Morgan Forbes announces press trip to Madeira!
A host of journalists plus a number of special guests will soon get the chance to experience Madeira in all its glory as Morgan Forbes whisk them away for their first press trip of the year to the island.
For Morgan Forbes ambassadors BTCC driver Tony Gilham, and ex-England footballer Tony Woodcock, it will be their first trip to Madeira. Morgan Forbes will be providing the pair with a great opportunity to see the growth of the project and explore the island. A selection of journalists from the UK and Madeira will join them on the three-day trip which will take place from the 23rd to the 26th of May.
Morgan Forbes will treat guests to a selection of the sights, smells and sensations that the island has to offer. Travelling the scenic route to the westerly tip of the island, lucky guests will get a preview of the Ponta do Pargo hotel site and its adjacent Sir Nick Faldo designed golf course.
Diving – online booking site in English, German and French, by Calheta based H2O Madeira.
We have different underwater activities, suitable for all levels and ages, satisfying your curiosity for the underwater world!
Discovery Diving: This activity includes a lesson in a pool to establish your confidence, followed by a dive in the ocean accompanied by a professional diving instructor. Price: €60
Diving for divers with certificate: 1 dive Price: €40
Snorkelling: Discover the sea’s beauty with mask, tube and fins. Price: €10 per day
—–photo-show taken from H2O Madeira’s photostream on Flickr.
Spanish scientists search for fuel of the future
ALICANTE, Spain (AFP) – In a forest of tubes eight metres high in eastern Spain scientists hope they have found the fuel of tomorrow: bio-oil produced with algae mixed with carbon dioxide from a factory.
Almost 400 of the green tubes, filled with millions of microscopic algae, cover a plain near the city of Alicante, next to a cement works from which the C02 is captured and transported via a pipeline to the "blue petroleum" factory.
The project, which is still experimental, has been developed over the past five years by Spanish and French researchers at the small Bio Fuel Systems (BFS) company.
At a time when companies are redoubling their efforts to find alternative energy sources, the idea is to reproduce and speed up a process which has taken millions of years and which has led to the production of fossil fuels.
"We are trying to simulate the conditions which existed millions of years ago, when the phytoplankton was transformed into oil," said engineer Eloy Chapuli. "In this way, we obtain oil that is the same as oil today."
The microalgae reproduces at high speed in the tubes by photosynthesis and from the CO2 released from the cement factory.
Every day some of this highly concentrated liquid is extracted and filtered to produce a biomass that is turned into bio-oil.
The other great advantage of the system is that it is a depollutant — it absorbs the C02 which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.
"It’s ecological oil," said the founder and chairman of BFS, French engineer Bernard Stroiazzo-Mougin, who worked in oil fields in the Middle East before coming to Spain.
"We need another five to 10 years before industrial production can start," said Stroiazzo-Mougin, who hopes to be able to develop another such project on the Portuguese island of Madeira.
"In a unit that covers 50 square kilometres, which is not something enormous, in barren regions of southern Spain, we could produce about 1.25 million barrels per day," or almost as much as the daily export of oil from Iraq, he said.
BFS, a private company, hopes to negotiate "with several countries to obtain subsidies for the installation of artificial oil fields," he said.
Other similar projects being studied in other parts of the world.
In Germany, the Swedish energy group Vattenfall last year launched a pilot project in which algae is used to absorb carbon dioxide from a coal-fired power plant.
US oil giant ExxonMobil plans to invest up to $600 million in research on oil produced from algae.
Companies, in particular those in the aeronautic sector, have shown keen interest in this research, hoping to find a replacement for classic oil.
Alterations to ribeiras and new bridges
According to the Regional Secretary for Social Infrastructure, projects are being developed for the areas between the dams and the mouths of three streams in Funchal, (São João, João Gomes and Santa Luzia). 12 dams will be constructed, four to each stream, and alterations to the mouths of the ribeiras de João Gomes, Santa Luzia and São João. Bridges will be either renovated or demolished and replaced if they are not stable or impede the flow of the water. Some areas of the water courses will need channelling and altering, for example the ribeiro do Vasco Gil and the ribeiro de São Filipe will be diverted into the ribeiro da Nora.
Madeira will invest in health tourism
According to the Regional Secretary for Social Affairs, the aim is to attract Europeans and Americans to Madeira for ‘aesthetic treatments, either surgical or for recuperation’. Many people live with a lot of stress and need therapeutic rest, and Madeira could be a destination for health tourism. The Pain Unit at Funchal Hospital was founded 20 years ago, yet Portugal ranks amongst the worst in Europe for palliative care, especially in the case of terminal illness. This area of intervention needs restructuring by investing in a hospital based team and community based care. There also needs to be more bed provision, either in the hospitals or other social security funded institutions. Last year, there was a basic training course with 30 participants. From next month onwards, graduates from a course taught at the Universidade Católica de Lisboa will staff multi-disciplinary teams. Such teams will be comprised of doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, physiotherapists, nutritionists, pharmacy technicians and spiritual assistants.
Madeira Palace Hotel advances
Grupo Fibeira has secured bank funds to finish this project which includes a private residential condominium – Madeira Palace Residences. The group is seeking a partner to manage the hotel, who might also manage Madeira Palace Residences. This site has been developed for tourism, hospitality and real estate. It is promoted as providing five-star accommodation with 250 rooms, restaurants, spas, conference and meeting rooms, swimming pools, a beach club, amongst other infrastructure. Madeira Palace Residences is a luxury condominium of 112 apartments, all with large balconies and some have a direct sea view. The condominium is part of the hotel complex – Hotel Madeira Palace, Beach Club and Spa. The hotel will be managed by an internationally recognised name and services will also be available to condominium residents.
Exhibition of Portuguese tiles
This exhibition was inaugurated on the 1st April in the Núcleo Museológico Solar do Ribeirinho in Machico. The exhibition "Azulejo Português de Figura Avulsa” runs until the end of September and is the first national exhibition of this type of tile. The tiles are from the private collection of Feliciano David, with more than 50 tiles originating from the late seventeenth century to the twentieth century. There are contemporary examples designed by Siza Vieira, Paula Rego and Julio Pomar. Free entry, Monday – Friday 10.00 – 12.30 and 14.00 – 17.30, and Saturday 10.00 – 13.00
Military Museum displays photos of the ‘Light-catchers’
The Museu Militar da Madeira in the Forte de São Tiago has a new exhibition running until May. Eleven of the ‘Light-catchers’ group of amateur photographers have assembled 42 photos for the exhibition, based on regional landscapes. The exhibition will move to the Casa da Cultura de Câmara de Lobos in May and then in Summer, to the Estalagem da Ponta do Sol and finally to the Airport of Madeira at the end of the year. The ‘Light-catchers’ group formed in 2008 and can be accessed through the website www.light-catchers.net.
Fashion Show at Forum Madeira
Forum Madeira Fashion’11 will be held on the 8th and 9th April. In this sixth edition of Forum Madeira Fashion, the new Spring/Summer collections will be shown. At 21.00 on 8th April, the first main show will present fashion items available in the shops in the mall, and includes the best models from the regional Agência de Moda Modage. At 21.00 on 9th April, children’s fashions will be on the catwalk.
Porto Santo holds a ‘carros de madeira’ race
The Grupo de Folclore do Porto Santo promotes the race at 15.00 on the 23rd April, an additional activity for Easter visitors to the Golden Island. The track is from the Pé do Pico down to Salões. The first race was successfully held last year and prizes will be awarded this year for the first three places, the most traditional car and the most creative car. The Associação de Desportos intends to make a ‘carros de madeira’ championship, with the aid of the folklore group. Photos from last year’s race are on the Facebook page of this group.
Bonga sings at Machico Gastronomy Week
Bonga is the highlight of Machico Gastronomy Week which will be held from July 29th to August 7th. This Angolan artist will appear on stage on Wednesday August 3rd. The week is organised by the Municipality of Machico and is part of their City of Culture 2011 program. Bonga’s long career started when he was 15 years old and he now has over 30 albums. His songs, in Portuguese and Angolan, have a Semba theme (traditional Angolan rhythm corresponding to Brazilian samba). The stage name Bonga Kuenda was adopted in 1972 when he presented his first album ‘Angola 72’, in which he sings of revolution and love of his country.
Madeiran architecture assembled in the ‘Guia da Arquitectura Sul e Ilhas de Portugal’
Interesting works of architecture found in the Autonomous Region of Madeira are collected together in this book produced by the architects Nuno Campos e Patrícia Matos. The book will be launched on April 8th in Lisbon. It includes text, photos, maps, details for visiting and any GPS coordinates and follows on from ‘Guia de Arquitectura Norte e Centro de Portugal’.
New book illustrating the Igreja do Colégio, Funchal
The Igreja do Colégio has published a book/catalogue to enable tourists and visitors to take home a reminder of the beauty of this church in the heart of the City of Funchal. This is one of the most emblematic Portuguese Baroque churches and was built by the Jesuits in the seventeenth century. The book is illustrated throughout with photos depicting the life, worship, history, art, decoration and architecture of the church. Written by the Reitor da Igreja do Colégio, Pe. Marcos Gonçalves, published in Portuguese and English, priced at 12 euros.
Igreja do Colégio, Rua dos Ferreiros, 105, Funchal. (Town Hall Square)
Open: Monday, Thursday and Friday 10.00 – 18.00, Tuesday 10.00 – 20.15, Wednesday, 10.00 – 21.00, Saturday 15.00 – 18.00 and Sunday 09.00 – 13.00 and 18.30 – 20.30