Just leaving Madeira at 9am after 2 nights moored in Funchal. Had a wonderful few days exploring this beautiful island. It began by anchoring outside the harbour with a spectacular backdrop on the 16th. This gave us the opportunity to walk the plank and jump in for a swim. Water temp was a lovely 22C. Most interesting dive was from Rory as he slipped off the platform, with a loud cheer from all! This was followed quiz that night in the bar, the permanent crew team won, as they always do (lots of nautical questions and a significant twist with quizmaster Mani at the helm!).(Ah but the 4 watches submitted questions none were submitted by the permanent crew!!)
Early on Tuesday morning we docked at the quayside. At 11am most of us departed on a 7 hour coach sightseeing tour of the Western side of the island, organised by JST. Byrn and Miguel went into town to do their own thing. The coach headed west which then gave us a photo stop on top of a cliff edge. Then we headed inland up and over the mountains with another photo stop at the peak (1,007m) and headed down to St Vincent on the Northern side, which was much cooler. The island has lots of banana plantations, vineyards, African tulip trees and Eucalyptus trees, with plenty of flowers in bloom and everything green, very beautiful. Roads are very hilly with lots of hairpin bends. Scenery is spectacular. We had an excellent lunch in a revolving restaurant by the sea, goes without saying we all coped with the circular movement! Back to the ship for a wash and change before heading into town for a meal and a beer/wine or two!
On Wednesday morning we did a number of assisted climbs up the masts, with some reaching the second platform, a tremendous achievement and team effort by all. Shore leave was granted and most headed into town to taste the local delicacies. The cable car was a favourite, with Andrew, Rene and Ali taking a hike from the top to Alto Pico a peak at 1129m. As if they needed more exercise! The evening was spent with more Madeira wine! All the sails are now set with a fair wind and we hope to do good time so that we can see the Salvage Islands before heading to Las Palmas. Best to get back to our watch, Aft Port (Joan W/L, Andrew, Nicolette, Zarah, Fred, Miguel and Bryn)