Archive for Quinta do Lourde

Let them eat…us? Madeira

Posted in Fun, Photographs, Walking, Wildlife with tags , , on September 25, 2010 by maidofmettle

Quinta da Lorde marina is in the middle of nowhere so we have been working our way up to exploring the rest of Madeira though it takes some organisation if you want to leave the town. So far we have done a bit of snorkelling at the beach closest to us and hosted another driftwood BBQ with some other people from boats here and a random dog who turned up half-way through. James and Lesley from the boat next door and an all female crew from the boat ‘Triple D’ (http://darlinggirls.tumblr.com/) , both of whom are doing the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) across the Atlantic this year.

From Left: James, Pete, Trycha, Alice, Jillian, Caroline, Chris and Lesley

There are some impressive fish to be seen in the waters around here. The nicest being what we think are multi-coloured parrot fish and some dark fish with bright blue bits on their fins. There are also some pretty big butterflies that fly around occasionally, though not in the water obviously.

We got literally covered in lizards on a walk a bus-ride away at Pico Facho. We had innocently sat down to eat our sandwiches when along they came. Some of them were pretty big and they were literally crawling all over us and into our tupperware container. They are impressive at jumping and can leap quite a way with no trouble at all. They were cute until one crawled on Pete’s face and bit his lip, though Pete maintains that he think it fell and tried to grab him on the way down.

“Can we keep them? Can we?”

Covered in lizard

As well as being full of lizards the walk took us through some terraced farm land and past quite a few goats. There are quite a few trees so the countryside looks fairly green in places but is interspersed with dried grassy areas. We think other parts of the island will be even greener especially now we are heading towards the rainy season on Madeira.

Walkies through the countryside
We have got to know the girls on ‘Triple D’pretty well over the last week, having met up a few times and been beaten at the games Jungle Speed and Bananagrams. We saw them off yesterday, me having decided I was going to become their fourth crew member. Their boat is much bigger than ours and I wouldn’t mind a room of my own. It has been quite rare to find female sailors in the marinas we have visited so it was nice for me to get to know Trycha, Alice and Jillian a bit so we could talk about fluffy bunnies and kittens instead of other more blokey things for a change ;-). We sent them off with some of Chris’ legendary caramel shortbread however, they didn’t manage to leave afterall yesterday due to problems with a repair they’d had done. Well, not so much the repair but the bill afterwards that they were not expecting. Anyway, we hope that that all gets sorted soon so they can head towards the Canaries.

“I’m coming with you…” The fourth crew member

We took the bus to Funchal (answers on a postcard if you know how to pronounce it). The buses have incredibly narrow seats and the roads are quite bendy resulting in an interesting ride. It was fine really, you just need to hold on a bit if you have the aisle seat.
Funchal was a little wet but quite nice. The buildings are really interesting and they have some really nice gardens to look round. We had lunch in a small and exceedingly cheap cafe and Chris was delighted to see the same bolo de Caco stall as we had found on Porto Santo. I think the man behind the stall was as surprised to see us again as we were to see him.

The bank in Funchal

Giant plants

You’ll also be pleased to hear that we have found and sampled cake. They specialise in honey and molasses cake here which is nice, if very expensive. I am a bit confused though. I remember Madeira cake from home as a yellow sponge cake and this one is brown like the colour of Jamaica Ginger cake. I think we will have to try the cake made from rice that fits this description next.

Feeding time…Let them eat cake

Posted in Fun, Photographs, Sailing, Walking with tags , , , on September 19, 2010 by maidofmettle

Wind and waves looked good so it was time to leave Porto Santo.

In an attempt to make the boat move faster it was decided that a little clean was in order. We set to work on the water line with a brush and as far as could be reached with a snorkelling mask. Somehow Chris was offered some scuba diving gear to borrow from a German man called Wolfgang on the boat next to us in Porto Santo. Having tried it briefly in Cyprus some years ago, and after a quick reminder lesson he bravely tackled the bits of the boat that could not be reached by swimming. It was good but a bit scary and a bit difficult to relax to start with but he soon got the hang of it.

Scuba-scrub…watch out for barnacles

Unfortunately, Porto Santo has a regulation that does not permit scuba diving in the harbour without permission but seeing as he was intending only to go around the boat (and local divers with boats seemed to say that they did it) he decided to risk it. The second time he used it happened to coincide with a policeman wandering down the pontoon taking names of boats. Luckily he didn’t say anything though I’d be surprised if he didn’t notice Chris hiding under the pontoon or behind the boat occasionally bubbling!

Before leaving we needed to finish our mural. It is traditional (and some would say good luck) to paint the name of your boat on the wall of the break-water. I think we were surprised to see them here as we only knew that people did this in the Azores. There are hundreds of them so it was a bit tricky to find a space at first.

Chris spray painting after dark

Adding some small details

Finishing the boat

Once the mural was done we could officially leave. The time had also come to empty the composting toilet…Pete bravely volunteered to do this unenviable task at sea. Not going into too much detail, it’s not the nicest job but we feel that in some ways having a composting loo is much better than the alternative. Many people in boats flush everything straight into the sea so at least the composting helps decomposition a bit. Sorry Pete, glad you made it to some fresh air before it was too late 😉

The look says it all…

Nine hours after leaving Porto Santo, we got to Madeira. It was a bit calm at times but we managed to make it in daylight.

Quinta da Lorde – Madeira, note the tight turn and narrow entrance

I’m not sure whether the scuba scrub made all that much difference to our speed but maybe we’ll see in time. I managed my first drive into a berth. It was a bit tight and more wind than I would have liked but it went well. The marina is fantastic with possibly the swankiest toilets/showers we’ve seen so far and the most helpful staff imaginable. “Let me know what you are going to do whilst you are on the island and remember if we can do ANYTHING, let us know”.

Although nice looking, the town appears a bit ghostly and seems to be an almost completed development that they have sort of given up on but it gives an opportunity to do a lot of walking and exploring.

Ghost town Quinta da Lorde from the land

Like Porto Santo, Madeira also appears to be covered in little lizards. We fed some today after a short-ish walk to a pebble beach.

This way…maybe it’s the hats that make people think they are brothers?

Mmm orange – mini lizard on the beach

Next mission…find Madeira cake and wine.