Swiss Cheese

or the island with the most tunnels and least horizontal surface area is what we experienced during our great excursion per rental car. A beautiful island where every almost vertical space is used to grow crops or wine (and only soccer fields are horizontal and significantly larger – must be Ronaldo’s legacy, who was born in Funchal). Even the runway at the airport is built on humongous stilts into the coastline (providing perfect dry storage for boats even with their masts up).

The drive along the North shore was amazing, our rally car drivers, Ulf and Bjoern, safely moved us up and down extremely steep, winding and narrow roads, providing one vista point after the other. We drove past the typical A-frame thatched roofed houses, had a shower under a waterfall in the middle of the road (of course at the same time when trucks from both directions were shooting up and down the one way road into the tunnel…) and even had some of us climb an elaborate ladder system up a quite high and steep wall (without police taking notice). Unfortunately, the caves in Sao Vincente were already closed, but the views crossing the island to the south shore and the following dinner at a local seafood place in Canical easily compensated for that (as well as the extensive souvenir shopping by some of the crew outside the caves).

We were initially concerned about the significant fires that hit the islands a few weeks ago, but were happy to see that first of all the fires were under control, but also that most of the island was not impacted. We saw saw very little impacted forests during our drive, but also only covered a relatively small portion of the island.

Of course, we enjoyed Jan’s company again (from La Vida) as he enriched our conversions with a lot of Finnish insights…

While we did not manage to get the head repaired yet (we only tried it he easy way avoiding a disassembly), we managed to get the repaired gennaker back.

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