Madeira Adventures | Distant Shores Sailing Newsletters

Madeira Adventures

Welcome to Madeira - as we arrive we meet a fan who follows Distant Shores and remembers our last visit 8 years ago. He puts us in touch with RTP Madeira who interviews us for their news program… “film crew arrives to film the island” Cool!!
sheryl and rtp

A visit from another old friend! On our first visit to Madeira in 1991 Jose Luis was manager of the marina and introduced us to the beautiful walks along the "levadas" (irrigation canals). We enjoyed this so much we ended up hiking over 100 miles staying 6 weeks. He made a surprise visit to the boat to say hello!
Hiking day😀 Start of the walk well up above Funchal with 3 cruise ships in port.
paul fillming madeira
Madeira has the world's largest number of irrigation waterways which they call "levadas". The result is a dense network of ‪‎hiking‬ trails throughout the island. Today we are hiking the path following "Levada dos Tornos" using the Sunflower walking guide. There are also great recommended walks on the tourist office website at
levada dos tornos
The trail along Levada dos Tornos today includes a tunnel so we packed the headlamps that we use on night watch and a flashlight. You have to be careful because there are no lights, the tunnel paths are often narrow and the roof and sides rough since many were hewn by hand using pick axes in days of old! Amazing! (If you look closely you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.)
paul and levada tunnel
More remote walks on the northern side of the island reveal one of the many sources for the “levada” irrigation system.
madeira-highlights-lq - 1
Some of these levada paths can be slippery or vertiginous as there can be a steep drop on one side.
Offroad jeep excursion - a great day out with guide Hugo.
paul and sheryl and jeep
Overlooking Curral das Freiras in the middle of Madeira!
sheryl and curral view
Luckily our visit coincided with perhaps the largest festival on Madeira, at Monte. We filmed the festivities at the evening party…
And also the procession… very moving!
Today we're leaving Madeira to sail to the island of Porto Santo, about 40 nm & also in the Madeira Archipelago. I'm making a final visit to the city market in Funchal, one of my favourite foreign markets!
Definitely make time for some sightseeing! Here on the second highest peak at over 1800 meters we are above the clouds!
madeira-peaks - 1
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