Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Of kindness and helpfulness

 "Hey!" yells someone from the car that pulls up next to us, "you need gas?" We stand at the roadside and look a bit bewildered, because we can't believe that with our appearance, a sack truck pulling behind us on which a 20l gasoline can stinks, someone offers us a ride. "Jump in", I wanted to reply that the canister smells a lot like gasoline, so he has already packed it and stowed it behind the driver's seat. We also get in and drive to the gas station. When we had filled up the tank, we wanted to say goodbye to the nice man, but he wouldn't let us negotiate with him and so we drove with him to the marina, where he said goodbye to us at Dinghi Dock. A beer, a coffee or anything else? "Sorry, I can't make it, my kids are waiting." Yes, you have to get used to this friendliness and helpfulness or better not, because this is something very special. We use the gained time for shopping and test our outboard motor, which obviously feels comfortable again and has started its service without complaining.

Pico do Castelo, Porto Santo

Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, the next day we set out to climb the striking mountain that looks like a sugar loaf. It is called Pico do Castelo and is 437 m high. At first we walk through the suburbs of Vila Baleira always up the hill. Halfway up, you already have a good view of the airport of Porto Santo. The island is quite bare below. At an altitude of 200m a wide belt of cacti starts to grow. Only at a height of 300m you find forest on the island. Today it is not too warm, but the steep path makes us sweat a lot. On the north side of the Pico do Castelo a cool wind is blowing. We reach the top and take our first rest. The small lizards on the stone wall are trusting and even crawl up Gaby's back. Unfortunately the little critters don't know that Gaby doesn't like it at all. She jumps up with a scream and the little guy, frightened to death, flees. 

Northcoast of Porto Santo

From up here you can see the whole island, and tomorrow we decide to take a walk along the south coast to the most western point of the island. But first we go down again. Halfway down we find a hut with a guestbook. We sign it and document that we were on the island. When we arrive in the village we sit down on a terrace with a bar and watch the people passing by. We like to do this, the warm afternoon sun shines on our belly.

11 km golden sand beach

The distance from the Marina Porto Santo to Ponta da Calheta is about 11 kilometers. 11 kilometers of golden sand beach. I think this is why the island is called the "Golden Island". There are only a few people on the way. The big resorts of the island are closed. I don't know how to finance the running costs of the big resorts. A few small hotels are still open, but they are far from being fully booked. The southwestern corner of the island is known for its beautiful sunsets, but we don't want to wait that long and will start our way back in the early afternoon. If you want to walk comfortably, look for the sand that is compacted by the water because you don't sink too deep into it. Unfortunately, you always walk a little sloping because the beach slopes down to the sea. If you want to walk straight, you sink a little more and it is more difficult to get ahead. Gaby doesn't mind if she has to walk on a slope, and the chances of finding some shells in the water are much higher. I, on the other hand, like it more straight and sink in a little more (could also be the weight). If you see us walking like this you would think we were arguing, and each one wants to have his peace before the other. That would be a way to manage conflicts, but unfortunately, when we argue, we usually don't have a beach at our disposal, and certainly not a nice wide one. Anyway, after our return on the Katinka we get the dinghy in and get ready for our departure. 

Tracks in the sand, Ponta da Calheta, Porto Santo

The anchor winch creaks and I suspect evil. It is seven o'clock in the morning and it is just beginning to dawn. You don't see much yet, only what you see I don't like at all. A concrete block is hanging from the anchor. I ride with the boat hook between anchor and concrete block and let the chain rush out. With a flopp the block says goodbye and falls into the depth. Once again  have had luck. We leave the harbour and set sails, course towards Madeira. With five knots we make quite fast progress. The wind still increases a bit and so we reach again eight knots, so that we enter the port of Quinta do Lorde faster than planned. 

Port of Quinta do Lorde, Madeira

The marina belongs to a large hotel resort, which has obviously gone into insolvency. Here there is only the marina and the Captain`s Bar. The huge hotel complex, which resembles a small village, is closed. We will stay here for a week to wait for a favorable weather window to the Canary Islands and explore the island from here. What we experience on Madeira and which places we visit here, you can read in the next blog. Until then, as always, fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.