Porto Santo, November 10, 2006
As we left Cascais we realized that we would not be back on a continent for 5 months, only island life now!!!
We left Cascais on November 5th, 2006 heading for Porto Santo, part of the Madeira archipelago in the company of our friends Edo and Marieke on Klef. Although they managed to sail a little faster, no doubt due to their secret weapon "de bolle Jan", we were clearly the better fishing boat with Todd C's magic lure.
Marco showing off his catch. This is a Mahi Mahi or also called Dorado.
Early morning on November 10th we finally saw the lighthouse and later the mountains of Porto Santo which lies 20 nm to the northeast of Madeira. Porto Santo is completely different from Madeira, even though it is only 37 km (23 miles) away from Madeira. Its dimensions are 11 km by 6 km, the land is dry and consists of sandstone and several of the high peaks on Porto Santo are volcanic cones. Porto Santo was discovered in 1418 when João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira, were on passage to Africa as part of Henry the Navigator's grand design, were driven off course by a gale and stumbled on Porto Santo. Porto Santo means 'Holy Port' no doubt named for the sailors feeling grateful to of found this island during the gale.
It did not take long afterwards for the island to become colonized and the first governor of Porto Santo was Bartolomeu Perestrelo, and was the father-in-law of Christopher Columbus. Porto Santo today has fewer than 4,500 inhabitants, and the basic layout of the tiny capital has changed little since Columbus lived here. historical records vouch for the fact that Christopher Columbus came to Madeira in 1478, probably acting as an agent for a sugar merchant. He later went to Porto Santo to meet with Bartolomeu Perestrelo who was from Columbus's home town and the governor of Porto Santo. There he met Filipa Moniz, Perestrelo's daughter. They were married in 1479, but Filipa died shortly after while she was giving birth to their son. Not much else in known about Columbus's visit to Porto Santo but it has not stopped the locals, like so many other places, of identifying the house that Columbus lived in.
Baía de Porto Santo seen from the viewpoint of Portela. Here Klef, Margalliti and Dalliance are berthed next to one another. Klef, being the faster boat, "S for speed" got into Porto Santo almost a day ahead of us. Margalliti with Jaap and Laura (another Dutch boat) were also there to greet us and catch our lines. Marco and I had met Jaap and Laura many times during the cruise so far but never really got a chance to really get to know them. Here in Porto Santo all of that changed and the 6 of us formed a bond that will be tough to break.
Our second day on Porto Santo the 6 of us, Marco, Marieke, Laura, Jaap, Edo and I decided to rent mopeds for a couple of days to explore the island. We called our selves the "Atlantic Crossing Gang", got tattoos and had a complete ball!!!!
Laura showing off her anchor tattoo. In the olden days when a sailor crossed the Atlantic Ocean they would get a tattoo of an anchor to symbolize the feat accomplished. We decided to all do the same.
Edo looking cool with his anchor tattoo!!!
Porto Santo may not be as lush and green as Madeira but it has a long white sandy beach, something Madeira does not have.
Marco and Jaap looking way too goofy riding double.
Jaap back on his own bike. They called this a 4 wheeler but anytime Jaap took a corner at any speed it quickly turned into a 2 wheeler. He had a great time riding it though!!!
One of the many beautiful view points along the road that went around the island,
The boys decided that this mound needed a little something so they topped it off with a large bolder. Hey boys, show us your muscles!!!!
The Atlantic Crossing gang on the road. Here we are heading to the peak located on the upper right hand portion of the photo (Pico do Facho) where Marco, Edo and I plan to hike to the top.
The view looking down the peak once we got on top. In the middle of the path you can just make out Laura.
Edo, Marco and I on top of Pico do Facho 506m, (1660 ft.).
After our hike we stumbled on this beautiful hotel and restaurant where we washed down the road dust and refueled our tanks (stomachs).
Back on the road again!!!
Edo and Marieke.
Another watering hole after our second day on hard riding.
Edo, Marco and Jaap.
Marieke, Edo, Jaap, Laura, Marco and I at the end of 2 really fun days.
Not only did we tour the entire island by mopeds we also met frequently at one another's boats for dinner and drinks. Here we are aboard Klef, Edo and Marieke's boat. The gang also came aboard Dalliance one morning for homemade Belgium waffles, sausage and fruit salad. During the days in Porto Santo, when we weren't riding, we hung out on the beach and swam, walked into town to check email and food shop. Most of our time in Porto Santo however was spent together, late nights and many laughs. Being around all of these Dutchies has also really improved my Dutch. I am learning all sorts of new words!!!
The view of Porto Santo as Marco and I are leaving and heading for La Palma Island, one of the Canary Islands. Klef and Dalliance will meet up again on November 28th in Gran Canaria where we will prepare our boats for another Atlantic Crossing. Unfortunately, Margalliti has decided to winter in Madeira but we will continue to "encourage" them to come to the Carib. It was very difficult having to say goodbye to Marieke, Edo, Laura and Jaap. We will miss them!!!