First Atlantic stop : Porto Santo to Funchal


We had settled in to our routine of watch systems and enjoying sunsets and sunrises on what was a trouble free sail from Gibraltar south towards the Madeira archipelago. After so long at sea, first sight of land is an event. We decided to make our first stop over on the tiny island of Porto Santos, the northern most island of the Madeiran archipelago. Although every landfall in the Mediterranean was always exciting, this little island was different. It was the most remote island I had ever visited by boat and the first time that I was going to set foot on an island that I had never heard of before! The feeling of achievement from having made such a great passage for several days considerably added to the experience. As always, Chris had got in before us (although this was not without help from his considerable engine horse power).


Porto Santo is such a small island that makes the little Channel Islands such as Alderney and Sark seem quite built up. Once we had put the hook down in the harbour and checked in, we got a taxi to the capital. The capital city boasts at least three shops and one café so we figured that it must be one of the smallest communities to boast a state of the art immigration office. The taxi driver turned out to be our cook at the marina restaurant that night and then turned out to be our tour guide and taxi driver for our tour of the island the next day.

The island has beautiful beaches on which we found miniscule Portuguese Men of War. When we got to Funchal a couple of days later we saw posters advertising Porto Santo as a paradise beach destination to get away from it all . The low season the island is nothing if not peaceful!

A taxi ride around the island for two hours came in at only 50 Euros and as there were five of us, it was a bargain. Our taxi tour took us to some stunning views at the top of Pico do Facho. 


After our tour of the island we made our way over to Madeira Grande. The afternoon trip to Madeira was short but memorable. Among the attractions on route were a twister, fabulous rainbows, the airplane that landed onto a landing strip on stilts and pilot whales in the bay in front of Funchal. By the time we arrived we were on top of the world.