Diving in Madeira: indigo depths and sunken wrecks; Daily Telegraph Article; Madeira being marketed on its subaquatic merits; Madeira’s merits as a family destination with great diving thrown in; Health Centre Emergency opening times; Football: Ronaldo, Real not enough for Super Barca; Barcelona win ‘the Copa del Rey’, ‘o clássico;

International, Portugal & Madeira News from Paul Abbiati:

‘Football: Ronaldo, Real not enough for Super Barca;

Barcelona win ‘the Copa del Rey’, ‘o clássico

From Portugal Daily View:

Despite the aerly goal by Madeira’s Cristiano, “Guardiola beat Mourinho yet again…”

“José Mourinho wanted to defeat Barcelona once more for the Copa del Rey, and for the first time at Santiago Bérnabeu. Yet, the Portuguese manager’s strategy was once again foiled. Barcelona turned an early one goal deficit into a 1-2 win sparked by Messi‘s class..”

Full article: http://www.portugaldailyview.com/01-whats-new/football-ronaldo-real-not-enough-for-super-barca

Diving in Madeira

Daily Telegraph Article:

Diving in Madeira: indigo depths and sunken wrecks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oETGAkOtSIU&feature=channel_video_title

What it offers is not technicolour coral reefs and the feeling of being in a tepid tropical aquarium, but raw Atlantic diving at its best, with large and varied marine life, a dramatic underwater landscape of caverns, archways and canyons, temperate waters (17-24C/63-75F) and good visibility

Madeira is trying to lure younger tourists with promises of sub-aquatic adventures. Andrew Purvis is impressed.

Porto Santo Island dives

“Throughout the 25 minutes we spent on the wreck, Beiçolas followed us like a dog. In 35 years of diving, I had never seen a grouper so tame – and, according to Pedro, no diver ever feeds it, raising the question of what the fish gets from the transaction.”


Yet there is more to the Madeirense than Big Lips.
When I dived it in May, there was no swell, no current and scarcely a cloud in the sky.

Madeira Island dives

“Underwater, the sea cliffs mimic this, dropping sharply to depths of 10,000ft – impossible to dive, but bringing a host of large sea mammals and deep-water feeders to the narrow shelf of dramatically contoured seabed that is within reach of divers…”

“We see manta rays just off the shore here,” said Pedro Vasconcelos, the award-winning underwater photographer who runs Focus Natura, the dive centre in Santa Cruz that I visited next.

“devil rays”, with a wingspan of up to 25ft, are on the must-see list for most divers.

At one popular spearfishing spot, Pedro added, hammerhead sharks gather in the surf, awaiting any spoils. In these plankton-rich waters, dolphins and whales are in abundance and turtles a common sight.

Desertas Islands dives

These uninhabited islands are a home to a colony of Mediterranean monk seals, elusive but occasionally spotted off Madeira.

Despite all this, these subtropical Portuguese islands have been largely overlooked by British divers – until now. In an attempt to lure younger and more adventurous visitors to an island chiefly associated with pensioners on package tours, Madeira is being marketed on its subaquatic merits.

Garajau: marine reserve just east of Madeira’s capital Funchal

As soon as I hit the water at Garajau, a marine reserve just east of Funchal, it was obvious things had changed. No sooner had the bubbles cleared from my backward roll off the boat than I spotted a ray on the sand a good 50ft below me. It soared like a bird into the deep blue and my gaze followed it to the limit of visibility – about 70ft, not as good as in Porto Santo, the Red Sea or the eastern Mediterranean, but a joy for anyone used to diving in British waters.

Within seconds, there was a friendly grouper again – one of a pair, Machado and Pintas, always seen on this dive – and, overhead, more barracuda. Hugo Silva, my guide, pointed out a tiny Atlantic arrow crab, like a spindly spider, and the blooms of giant sea anemones. To our right, eels protruded from the sand like writhing plants (hence the term “eel garden”) while ahead darted brightly coloured Azores chromis, Canary damsels and blacktail combers.

Diving in Garajau’s Arena

My final dive was at the Arena, a circle of rocks where caves, canyons and “swimthroughs” provide an adventure playground for divers. Stingrays were everywhere: five pregnant females 4ft long were buried in the sand with only their eyes protruding, sheltering in the natural amphitheatre before giving birth.

Madeira’s merits as a family destination with great diving thrown in

It was a first for me, and enough to persuade me of Madeira’s merits as a family destination with great diving thrown in. Unlike many dive spots, it offers plenty for non-divers (see box) and is only a three-and-a-half-hour flight from Britain.

Professionalism of the Madeira region dive centres

What struck me most was the professionalism of the dive centres – especially Rhea Dive, where neat innovations have made the diving safer and slicker. For example, every scuba tank is “sniffed” with a sensor to check whether it contains air or Nitrox – the gas mixture that is essential for deep diving but dangerous if used in error. Nowhere else have I seen that done as a matter of course – but then nowhere else have I seen a grouper that thinks it is a dog…”

link to article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/portugal/9013097/Diving-in-Madeira-indigo-depths-and-sunken-wrecks.html

Health Centre Emergency opening times

The Diario reports on changes to Health Centre Emergency opening times including:

Alterações nos centros de saúde

Centro de Saúde do Porto Moniz
Passa a funcionar apenas entre as 8 e as 20 horas

Centro de Saúde de Santana
Funcionará entre as 8 e as 22 horas

Centro de Saúde da Ribeira Brava
Estará aberto entre as 8 e as 23 horas
Ao fim-de-semana estarão fechados

images from Diario Newspaper unless otherwise stated

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  1. from the dnoticias.pt… 600 Hospitality workers with wage arrears….The Union of Workers in the Hospitality, Tourism, Food, and Allied Services in Madeira today revealed that about 600 workers in this sector are in arrears with wages in the region.

    “We, through the complaints and the information we have in our union, who walk around 600 workers in this situation of wage arrears,” said union leader Rui Fernandes.

    The official was speaking to journalists during a protest action in seven of 13 workers Vagrant, a yacht that belonged to the Beatles and was transformed into a bar-restaurant installed in the bay of Funchal, which today began an indefinite strike because of wages and subsidies in arrears.

    “We never had so many complaints on wage arrears as the month of January,” said Rui Fernandes, recognizing that due to the crisis, companies are having “enough problems” but “are the workers who suffer most from these problems.”

    Next to the restaurant, two stripe, in which read “we are fighting for our wages” and “slave labor”, alerted to the situation of the company, whose employees gave out a statement to passersby.

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