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Cruise Diary: Funchal

Guests Jan and Dick Yetke set sail on Prinsendam’s 64-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage in March, and we’ve just received these wonderful posts. We’ll catch up as quickly as possible. Enjoy the journey with Jan and Dick!

We had a very nice crossing of the Atlantic until the last two days. The Captain altered course and headed a little south of the rhumb line in order to avoid going thru a huge storm. We were a couple hundred miles south of the center so were on the fringes of the storm. Winds were about 35 knots and seas up to 15 ft. but fortunately the seas were coming from the port stern quarter so it wasn’t too bad. Every 7th wave we would get a fairly good roll. During the first night when this was coming, the staff went thru a “batten down the hatches” approach, tying things down and putting anything breakable on the floor. In our stateroom, we put things on the floor that might otherwise fall off. Some things we secured inside cabinets. It really was not bad by our standards, but then we are “old salts” and sailors as you know. A couple of years ago on the world cruise coming out of Antarctica and trying to get to Falkland Islands, the wind was gusting up to 85 kts and seas were huge. So, that was a storm. Due to the stormy conditions, the Captain slowed down a bit, which meant we got into Funchal 4 hours later than scheduled – arrived at 4 pm.

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We ship our folding bikes (packed carefully into the boxes they came in) to the ship with our luggage. We had assembled them that morning and were all set to go. We took the elevator down and went one floor too far. While standing there waiting to go back up, the Captain came by and we mentioned we had to find a bike shop since I had forgotten to pack our tire pump and we needed air in the tires. He said, wait a minute. Went away and came back with a very nice pump. We tried pumping air into my front tire and it leaked badly. Couple of crew members came by and tried to fix the stem in the valve but still no luck. So, Dick went off on his bike to find a bike shop and I went back to our cabin with my “sick” bike-flat tire. He arrived back a couple hours later having had an adventure, found a bike shop, bought a tire pump, and a tool to tighten stem in valve, and a new valve. Well, he put the new parts on and tried to pump the tire and it still leaked air. So, we determined we had to take the tire to the bike shop the next day.

We had a very good local folkloric show that night – musicians and dancers – from a small town outside of Funchal! The last dance included members from the audience and one of ladies came and took Dick to dance along. He did a good job and had fun!!!
Next day, we took the front tire from my bike and headed off to the bike shop. Took the free shuttle into town and then got a taxi. We were lucky to get a great driver – young, spoke very good English. He knew exactly where the bike shop was that Dick wanted. He took us there, went in with us to see how long to fix the tire. About 10 minutes so he waited out front for us. Got a new tube in the tire which comes with a new valve. Worked perfectly!!!

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On the way back to the ship, the driver, Paulo, took a little scenic route. We stopped at a lovely overlook. He pointed out a few things. We have been to Funchal many times in the past, but had not really been to the places he was pointing out. We decided to negotiate with him for a short tour out to these places along the coast – a small fishing village (Camara de Lobos, where sea lions are found, as well as a Winston Churchill restaurant since he vacationed here in the 30’s and 40’s) and up onto a high cliff over the ocean. We saw lots of banana plants being grown, as well as sugar cane. They have vineyards and cherry orchards, too. Turned out to be a great tour for a couple hours. Hope you enjoy the photos!!!

A pretty fountain in town.

A pretty fountain in town.

Drying cod fish on a boat.

Drying cod fish on a boat.

Dick on the cable car platform.

Dick on the cable car platform.

Looking straight down from the platform.

Looking straight down from the platform.

Banana terraces.

Banana terraces.

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Got back to the ship, put the tire on my bike and we went biking along the waterfront and up into town and back. It is a really nice town. They are doing a great deal of construction along the waterfront – putting in many blockades to protect the harbor from storm damage. And, our ship docked at a new pier that is right next to the town, so we did not have to go all the way around the pier to get to town this time. Amazing!!!

We had a great time in Funchal, again!!!! Really a nice island!!!! Everything is built on the side of mountains – the terracing for gardens and planting is amazing. It is a very clean place too!!!

We have had some great guests for dinner. One night the Hotel Manager Firmin stopped by unannounced, sat down, and joined us for dinner. That was really special!!! We have had Claudia and Lazslo, husband and wife violinists who are excellent!!! We have had Nick Lewin, a comic magician who lives in Las Vegas and has performed there for many years. He is really good and wowed us at the table with a great card trick, after Dick did his. Really fun!!!

Then last night we had a couple who are speakers on board – Roberta and Steve Sloan. He is a professor at Oklahoma University and an expert on terrorism. Very interesting!! She is a speaker on developing theatre and improvisational theatre. Really enjoyed them at the table. So, we will continue to invite guests – entertainers, speakers, staff – as the cruise goes on. Dick brings his navigational chart each sea day evening showing our route for the day and does a magic trick or two between main course and dessert!!!

Outside the Dining Room.

Outside the Dining Room.

Hope you enjoy our port stop as much as we did!!! We are now on our way to Morocco – first stop Agadir. Having a beautiful sunny, not too hot, day at sea!!!

1 Comment
  • Robert Wynn

    Nice blog post. And great pictures. I never thought about packing bikes on a cruise. Good idea! Thanks

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