The Selvagem Islands


‘I want an adventure’ said Graham in a telephone call to me 3 weeks before the trip.  ‘Which trip shall I come on?’
‘I’ll be disappointed if it’s all too easy’ said Caspar at the start of the trip.

Well we weren’t disappointed and we had a great adventure on our sail last week  from Tenerife to Madeira.  The weather was mixed and varied from flat calm to Force 7, with sunshine and showers on the way.  After a tiresome beat at the beginning the wind freed us for the second half of the trip, and Madeira was visible at night from 50 miles away.  First the glow of the lights and then more definition at about 30 miles.

Amongst the highlights of the trip that Caspar and Graham talked about were

The dolphins leaping out of the sea on our first day
The blow of two whales off the starboard bow
The big seas and strong wind – more than they had been in before
Helming whilst sailing at over 9 knots
Learning how to use a staysail
Experiencing life down below – like in a tumble dryer
The food
Making landfall and arriving in Madeira

For me the highlight of the trip were the Selvagem Islands.  Where are they you might ask?  The Selvagem Islands are a nature reserve belonging to Madeira that are situated just east of the straight line course from Tenerife to Madeira.  A permit is necessary to visit them and on a calm day there is reported to be a beautiful anchorage.  We did not have flat calm, or permission, but we managed to get a great view of these jaggy rocks in the middle of the Atlantic.  With the wind direction we had, the dilemma was do we go west of them, do we go east of them, or do we simply go straight through the middle of the gap which is deep enough!

We ended up sailing to the east of the islands, waiting for the new wind, which came at just the right time for us to tack and see the north of the islands too.  Maybe next year it will be flat enough to get closer!

All ready now in Madeira to start the next leg of our passage north to the Azores. We will be coming south again next year and the Autumn and Winter programmes are now loaded on our Schedule, so do take a look.