Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Exploring Porto Santo

Yesterday was a mix of moderate SW winds, sunshine and showers so we hired a 250cc quad bike and set off to explore.

Here are a few photos to give you an idea of this amazing volcanic island:

The harbour, with the marina bottom right. The entrance faces south west
(exactly the wind direction last night!)

Looking west along the beach....

.. and south east towards the lighthouse we watched for hours on the passage

Dianne leans on the safety rail of the viewpoint!

Fabulours driving roads through the barren hills apart from:
(a) Long drops and complete lack of safety barriers and
(b) the quad bike's reluctance to go round corners!

Dianne on The Beast

Our picnic spot on the cliffs of the north coast

Black volcanic rocks and golden sand at the SW tip of the island

Wild water - a taste of more to come!

We certainly picked the right day for our trip (just got rained on once). Last night it blew up to a full gale from the southwest (so we had a bit of a noisy and uncomfortable night on board) with really heavy rain. As you'll have seen from the photos, the island is pretty arid and all the drinking water comes from two desalination plants, so we're not sure what they'll do with all the rain. The forecast suggests a bit of a break from tomorrow evening until the weekend then the long-term forecast suggests more heavy weather next week. This is definitely not normal for this time of year and we must be careful not to get trapped by more gales so we may have to miss out on Madeira and head straight for the Canaries (2 days' sail from here).

So we'll set off tomorrow, possibly, or Thursday (to let the swell reduce a little). Meanwhile, we'll service our engine and sort a few other jobs.

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