It is an old tradition that sailors crossing the Atlantic Ocean and stopping off in the Azores should draw a painting on the harbour wall at Horta. This is meant to bring luck on the crossing and the more elaborate the painting the more luck it brings!
This tradition has also been adopted in Porto Santo, where the harbour wall is full of painting and logos of boats who have passed through on their way north or south between mainland Europe, Madeira and the Canary Islands.
Porto Santo was our destination as we set off north last week from the Canary Islands, and used the unusual light south westerly winds to our advantage for a smooth if slow passage. We were accompanied by plenty of wildlife on the way, with two sightings of whales and plenty of dolphins playing with us both in the daylight and in the dark. We arrived in Porto Santo at 3 in the morning and as we sat drinking a well deserved beer on the deck, Liz quickly came up with a design for us to commemorate our passage and hopefully gain more good luck for our next trips north.
Wanting our painting to be visible at all times, we could only paint it at high water, and so had to wait until 4 in the afternoon to start. This gave the morning to have a look around the town and stroll along the sandy beach.
As soon as the tide was high enough we gathered a large amount of paint and brushes on the pontoon and Liz started. She looked really at home as she mixed colours and painted directly on to the wall. Not being much of an artist myself I was fascinated by how easy she made it look. 2 hours later and we had a stunning Velvet Lady design on the wall to commemorate our passage.
We opted for an evening meal ashore in Porto Santo, to try the local food and wine. After trying the local hooch – Poncha, various types of Madeira wine and also Porto Santo wine we were ready for a good nights sleep before our final sail back to Madeira.
Knowing we would have to beat to windward for our last sail, we set off early. The wind strengthened and strengthened, eventually becoming an unexpected gale from the south. Velvet Lady enjoyed being put through her paces at last, and with tiny scraps of sail up we were roaring along at 8 and 9 knots. A bit of a difference from our slow sedate passage, giving everyone a thrill on the last day!