Azores compete for cruise ships, CR in town, 90% hotel occupation, & other snippets

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Vic … Christmas lights, with one of those new year greetings that should change date automatically tonight, but one second late. In fact it is there as a reminder about tonight, just in case anyone had forgotten!

Front Page News : source Diário de Notícias 30/12/2008

‘The Azores want to steal the cruise ships from the Port of Funchal’. Not surprising that is the main story of the day, as it is found out that in an aggressive move the cruise companies are being ‘seduced’ into sailing into Ponta Delgada instead of Funchal. After an investment of €50 million in the port there, new facilities are being used to woo lucrative stop-offs, and in one case already the ‘Queen Victoria’ has succumbed. That was only the 48th cruise ship visit there this year, the 14 of those since August brought 18,000 passengers. A spokesman said that although 2009 would be much the same as 2008, 2010 would be a year of growth for visiting cruise ships, and 2011 would be a ‘boom’ year. Because of the good conditions of the port in the Azores, it was awarded 3rd place by the ‘Cruisers Tourism Convention of Europe’, for the best ports in Europe.

The star of the show tonight may not be the famous firework display, but Cristiano Ronaldo, on his way back to Madeira after his team won on Monday. He will stay here over new year and return to England for his next game on Sunday.

Intensive traffic and jams in lower Funchal on Monday, due to the flock to the Winter sales, tourists, and people on holiday. More of the same was predicted for yesterday. Ahh! so there is some money around after all!

After new hospital management cleaned out all the old unwanted doctors a couple of months ago, the new brooms are now working their ways through the nursing level. Nurses and the trade union are all cheesed off, the staff are demotivated, and they feel as if they are treated as inferiors in the medical profession.

Other News :

From 15th January, the street vendors now found in Almirante Reis, will be moved into the fruit market in Funchal (Mercado dos Lavradores).

Those planning to see tonight’s fireworks out at sea might be disappointed with the weather, especially if booked on a smaller boat. 3.5 metre waves are forecast, and the port authorities have issued a warning. The Porto Santo Ferry does not intend to change it’s plans, and 5 cruise ships are expected to be present to see in the new year, which is expected to see “less wind and rain”. The €1.2 million firework display was expected to proceed as planned. Hotel occupation for tonight is at 90%, 5% down on last year.

The weather, so far, seems a lot better today, but it’s very unpredictable at present. I was told last night that if it does get bad the show (fireworks?) might be put back until tomorrow night. That apparently has happened before, but not in recent years. If I hear anything more I will post a message here later on, and if anyone else hears anything could they please do the same?

Generous visitors to Madeira Forum donated 2,450 presents (new and used toys etc), which were delivered to three institutions responsible for underprivileged and sick children.

Madeira airport on average registers around 60 aircraft movements a day, but that ‘soared’ to 109 on Monday, with an estimated 14,000 passenger movements … but that is nowhere near being a record. The period between 23rd December and next Monday will see 935 flight movements in total.


Talk about ‘how the other half live’. After my afternoon stroll nearly everyday I go to the public library for an hour to read whatever comes to hand. It’s all part of my Portuguese learning regime, because I get too easily distracted at home, but the truth is I nearly always nod off after about half an hour. Anyway, last week I went on Monday, and went to go again on Tuesday intending to ask what days the library was closed, as there was no notice saying so. It was already closed on that Tuesday when I arrived, with a notice in the window saying ‘Closed’, nothing more. I asked someone and he thought they might all be off at Xmas lunch, but as this was around 3pm I thought they won’t be coming back now and left it to the Wednesday … you guessed it closed again. So what with the two public holidays, I don’t know why they bothered to open up at all that week. This week I went in Monday, had my half hour kip, and went and asked about the opening days this week. Just tomorrow she said. So add the days together and that is 7 days of closure out of 10 weekdays, an average of 3.5 days off a week. If you apply that logic to the 17 public holidays in 2009, then in theory the excessive numbers of librarians get 60 days off a year, and that is just in public holidays. I now understand why they don’t put up a notice advising closure dates … they must be totally embarrassed! I say excessive numbers of librarian, because there are between 3 and 4 librarians most days, and about the same number of visitors it seems, and the number of books and visitors they have there would fit easily in my pantry. I got told off once for putting the books away when I had finished reading, and when I said I was just trying to help, I was told by an almost tearful lady “but it’s our job”. These are my observations about this library, and not a whinge … so I will not be leaving Madeira, just in case someone suggests that I do.

I rarely see shore fishermen around where I live, but on Monday there were twenty or more on the contained beach of Rib. Bra., a prohibited fishing area! I wandered over to peer at the catch, and I think they were Dourados, but I am no expert. They were all a decent and consistent size as well, probably 15 – 20cm long. I wonder if the offshore farm at Campanário has got damaged again, like it did in April when they lost tens of thousand of Euros of stocks in the storms. Anyone else spotted an unusual number of fishermen near them?

Aside from your valued blog responses (you can reply direct using the form at the bottom of each blog comments page), please send any unreported Madeira news, topical photos, events information, or snippets for the madeira4u blog to [email protected] – anyone can join in! Thank you!

9 thoughts on “Azores compete for cruise ships, CR in town, 90% hotel occupation, & other snippets”

  1. I heard from a farmer that weather wise this has been the worst Christmas and New Year since 1994. With all this chat about the weather I am suprised 'Sunshine Suzanna' has not paid a visit … not heard from her since the April storms.

  2. Thanks Martin, igualmente!

    Anyone over the east side who doesn't fancy going to Funchal for the fireworks tonight can see a display in Machico tonight of an equal 8 minute duration. This one only costs €25,000 compared to the €1.2 million spent in Funchal. They justify the event as being for people who can't get to or don't want to go to Funchal. Must be like watching a candle compared to a furnace, and you would think the money would be better spent providing public transport to get to the main event rather than organising a separate one.

  3. A vet explains in today's Diário the dangers of fireworks for animals, especially dogs, who should be shut indoors in the most soundproofed area of the house during firework displays. Apparently this is the worst time of the year for animal accidents, with death and injury caused by fleeing animals getting run over, strangling themselves in an effort to flee when tied up, leaping at windows and glass doors, self mutilation, and even suffering heart attacks .. there is a long list which also includes post event trauma. They can also turn aggressive and attack humans, cause car accidents etc.

  4. George Lowe (Gina Leach's father) died on Tuesday morning at about 3:00 am after a short illness. His funeral will be at the English Church on Friday 2nd January at 14:00. No flowers please at his wife's request. If you wish to make a contribution to an Old Peoples Home that would suffice.

  5. Hello and thanks for your news etc. over the holiday. What with the weather & our doses of 'flu and cold/throat infections, it was nice to have some idea of what was going on in the outside World!

    Speaking of the weather, I thought people might be interested to know that a local whom we know, born here almost 66 years ago, has told us that he has never in all his life known such a prolonged spell of awful weather. So maybe we're all allowed a whinge for once!

    Oh just one other thing. Someone wanted to know about that strange tree with the 'dangly bits' hanging down, which produces a kind of cotton, which blows away when the pods burst. I have it on good authority that these are kapok trees i.e. producing the stuff used to fill soft toys, cushions etc.. My dictionary says that it is also good for sound-proofing, so maybe we could use it as earplugs during the cherry-bomb season.

    Best wishes for a very Happy New Year


  6. Just had a look at the Calheta beach webcam – looks like a lot of sand has been washed away – the waves look very rough. Weather in London still surpisingly good for the time of year. Enormous crowds of people out shopping – this time they are carrying bags – unlike before Xmas. Plenty of bargains to be had especially if you buy from M&S.

    A prosperous new year to Der and all the blogger contributers and to all those who just read it!

  7. Hi All,

    Gina im sorry to hear of the loss of your father, thinking of you…

    In Funchal today the sea was real rough, but what a lovely sunny day , i bet the tourists are happy , plenty of them out in their shorts and tee shirts.

    Looking on goggle earth there is alot of cloud coming our way , but looks clear for tonight, so should keep dry.

    I hope you all have a real good night and a Happy New Year to everyone….



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