Sunday, 15 April 2012

Back to Green

We sailed from Ponta Delgada for Madeira on the 30th of October last year. Little did we think that it would take us over 5 months to get there, but here we are at last after a moderately strenuous three and a half-day passage from La Graciosa.

But, just before we leave Graciosa, and luckily just after we scrubbed the hull, the harbour was invaded by a plague of medusas:

A discouraging forecast on Monday morning left us thinking we'd be there for another week at least so on Tuesday morning we visited the small supermarket to stock up on beer. On the way back to the boat we paused near the internet cafe to check the weather once more, for form's sake. An unexpected window had opened, for immediate departure. The laundry was soaking in its basin on deck, so it was with clothes still hanging to dry down below that we set sail five hours later.

Shakin' out a reef. Also, spot the dolphin!

The first night was moderately lumpy, bashing away into a steep head-sea but we were cheered by our first sighting of Atlantic white-sided dolphins and a sea turtle. The following day (Wednesday) the wind edged around, forcing us to tack away to the northeast. That night we found ourselves in the main shipping lane from the Med/Europe to Africa which was a bit of a pain since we were forced to dodge cargo ships as well as rain squalls. Thursday the wind swung back around in our favour but that night it picked up quite a bit and things got a bit unpleasant for a while. These things never look like much on the GRIB files - just an innocuous wee yellow area on the map that only lasts a few hours. How bad can it be? On the ground (so to speak) the picture looks a little different. There was nothing on the menu for dinner that evening, not even instant mashed potato - the new 'Smash' hit easy passage food on board (bit of an in-joke there for British readers).

Bashin'. But at least the sun was shining.
Friday morning, things are starting to settle down.
Friday, after things settled down again was a good genoa-sailing day all day, especially when we were in sight of Madeira. From about five miles off we could smell the sweetness of lush green land. Musky incense, flowers and a touch of wood smoke.

Land ho! The Islas Desertas.
And Madeira itself.
Imagine our delight, when pulling into Funchal at midnight, to find our friend Stefan (of Roede Orm) waiting for us on the reception pontoon to take our lines and offer us a glass of Madeira wine.
Madeiran rope trick. Amazing what a bit of salt can do.
Funchal marina, right in the town centre.

1 comment:

pj lawson said...

a nice account and photos as usual.
the shot 'bashing ....' really puts you on board