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September 2014 : Madeira

Archipel de Madère

Categorie voyage Rabat - Porto Santo

Tuesday September 16th: wind is coming!
Even if the wind direction is not ideal (blowing from where we want to go), after more than 10 days waiting in Morocco, we decide to go...
At 9am, after filling the migration forms, we are behind 2 other sailboats Pti Ket and Prélud'Eux to follow the pilote boat in order to get out of the Bouregreg river.

We have 550 Nautical Miles to reach Porto Santo (island of Madeira archipel).

After a few hours, we feel alone in the middle of the ocean.
Unfortunately, swells of 3 to 4 meters and a strong wind (force 5-6) make this navigation a tough one. Laurence and Maël are seasick...
This first night we cannot do the shifts. Loïc stays outside while Lolo tries to recover. The same night, with Loïc and Louise outside, the boat goes under a nasty cloud with big gusts and in a second the mast is horizontal, the top almost touching the water! Nobody is hurt but it is a little bit scary...

It is cold outside. We appreciate our sailing gear (warm pants and gloves...) ! For diner a hot soup is more than welcome! Lolo is better and we can make night shifts again...
On the 3rd morning, we hear a big noise. Bang! And the the boat changes its position... the jibsheet broke! And Maël notices that a part of a the sail is broken... So we have to fold it.
As the wind is decreasing and we can't use our genoa, we continue with a smaller foc but the speed is too low, 2 to 3 knots, we finish our trip with the engine (we run almost out of diesel... but we have some more small tanks, another 60l of fuel!) and we can take a direct route.
We also eat a small tuna caught by Loïc cooked in lemon.
We see some dolphins and also some turtles, like 150 Milles away from the shore... What are the turtles doing so far away???

Saturday morning : land! And at the end of the afternoon we arrive in front of the huge Porto Santo beach! it feels good to stop!!!! We anchor there and averybody goes for a swim.

Depart de Rabat Le thon Lolo et Louise Avant le diner

Summary Rabat / Porto Santo :

We stay 2 days anchoring. What a good feeling after this agitated navigation! Then 2 days in the marina in order to repair what we need, and fill the tanks of diesel.
We receive an email from Prelud'Eux, they arrived a little earlier on Madeira and were worried about us with such a navigation...
Pti Ket arrives finally 2 days after us in Porto Santo. We are happy to see them again!
Every crew have had seasick problems so we don't feel alone!

apero Marina vue depuis le mat

Porto Santo is a small iland (11x6 km) with a huge sand beach (like 8 km). The marina is located at around 15 minutes of the small city with around 6000 inhabitants.
We take time to visit a museum in the old house of Cristobal Colon. He lived here a while, got married and had a son. It was around 1480, before his 4 trips to the "Indees". He died without knowing that he had found a new continent...
We also see an old sail mill.
A long time ago, people went here in order to use the red sap of the dragon tree and sell it to italian dyer. But now, the island is almost a desert.

Christophe Colomb dragonnier Logo Mariposa Jusqu'a Madere

Before leaving Porto Santo, the kids paint our Mariposa logo on the marina sea wall, in the middle of the other logos.

Categorie voyage Madeira

Wednesday Septembre 24th 2014, we sail to Quinta do Lorde on Madeira Island. The navigation is smooth and quicker than the last one. Even Maël and Louise can play scrabble!

Partie de scrabble Jusqu'a Madere La traversee Avec les gds parents

The same night Majojo and Papierre arrive to spend some days with us. Everybody is happy to see them, the kids have a lot to tell to their grand parents!
We take the opportunity to visit the island with them.
The spoken language is portuguese but the inhabitants are used to tourism and speak easily english, german or french...
The island is beautiful with a lot of mountains and a beautiful shore with big cliffs. There are also a lot of colorful flowers.
We discover the "maracuja-banana", a small passion fruit.

Fleur bec d'oiseau maracuja banane La cote de madere

We rent a small car in order to explore the small roads.
At Funchal, we visit the historic center, take the cable-car to reach Monte 560m upper.
Then we try the typical wicker toboggans, pushed and steered by two men traditionally dressed whith cotton clothes and a straw hat, using their rubber-soled boots as brakes. Originally a fast means of transport down to Funchal for people living in Monte, these toboggan sledges appeared around 1850.
Then we visit Blandy's Wine Lodge in order to learn more about madeira wine (it is not just used to cook!).

luge en osier funchal Blandy Madere

At Caniçal, we visit the whale museum. It is really interesting, we learn a lot about the whaling activities (an important activity on this island until 1982) and about the different kind of whales.

We go on a road trip and follow the east and north coast, making several stops to admire the view form different places.
We also stop to visit a lava tube in Sao Vicente.
We finish our day with a dive in the natural bathing pool surrounded by bizarre lava rocks and filled by the tide in Porto Moniz!

Cote Tube de lave Piscine semi-naturelle Montagne

The view from the Pico Areeiro is really impressive.

Pic Areeiro

The trails following the levadas (irrigation system of the island build between the XVI the early XX) are really pleasant. An other interesting walk is on the "Ponta de São Lourenço" with a combination of volcanics rocks, sea and nature on the east side of the island.

Levada Levada Sao lourenco Sao lourenco

In Madeira we enjoy a lot of sea food (limpets, cod, espada...). And the typical desert is the "bolo de mel", a cake made of sugar cane syrup.
And like always, at the marina, we need time to repair, give some news and do some homeschooling !

Patelles Vue sur marina Le linge Machico

Categorie voyage Desert Islands

Friday october 3rd, in the middle of the afternoon, we leave for the Desert Island visible from Madeira. With 15 knots, it takes us 3 hours. Therefore, around the islands the wind is blowing a lot and there are big swells... Is the small anchorage safe? Shall we not stop and continue our trip... In this case we have to sail for another 24h... Anyway, Maël would like to see closer the anchorage. Ok... It looks safe, some wind but no waves. Everybody agrees to stay here ! Yeeeeehhhhh !!!!

We take the free mooring (reserved to the official ship if he comes). In fact, in this group of 3 desert islands, 2 rangers of the national park are on duty for 2 weeks in order to study and to take care about the animals and the plants of these islands.

We feel like being alone in the world... A seal comes to say hello! Incredible ! Magic !

After a night without sleeping very well (checking if we aren't too close to the cliffs due to strong gust winds) we go with the kayak on the main island to follow the ranger on the touristic path. He explains us a lot of things about the birds and the endemics species like a small tarentule...
We have a picnic there : it feels good when the ground is not moving !!! The rangers offer us the coffee and we spend some time together.

Desertas 1 bugio Desertas 3 Desertas 5

Back on Mariposa, we see a wind gust pushing a big touristic schooner towards us.
It slides, the skipper calls us, he can't do anything... So we leave just in time.... Aaaaarggghhh !!!
We just have some scratches because we were side to side.
Then we go back to our mooring buoy and go back to school.

Desertas 6 Goelette Desertas 7 Desertas 8

In the late afternoon, the sun comes out and we can admire the beautiful colors on the cliff. The diner finishes with songs and we spend another night there.


Categorie voyage Wild Islands

Sunday October 5th, in the morning, we take the direction of the Wild Island (from the Madeira archipelago). It is around 140 NM which means like 24h. Again the swells are present... We arrived in the morning at "Salvagem Grande", another desert island from Madeira archipel.

Navigation Navigation 2

The sea is rough around the island so we decide to take the mooring buoy like the last stop. We will see further that it wasn't such a good idea !
We contact the rangers with VHF. The island visit is at 5pm when the tide is low and they inform us that we will have to leave before 7am because the boat is coming on the next day.

La bouee La bouee 2

Around 4pm we decide to go to the island : it is good to walk somewhere where the ground is not moving ! On our way there, we say hello to another french boat YAO which just arrived. Two dogs welcome us and we meet everybody (Jean-Loup, Marianne and Lucas) for the walk around the island.
Salvagem 1 Salvagem 2 Oiseau Salvagem 4

On our way back YAO invite us to take a drink on their boat. They plan to do a boat trip around the world, they already did the Atlantic tour a few years ago. At the end, we finish with a pasta plate !

Salvagem 3 Salvagem 5 Yao Sur Yao

In the middle of the night we hear a big metallic noise, then another one ! The kids are sleeping. We go outside and see that even with the wind, we touch the big metallic mooring buoy. We put the boat in the right place and go back to sleep. Half an hour after : again ! What shall we do ??? Go anchoring next to the island but with the cliffs and during the night it is not so easy for us... But with the wind blowing in one way and the current in another way it is not good to stay on this buoy...
So we decide that anchoring should be a good idea. It is not so easy but the moon helps us. And then we go back to sleep. The good point is that we don't have to leave at 6am like if stayed on the buoy !
Tuesday October 7th, we are going to the Canary Islands with one day and one night of navigation.