|Madeira is only about 20 miles
from Porto Santo. It lacks a good anchorage, and has only one marina
that appealed to us, so we spent a week there, and enjoyed the island.
Cute small towns, restaurants and markets abound, but the greatest interest to us was the terrain, with great hiking opportunities.
(Double click any picture for a full scale view, and return with the browser's back arrow)
north side of Madeira is rainy, steep and rocky, with little ground for
farming. The South side is fertile and sunny but dry.
Enterprising locals solved this problem by building about two thousand
kilometers of narrow canals, known as "levadas". These hug steep
mountainsides, occasionally cutting through in tunnels. There are no
pumps, all the water moves by gravity.
The levadas mostly have paths alongside, for maintenance, They make great hiking trails. In the photo above Helen is walking on top of a covered levada, which is cut into a vertical, heavily vegetated cliff.
are also some great trails in Madeira's high peaks, where temperature was
about right for walking.
Some of the trails are cut into cliffs, and there are a few tunnels.
coastline is rugged, and being mid-Atlantic there is often a heavy swell
running with dangerous breakers. There are no beaches, but there are
some good swimming holes formed by building small dams across the entry to
Pam is standing behind an antique grape press, for winemaking.
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