Las Gallettas on Tenerife, the leap year switches to February 29th: The crew for our German 50-foot yacht arrives from different directions. For the next day it is supposed to head off: towards La Palma and then on to Madeira. A completely normal transfer is on our cruise schedule. But then, due to Corona everything turns out to be differently.
Besides the skipper and myself as co-skipper and documentary there have four guests on board. Estimated are five to six days, with wind almost exactly from Madeira (north) but with the prospect of a slight turn to the east. [direkt zur deutschen Fassung]
After a quiet night anchoring in the bay of Playa San Juan, we set off. Hardly out of the protection of the volcano Teide, 4 to 5 Beaufort are waiting for us almost directly from the direction of Madeira, raising to 6 Beaufort. Despite of the strongly reefed sails, the boat runs racy and fast. After a long leg in the direction of La Palma, we turn to starboard bow, course east-north-east.
Faster than expected we reach the Madeira Archipelago only three days later. As predicted by the meteorologists, the wind had turned to east. Thus, we reach our destination Madeira in nearly four long legs.
Our first port is Machico, east of Funchal – too small for our 50-foot yacht. So either anchoring or heading further east. Finally we berth in the Marina Quinta do Lorde, a 4-star resort with hotel, apartments and houses – and a modern, quite big marina. It looks beautiful there. Lovely, almost kitsch. However… „Where are the people?“ we ask ourselves as we arrive.
The marina seems to be deserted when we are at the floating dock in the early evening. Well, it is not exactly high season – that would be from April to November on Madeira. At least, finally we find some signs of life in the restaurant of the marina: There are a few people dining there.
Then comes Friday the 13th. We set sail again, want to get to know and explore the area. Still there is no alarm concerning Covid-19. We keep track of the world situation with interest, but only from time to time. Our destination today is Porto Santo – not the easiest destination in terms of wind and weather with the prevailing northeast wind. But we make it and after eight hours we moor in the only real marina on the small island.
Although we are not superstitious, we get a bad feeling as we hear the latest news. The punch hits us shortly after. We are not allowed to return to Quinta do Lorde as planned for the next day. Corona crisis – now on Madeira Island, too! All harbours are closed from now on.