28. October 2012 · 6 comments · Categories: Posts

Hurry up you two!

Well off to explore the island we go.

Of course we got a little lost along the way and ended up joining the proper trail later.  But sometimes it is fun to ‘walk the path less trodden’.

View west from the north east side of the island.
Incredible Volcanic cliffs

We somehow ended up on the other side of the island.

We could look across at Porto Santo and the crossing we did yesterday.


Looking North towards Porto Santo

Looking North East

In England we used to find a pub in the valley of every mountain we climbed.

In Portugal we found a mobile pubs at the top of the mountains.


Mobile ‘pub’ vans of Portugal


Ever been in a pub with this kind of view?

I found the local wildlife very fascinating.

Lots of little lizzards sunning them selves on the rocks

But I was rubbish at catching any.

Ain’t nothing but a hound dog

We followed the coast east and caught up with the actual trail.

Volcanic rock and blue seas

Off to the South coast we go

The views on the South side of the East coast were just as beautiful.

Some things reminded us of the Dorset Coast.

Portuguese Durdle Door

The trail followed the ridges of volcanic rock, complimented by the green grasses.

Foot paths carved into the ridge sides

Incredible texture in the volcanic rocks

Steep cliff edges

I got stuck on the lead in spots. Parinoid humans.


Looking to the East and the end of the Island

Light house at the furthest Eastern point

Un-inhabitited islands to the South. Each is a nature reserve that require a permit to visit. Probably no dogs allowed.

Then we had to make are way back to the Marina.  Did not want to miss our first happy hour at the Marina’s local bar (50% off drinks from 5:30-6:30)

Looking south west including the capitol in the distance

The capitol city Funchal in the distance

I was pretty ‘tuckered out’ as we made our way back to the Marina.

Are we there yet?


View of the ‘town’ and marina complex

I have to tell you about the ‘Marina complex/town’.

The Marina is done, set against the stark cliff side, but the town is still under construction and…….deserted.

Empty villas with a sea view

It is like a deserted Portuguese Disneyland with the required church.

Comical bridges over road down to Marina

Deserted town square


We found this rock pool

We found this great place to soak our feet after our long walk.

Finally I get to soak my sore feet.

Unfortunately the humans heard about my rock pool and took it over for a morning swim at high tide.

It may have been overcast and raining, but it did not seem to dampen their spirits.

I barked at them, but they did not get out of my pool

I don’t think you guys are supposed to be in here!


You definately should not be doing that


You are very naughty humans!!!!!!


You can’t keep anything a secret when the beer is half price!

28. October 2012 · Comments Off on Arquipeligo da Madiera: Passage to Madeira- Mad Dogs and English Men · Categories: Posts

Have you ever heard the saying ‘only mad dogs and English men go out in the noon day sun’  well our trip from Porto Santo was one of those times we should have stayed ‘in doors’.


The forecaste was for strong winds and 3m waves, but there was no wind forecaste for the following day.  We have not got the money to motor every where, so we hoped it would be a fast passage.


We left the wonderful rock and beaches of Porto Santo for Madeira in the late morning and headed out into the bay.  The waves were small in the protection of the island and we were able to race along at 7-8 nm with the main reefed (made smaller) and the foresail double reefed.  The high volcanic peaks of Madeira could be seen in the distance.


By noon we were clear of the islands protection and out in the full force of the Atlantic swell and wind.  We were still making good speed, but now 3m waves were hitting the boat on the beam (side of the boat).  A couple of bigger ones nocked the boat over enough to dip the foresail in the water.  Spirit of Argo is a good heavy boat and she kept her course and barrelled through the waves towards Madeira.


As usual it is the human/dog element that gives up first on rough passages.  I am afraid I was sea sick for the first time.  Unlike the humans, I did not get it over the side of the boat, and instead filled the cockpit floor.  Luckly I had the humans to clean up after me, but I felt very sorry for myself.


I’m fine honest. Just leave me here to die!

It was a fast passage and within 3 hours we were in the lee of Madeira and the waves eased.   We ran into another boat we knew and they were nice enough to take some pictures of us.

Spirit of Argo with the Madeiran coastline in the background


Spirit of Argo reefed, but in calmer waters

‘Tiscala’ followed a route from England very similar to us and are off to the Canaries to join the ARC.  You can catch their adventures on magneticdeviation.wordpress.com


This ‘mad dog’was very happy to make land fall with my ‘English men’ on the South Eastern end of the Island at the Marina ‘Quinta do Lorde’.


Approaching Madeira from the East


View of the South of the Island from the boat. The capitol city Funchal in the distance.



25. October 2012 · 1 comment · Categories: Posts

Well we have ‘hunkered down’ and survived some high winds here on the island.

Everyone outside the harbour moved in and we all ‘battened down the hatches’ and got ourselves ready for the storms to come, and they came!

Everyone survived them and, except for some broken sleep, not a boat suffered any more damage then warp (fancy name for mooring ropes) chafe.

Although the harbour walls blocked most of the storms waves, some still came in the entrance and bounced around in the harbour, reflecting off the walls and making everyone roll about.

Those boats tied on at the tiny Marina complained the constant noice of the pontoons heaving up and down and their lines snatching kept them up for the night.

Those of us on anchor did not have the noise, except the howling wind, but instead had the ‘roll’.  The refracted waves rolling the boat about.

I call it the ‘rock a by baby’ syndrome, but basically if the waves hit the side of the boat it can roll back and forth uncomfortably.  It is not that bad in a harbour, but we have had it really bad on anchor off a beach before.  Go back and see all the stuff we tried at Audierne.

Looking at the faces of those in the Marina, after 5 days of high winds, I am glad we are on anchor.  Mind you, we have had a few bumpy dingy rides to the Marina for my walks.  Got to keep the humans fit!

The weather looks to break tomorrow, so we are going off to see the big island Madeira.  Sadly many of the ARC boats are too worried about deadlines and will not be joining us.  They need to use the 2 day weather window to get to the Canaries.

We have made this MONSTEROUS ocean passage (at least for us) to get to the Arquipeligo and they have to rush off with out seeing everything.  Is that not the reason we sailed here?  The ARC fleet have to be in Las Palmas: Grand Canaria, by the beginning of November.

Unfortunately there are a set of low pressure systems set to hit us.  And with them comes strong winds and unsettled weather.  We will be weather bound in Madeira for at least a week.  Fine for us to go sight seeing, but no good for the poor ARC boats.

Before we leave Porto Santo we must paint the boats name on the wall.

Boat names at on the harbour wall

It is a tradition, in just a few ports in the world, to paint the name of your boat on a wall near the Marina or anchorage.  The Azores is the only other place we have seen it, but some one told me there is a place in Finland that people also do it.

Well if it is part of the tradition, we best follow suit.  The humans got me some paints, brushes and some rubber gloves and away I went.


Boat name with the artist

Hope you like it!

20. October 2012 · 4 comments · Categories: Posts

Boring day for me.  The humans left me behind to explore the island.

They hired a moped, with a full tank of gas, for 30 euros for the day (24 hours).  And off they went, abandoning me, to go exploring.

They tell me a motor bike is the best way to see the island because:

*it is a small island with windy roads

*the roads are very steep (so forget cycling)

*there are lots of places to turn off the roads to catch the view

*there is very little other traffic on the roads

*when there is any traffic it is usually other moped riders


View of beach from the cliffs on the East side of the island


View over main town from East end of island


Their ‘trusty steed’


Mountain top wind mills

They could look down on the islands harbour and it’s tiny Marina.

Harbour with ferry to Madeira and a tiny Marina in the corner

There is me on the boat, left behind on anchor in the harbour


The North side of the island was much more ‘dramatic’ with steep cliffs that were a mixture of volcanic rock and sand stone, dropping ‘breath takenly’ into the sea.


Steep decent


Dramatic cliffs


Rocky islands off the North coast


Wind worn patterns in the sand stone cliffs of the North side of the island


They then drove over to the West end of the island where the cliffs decended down back into the South beach.

Conflicting winds and currents collided making a froth of waves between the mainland island on off lying rocks.

Cliffs decenting onto the beach on the West side of the island

Off lying rocks on the West end of the island

(I will add a video for you here later…when Speiburg is done)


They finished their little tour with a trip to the botanical gardens, in the centre of the island, and the mandatory drink at a beach side cafe.  All in all they said it was a picture postcard day.



They still have the bike until tomorrow afternoon, so they are going to get some groceries and run them back to the boat before returning it.

They are also going to visit Christopher Columbus’s house with the kids.

Watching movies on Spirit of Argo with Emily and James


19. October 2012 · Comments Off on Arquipelago da Madeira: Porto Santo · Categories: Posts

The humans finally got up this morning and took me for a walk into town.

They were a little sluggish this morning as they over indulged last night.  They were kindly invited for drinks on one of the ARC boats.

You can see that the sailing ‘lot’ are a mixture of ages.  This group was also a mixture of nationalities including American, British and Spanish.

Once the humans got moving this morning we headed down the beach for the town centre.

Looking west down the beach towards the town centre


The town pier


The town centre

Of course there is a church in the town centre with painted tile work

After finding a scooter hire place and a grocery store we headed back to the Marina for a siesta.

A long but pleasant walk back to the Marina

Looking North into the islands volcanic interior

The weather is to change starting Sunday.  If we do not leave today or tomorrow, we will be stuck here for a week until it settles again.

We have decided there is still a lot to see on the island and we do not want to rush away.  It is also cheaper to be stuck here then on the main island of Madeira.

The humans plan to rent a scooter for 30 euros tomorrow so they can explore the island further.  The winds are the lightest tomorrow, so the boat should be fine left alone for the day in the harbour.  Besides I will be aboard to watch it for them.