It is probably not the best time to write a blog as we have just finished with the marina office on a bad note; in fact we have finished with Madeira on a bad note so please take any criticism of the island I have with a pinch of salt but you will hear from the experience I have had why I have bitter thoughts towards the island.
As you will have seen from the previous posts we had a great sail to Quinta do Lorde and were welcomed with the knowledge of great electricians that would be eager to assist with our electrical faults. One of the main reasons for coming to Madeira was to get our electrics replaced but as you may have gathered this is not the case.
The resort and marina at Quinta do Lorde has now been termed ‘The Prison Camp’. It is a resort that has not yet been completed so no one is living here, it is literally in the middle of nowhere, and I am seriously not kidding. It takes nearly two hours to get a bus to Funchal, the main city, that is if you are still alive after riding the coach, which is driven precariously over the narrow roads by a guy who only uses one hand to steer. The showers are cold on most occasions and the floor so slippy that you can guarantee breaking your neck before arriving to the shower. For all of this you pay 40 Euros a night for a 40ft boat and 28 Euros for a 26ft boat – not the cheapest marina in the world.
One night Carlotta and myself were making full use of the happy hour and the night had gone on so I was already a little tipsy by 21:00. I went to the toilet only to be locked in for twenty minutes by the staff; if Carlotta had not come to find me I would have been there for much longer.
Coming to the pontoons. Since arriving here we have not slept well. The swell in this marina is shocking. Troskala is constantly snatching at the warps not to mention the endless rubbing of warps throughout the boat. Even with light winds there is still a swell and boats situated nearer to entrance have a hell of time.
In regards to the electrics – we had a guy come over very eager to measure the area for the new switch panels; this was Monday. We heard back from him on Wednesday, where he asked us to select which panel we wanted, so we selected and awaited the quote – this never came. We were then told the panel would be with us Friday (today) – it never arrived. We were told that the plane could not land so the panels were not arriving, however, after spending a day in the office chasing the panels it materialized that they had never been ordered. We spent all day in the office arguing a bill of 1,500 euros for 16 switches; these are only 240 euros on-line. They boat yard were basically wanting to rip us off royally. The ladies in the office did try to help the matter but with no success and only a small apology. As a note do not use the yacht services at Quinta do Lorde, they are unreliable, expensive, not punctual and far from apologetic. It is a shame for a new marina to get things so wrong.
You have two choices for marinas in Madeira, Funchal, which you have to pre-book as you will never get in if you turn up. Funchal is more expensive and dirty, the anchorage is not very well protected. Quinta do Lorde is clean but for the reasons stated above this is a far from an ideal marina with a long way to go to provide any kind of good service, although they are trying.
The weather is another disappointment and I unfortunately I cannot blame Quinta do Lorde for that. We have had days of rain and heavy squalls, in fact, it has rained every day we have been here. The humidity is 83% and nothing dries. Every time we have walked one of the Levadas we have become drenched, with poor visibility along the way it is hard to see the vistas. You need to hire a car if you want to get around, there is no doubt about that, but again be careful as one of the yachts managed to rent a car for 18 euros a day but another charged 80 euros a day. I have caught a cold from being soaked day after day, which has not gone down well on my score system for Madeira.
I do have some good points to mention about Madeira as it would be completely unfair to leave on all negative points. The Island is gorgeous. It feels like being in another world when you are up in the mountains. The people are friendly and the cuisine fantastic, especially the sea-food. We had a great afternoon in Porto Moniz with April & Kane dining on sardines, squid and octopus, whilst over looking stunning mountains. Madeira may not have beaches but what it lacks in sand it makes up in rock pools that are semi manmade.
If it were not for the weather and being let down by contractors I am sure my view would be more appreciative of this island but I cannot say I will be in a rush to come back. For anyone who loves walking it is a must see but if you are reading this and planning to sail here in the near future, think again.
The day after addition to the blog:
Fantastic news! Last night a few yacht owners were talking about our plight and found a gentleman who lives on the island and also owns a yacht. This gentleman (Harald) designed the original software for the ATM machine and has a vast knowledge of electrics. In 10 minutes he had rectified the burning fuse issue, which was caused by a load on a negative terminal that should not have been there. Harald then checked the rest of our electrics and continuity throughout the boat and basically said the system looks pretty good and there is no need to invest any more time and money into it.
So Troskala is ready to make the final leg to Gran Canaria but we are stuck for another day in Madeira and all being well we will depart tomorrow (05th November).