We seem to arrive in some places and feel far too at home within a short time, wanting to stay and stay. Porto Santo is another such place with the stunning beach and friendly marina.
Last night we met a very interesting Swedish sailor who is off to Martinique from here in his tiny boat, which is a third of the size of ours and it will take him 2 months. No engine, no radar and little in the way of home comforts and he had it transported from southern England to Ireland to avoid having to cross any shipping lanes, as if the wind had died, he would have been unable to avoid large ships.
Although the Wi-Fi is fast here you need to go up to the marina office where they have thoughtfully put tables and chairs outside with electricity sockets for your laptops. Sitting in the sunshine overlooking the harbour isn’t too much of a hardship, so we have checked our emails and updated the blog every day. I also have my company’s annual accounts and personal tax return information from my accountants to approve but everything can be done online these days, which makes life much easier.
Right next to the marina is the sandy beach with clear turquoise water lapping the 3.5 km length and it is virtually empty. A half hour walk (which is 20 minutes longer than Rob likes to do normally, except when there is food at the end of it!) along the beach takes you into town where there is a Pingo Doce supermarket, restaurants, shops, banks, a park and neat cobbled squares fringed with palms.
Next to the church is the house where Christopher Columbus lived after he married the first governor’s daughter and which is now a small, disappointing museum. It only cost 1.5 euros entrance though and the English notes on the island’s history made interesting reading. Madeira was first mentioned in 1336 and with Porto Santo was important for trade in cereals, sugar, wine and a textile dye made from the Dragon tree gum. Pirates regularly raided the islands, taking food and most of the local women. Talking of dragons, Rob has been making a stencil of the dragon from our Welsh flag ready for the wall painting and we found red, green and white paint in town. So far no painting though as it is too windy the artist says so it may have to wait for Las Palmas instead.
We didn’t manage to go swimming today (where does the time go when you aren’t doing anything?) but will be tomorrow. We also need to change the engine oil, make cakes and get ready for the next trip to the Canary Islands, which is just a short hop of about 300 miles. Once again the weather and swell height are a priority, as we would like to go to Madeira en route and anchor in a beautiful bay the pilot book raves about.