Windsurfing feature ; NYT explains the Portugal economy ; Plane spotters paradise

Today’s photo – Many thanks to Tom … that odd looking ship again leaving Funchal Port.

madeira news blog 1002 tom just left funchal port 2

Many thanks to Becky again for finding a couple more ‘web snippets’ :

Interesting blog, part photo-journal around Madeira, part travel guide… by Tommy, who lives in London and "likes beautiful things". TOMMY BLOG

Blog (in English) by two Danish cyclists:  "today we got up at around 9 and decided to take a short and easy bike ride of about 45 km with approx. 1500 vertical meters". Rather them than me!  [Start at the end of the blog to read about their week in Madeira in chronological order…. ] BLOG

Tobi, who been laid up with back problems, has used his time to come up with a new website. Very eye-catching Tobi. Good luck with it. TOBI IN MADEIRA

Many thanks to Elaine (out East) for these web snippets :

Europe Watches as Portugal’s Economy Struggles. A good article in New York Times last Friday explaining Portugal’s economic difficulties and shows that the government’s in denial. NYT

Becky found a site on cruise ships that call at Madeira. Now plane spotters at the Airport of Madeira upload their photos.  PLANES AND STUFF & MADEIRA SPOTTERS

Many thanks to Paul in Paul do Mar for this latest feature :

Windsurfing in Madeira: some serious (all-be-it mast breaking) wave potential!

Madeira is a world class surfing venue but would it work for a two week windsurfing trip? Olympic sailor, Hugh Sims Williams came out to Madeira to train on his RS:X but also sneaked in his wave board.


Why Madeira? Because in the peak summer season you will be the only one on the water! They only saw two other windsurfers in their two week stay in August. That would tell you that the island is not renowned for its windsurfing and the high cliffs of Madeira make a lot of beaches unsailable unless you’re on big kit and prepared to sail offshore. However, they did find some serious (all-be-it mast breaking) wave potential!

Madeira’s windsurfing world champion: João RODRIGUES. In 2008 at the RS:X European Championships João RODRIGUES stepped onto the top step of the podium at an Olympic windsurfing class European Championship. He did so in 1996 and 1997 following up his World Championship gold medal in Port Elizabeth in 1995.

Madeira windsurf spots : Besides the most well-known Caniço, Funchal, Achadas da Cruz try …

Paul do Mar: faces south-west, long pebble/stone beach, gets some of the biggest waves on the island. Good luck!

Caniçal: launch from the beach next to the harbour. Only suitable for Formula or big board sailing as offshore winds are standard during the summer trades. It is very windy here and provides good access to sail around to the north side of the island, where the swell is massive. This is where we launched to train on the Olympic RSX kit.

Cabo Girão: Vidar Jenson sailed here a few times when he visited the island in the spring of 2006. He’s quite good though!

Link to source       Blog site: Madeira Windsurfing with films

One of Madeira’s Windsurfing clubs: ‘Forca 5’

Pete says "thought you might like this as this ship did dock in Funchal …". CAMERA FOUND

Many thanks to Elaine once again for yesterday’s top news stories :

DIÁRIO 11/02/2010


132 cases of parental neglect. Every year the Commission for the Protection of Children and Youth handles hundreds of cases of parental neglect, many ending up in the Family and Juvenile Court. At present, there are 132 cases pending. Over 90% are cases of parental neglect and the services protect children who are in danger of being threatened or harmed. Some cases are very serious. The number of prosecutions increase each year and a significant number include children between the ages of 6 – 10 years. The danger can be to the child’s safety, health, moral training, education or development. The options are: child kept with the parents with appropriate support; live with another family member or trusted person; foster care; institutional care or adoption. The crime of abandonment can lead to a prison sentence of between 2 – 5 years, physical impairment from 2 – 8 years and in the case of death, 3 – 10 years.


No one takes responsibility for the pond. Continuation of Tuesday’s story of the polluted state of the Lagoa do Lugar de Baixo. The SDPO rejects the blame for the state of conservation of the pond. They are responsible for the two buildings and recuperation of the coastal area to the east of the pond but the pond itself is in the public domain. The pond is under the public maritime domain but the Port of Funchal said the area is the responsibility of the Regional Government. The SRES of the Regional Government and the Mayor of Ponta do Sol refused to discuss the issue. The Regional Director of the Environment said there are no projects for conservation or maintenance of the space. It is not known if the Quercus report for the SDPO has been recognized.

Carnival increases in Câmara de Lobos. More than a thousand participants in this year’s Carnival Parade on Monday 15th at 21.30. At present, there are 1,200 people in 18 groups.Two popular dance troupes from the Madeira Carnival will perform: Geringonça  and Malta do Furor, and the Carnival ends with Kontraband playing in the Municipal Market. On the previous day, Sunday, the Trapalhão Carnaval is at the Estreito de Câmara de Lobos. This parade is devoted to humour and social criticism, where anyone can take part for free.

Victims claim to have been persecuted. Two women living in Caminho Velho da Igreja in São Roque claim they have been assaulted in the street and on the bus. In the last seven months, they have reported five of the most serious cases to the police. The neighbouring couple who have been allegedly threatening and assaulting them, blame them for their son being taken into care by social workers. This was because of illegal drug taking and they say they will continue the harassment until the son is returned.


Cruise ships call at Porto Santo next year. There have been no visits by cruise ships during the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 but in 2011, three will call at Porto Santo. These have a capacity of 2,300 tourists and 1,000 crew members. The first ship calls on May 1 2011, the British Amadea, and it is the inaugural visit of this ship. On 26 July 26th, the Artanis calls and on August 10, the Amadea returns. The busiest year was 1999 when 10 cruise ships visited Porto Santo and there have been 42 mooring between 1999 – 2007.


Theme Park gives discounts in museums. The Madeira Theme Park in partnership with DRAC, allow holders of annual passes for the Theme Park to visit museums more frequently and cheaply. Discounts are for holders of  the Normal Pass (costs 30 Euros) and Junior and Senior Passes (cost 24 Euros). Entry to selected museums will vary from free entry to a maximum cost of 2 Euros.



Fura Samba associates fado to samba. Fura Samba honours Fernando Pessoa (Portuguese poet) as this year celebrates his birth 120 years ago. Tributes also paid to the Portuguese Maritime Expansion and the fado singer Amalia Rodrigues. Their anthem links fado and samba, evoking the poetry of Fernando Pessoa. The project’s theme is "Samba-Enredo – Mar Português”. It describes a colourful world which goes from: the white foam of waves breaking on the beach and the wind in the sand …. Portugal where there was once a dream that we would be owners of the world ….. The dark blue of the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, the turquoise beaches of Brazil and the green waters of the seas surrounding India. Gold and silver colours represent gold and silver items, pearls and precious stones; wealth brought to Portuguese territory. In the two floats there will be orange tones of the sun setting over Cabo do Bojador and Cabo do Medo. Fura Samba utilize 5,000 ostrich feathers, 15,000 ‘rabos de galo’ (rooster tails) and 250 pheasant feathers. The ‘queen’ is a former Miss Madeira and Miss Tourism Portugal. Fura Samba will take part in the Porto Moniz Carnival on Sunday at 15.30.

João Egídio unveils “Os Encantos do Mar”. The theme this year is ‘The Charms of the Sea’. The float will carry five people; three in the front tractor and two in the trailer. They will be dressed as elements of the deep, such as mermaids, corals, reefs, anemones, plants and other underwater creatures. The dancers will be dressed as starfish and conch shells. João Egídio said, "The mysteries of our fantasy about the secrets of the sea, mean that humans throughout history imagine non-existent beings that become wonderful, splendid and colourful."

Many thanks to Vanessa Swesnik for this complete translation :

Quality and Food Safety : Seminar brought together close to 100 within the hotel sector.

Best practices in the hotel sector were the focus of a seminar organized by SGS Portugal (the auditing and certifying company) and the Commercial and Industrial Association of Funchal (Associação Comercial e Industrial do Funchal- ACIF) that took place in Funchal yesterday. The seminar, entitled “From Quality to Food Safety- a Responsible Destination”, had close to 100 participants from diverse regional hotel and restoration businesses.

Cristina Silva, coordinator from the SGS Portugal delegation, told the DIÁRIO that this initiative met the expectations of the organization insofar as it managed to get a group that is interested in and motivated by the issue of sustainability (which is more and more in demand for tourist destinations like Madeira) into the auditorium of the Regional Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaria Regional do Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais).

For Cristina Silva, a destination is only totally sustainable when it meets internationally recognized best practices, as the majority of tourists to the Autonomous Region are foreigners. However, she thinks Madeira has made important steps towards this aspiration which is now a requirement of tour operators, international organizations, and to become certified or have a good reputation as a tourist destination. The SGS delegate believes we are moving closer towards sustainability, but that it is necessary to meet and exceed the expectations of clients. “We have taken significant steps in Portugal and the Region, and we are not the exception,” she added.

Best practices were the focus of the seminar yesterday through the voices of diverse speakers covering everything from how to receive guests at hotels to food safety and control. Director of Quality and Food Safety of the Regional Government of Madeira, Celeste Bento, emphasized the regularity present with which standards are met in the Region- something that places regional restoration on a high level of quality. “Madeira is a responsible destination in terms of food safety; it’s well controlled and there is increasing sensitivity to the issue,” says Cristina Silva.

The seminar was well attended and had presentations given by regional specialists from ACIF and the organizing company. Brit Adrian Evans spoke of the “Hygiene Monitored” mark, a seal from SGS Group which attests to the existence of food safety best practices in the establishments audited by the group. In Madeira, this seal is assigned by SGS in conjunction with the ACIF.                       SOURCE : Diário de Notícias

In her email to me, Vanessa, who has recently qualified in Portuguese, said "Aside from being helpful, translating for your blog has planted a travel bug in my heart to come see Madeira. I would really love to travel to the Laurissilva Forest!!". You must come Vanessa, you must come and see our wonderful island and meet our wonderful people.

Many thanks to Paul for these two important economy news links :

Portugal ‘will not’ quit the euro. Portugal will not leave the euro, Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos has told the BBC : MORE

Portuguese budget vote yesterday Thursday was a victory for Prime Minister Jose Socrates’ government, which has warned of serious political consequences if the budget is not passed.

-Budget bill passes first hurdle in parliament

-Opposition party PSD helps passage with abstention

-Socialists seek to cut 2010 deficit to 8.3 pct / GDP (Updates with more quotes, measures)

Source Reuters : MORE

Today’s news headlines from the front page of the Diário de Notícias :

Guide book for five nights of Carnival in the discos – Madeira and Porto Santo are going to samba [?] from today until Tuesday. See the suggestions p.37. Yes you can actually click that link, and it will take you to the list of dates and events, and that saves me a job.

Today’s main news headline :  Court leaking – The storms flood achieves, Justice Police and stairways. Works are needed. The Palácio da Justiça in Funchal has sprung a leak(s), and in the latest downpours water found it’s way down the stairs. The water not only affected current files, but also affected the offices of the Justice Police who are located in the basement. It’s an old problem, in a prestigious building from the 1960’s, that has received the praise of many visiting dignitaries over the years, especially for the use of historic tiles. It is well known for becoming a ‘swimming’ pool in Winter, and an ‘oven’ in Summer. The roof leaks all over the show, the walls are sprouting mould, all  in a flagship building that doesn’t even have a visitors bathroom.

‘Forestry’ de-authorized Câmara – The landfill site  in Landeiros (Machico) has a municipal license. But the GR seized the truck. Also today’s main front page photo, showing a small plot of land, with a digger and a Scania truck, which may or may not be in the process of being seized … it’s hard to tell from a photo.

Celebrating the joining of the Europe Union ‘with Rome burning’ – In a time of crisis, Socialist Party Leader Serrão criticises commemorations of the 25th anniversary of Madeira in the EU. It’s like the story of Nero and the harp [wasn’t it a fiddle?].

There is also another lead story about Miguel Alburquerque, President of Funchal Council (who makes Uncle Bertie seem like Cristiano Ronaldo). Câmara Municipal of Funchal takes action against the state  – It relates to the delayed transfer of funds from the IRS. The action had been threatened, and now it has actually started, in the Court dealing with Financial and Administrative matters. The action against central government relates to a delay in the payment of tax funding valued at over €5 million, that had been claimed by the council in March 2009. Alburquerque says he will not give up on the funds … "Funchal Câmara can not be penalized by the failure of the Government of the Republic". I am going to regret that comment above I am sure, as Sr. Miguel is a red-hot favourite to succeed Uncle Bertie as president in 2011.

The main sport / football headline today : Promotion doesn’t excite in the Regional [league] of football. This is about the small league below the newly formed Série Madeira, and the fact that some of the teams are not so keen on the idea of going up to the next rung.

I really can’t find anything that interests me much in today’s news, so I am off early downtown on the off chance that the weather will improve and the children’s carnival will take place. Don’t forget to send me in some carnival photos this weekend please.

If anyone else can oblige with the translation of any of the ‘blank’ or sparsely filled headlines, or other news stories, here is the link. All contributions much appreciated. 

If you can, please contribute something Madeira related. A funny story or good or bad experience, a news item, or a story from a Madeira newspaper, a photo or video, a teaser, news of a bargain flight or item in a supermarket. Please help keep this blog going … without user contributions it won’t survive. Please don’t send in automatic translations (like Google translator) without checking them through and correcting them first, thanks.

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9 thoughts on “Windsurfing feature ; NYT explains the Portugal economy ; Plane spotters paradise”

  1. I don’t know if the whole island is the same this morning, but it is certainly very wet over my way, which is a real shame for the kids, with the carnival parades supposed to be today. All that costume making and preparation for nothing!

  2. Weather not looking good for the next week , but tomorrow is forecast dry, but may rain in the evening so could spoil carnival. Im watching at home this year so no photos from me, but i hope to see plenty on the internet.

  3. We are coming over to Madeira next week for a fortnight and are hoping that the weather there will improve. However it can only be better than UK where it is still freezing. I would love to see some prolonged sunshine!

    Good luck with your blog, Tobi. I always enjoy your photos and have had a quick look via the website link – loved the waterbed video too!!!

  4. Madeira is also a great spot for windsurfing.In the summer months,Northerly to North-easterly trade winds blow force 5 with pretty good consistency.The wind is stronger in late summer.As the island is mountainous,the wind does not sweep over,but more around the island creating varied wind force depending on the beach.If it is cloudy, the wind disappears.In the winter months,the wind can be up to force 8 and changes rapidly.

  5. Portugal é cheia de pico demais pra windsurf! Aqui no Brasil também tem bastante, principalmente nos estados de Rio de Janeiro e Bahia.

    Portugal is awesome for windsurf! Here in Brasil also we have great places for windsurfing, like Bahia and Rio de Janeiro.

    Great Post!


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