|The central highlands.|
Madeira is indeed a beautiful island, but it's also at (or even beyond) its tourist capacity. Every day, the cruise ships dump 5-10,000 well-heeled passengers into Funchal and they join the thousands already here in being bussed around the island, crowding the more beautiful of the walking trails, viewpoints and every sort of attraction. There are souvenir stands in their hundreds and Peruvian pan pipe bands all doing their utmost to extract a few more euros from this mobile bounty. One always has to be on one's guard to avoid being ripped off here. Sonja was stung in the fruit market by exorbitant maracuja prices and we once found ourselves paying €2.50 for a coffee (normally €1 or less in these parts).
|Tasty but dear. 3 types maracuja, custard apple and melon pear|
Still and all, we were able to make a pretty good go of it, banding together with the crews of Frigg and our old friends the Roede Orms to hire a 9-seater minibus for a couple of days and see some quieter parts of the island, as well as the more popular.
|The view from the world's second highest sea cliff.|
|The famous levadas - tough to get a shot with no other people!|
|The 25 fontes.|
Unfortunately we didn't see any monk seals, but we were very warmly welcomed by the park rangers who showed us a fun and interesting time.
|Sunset at Deserta Grande.|
|And it kept getting better.|
Machico is a nice town, once the island's capital, and much less busy than Funchal. No loud bars, no pan pipes.
|A chance encounter with fellow OYCOA member, Nacho|
on his Halcyon 27, Xebec.