to have a fixed time schedule but some stayed a bit longer. Especially with two families from Switzerland (each of them with two kids) we got on very well. We had nice talks including exchanging our experiences (so far) of living aboard and helped each other out with information, skills or offering lifts to the next grocery. And -not to forget- a couple of lovely evenings with nice wine, snacks and chats.😋
As we had a car we also did some more trips around the colourful island. We explored the north side of Madeira. Santana, São Vicente up to Porto Moniz in the west with it’s amazing “Piscinas Naturais” (natural pools) as well as the centre with the cows and the southern part with lots of little villages. And of course the capital was more than one time our destination.
One day we drove again up to the tableland (the alp land😁) close to Rabaçal to enjoy the long walk next to the famous Levadas (water channels) to see the 25 fountains. I’m very proud to say that I did it! I’m scared of heights and in some areas it was very steep and extremely narrow. Ok, the path was often secured with handles but as I said often NOT always! And anyhow it stresses me to be high up anywhere, that’s probably why I love the water…
Being a little stressed was definitely worth it. The hike with mossy gutters and rushing cascades as well as epic views was absolutely stunning. The altitude difference on the other hand was somehow very intense. 😉 (Or was it just us not being used to hiking ?)
After around three weeks in the marina we were kind of fed up with being tight up at a pontoon. We missed jumping into the sea and having a bit more privacy. The marina was nice and we could use the natural pool of the resort but still it’s just not the same. As the winds were southerly which is unusual but great for sailing back to Porto Santo we contacted our friends from Saviour who were still there. They instantly replied that they were on their way to Quinta do Lore. Same day in the evening (it was Friday), we had some beers together in the little marina bar. 😊
We decided to leave Sunday morning to use the wind from the south. The steep mountains surrounding the marina do provide a lot of heavy katabatic winds. The winds challenged us leaving the marina as it was a bit rough but apart from that we had great sailing conditions. With downwind and only the genua set we reached our max speed and Porto Santo in only 5 hours. Yeaaaah