Mid Atlantic (and some Madeira thrown in).

I seem to be making a habit of encountering weather during the Atlantic crossing, this is no exception.  I write at my desk as we pitch in a 5 metre swell, with winds at 25 knots.  A deep depression to our north, which merged with a Tropical storm (Arlene) has made for some tough-going.  I had anticipated this, some 4 days ago; our intended track took us slap-bang through the centre of it and consequently altered course to the south-west, to pass ‘under’ it and miss the worst of the weather.  Heaven knows what it’s like 150 miles to our north, (where we would have been), even here, where I should be out of it, it is rougher than expected.  Forecasts are not infallible and this is one such case; someone out there under-estimated how far south the effects of the depression would travel.  The further west we travel and, all being well, we should see an improvement by tonight.  

I haven’t posted anything about Madeira, so here we go. It really is a beautiful island and has some quirky winds; approaching from the east, we experienced 45 knot winds before sailing into the lee of the island; gradually subsiding, it was flat calm for our docking.

An overview of Madeira and Funchal, on the south coast

The docking. We berth on the inside of the breakwater. A turn outside and backing in to avoid the swell being on the stern

It was dark of course, so the the time-lapse does not show the beauty of the island.


The terminal on the breakwater

A jaunt ashore, taking the Amsterdam’s shuttle-bus to the the city and thence a short walk to the hop-on, hop-off bus, although we didn’t hop off  🙂   It was a 1½-hour tour of the south side of the island along winding and steep roads, for there is hardly a flat space anywhere.

Hazel, Linda, Karen and Garry enjoy the fresh air

Taken as we departed, one has an idea of what Funchal looks like from the sea

To the east of the city, steep cliffs

Overlooking Funchal, an ancient fort, built to guard the then smaller port

Houses perched on the surrounding hills

Every available space is used to grow bananas.

Flowers everywhere, the climate lends itself to year-round blossom

The quaint fishing village of Camara de Lobos. Overlooking it is the highest headland in Europe at 590 metres, or 1,936 feet.

Back into town and the tree-lined avenues and the typical promenades, all in a black and white stone

In the centre, the oldest building in Funchal, the “Palacio Sao Lourenco

Finally, some lunch and my favourite, grilled sardines

We have another  4 days before Port Everglades, Florida beckons.  When the weather abates, we’ll be able to make directly for the Providence Channel in the Bahamas.  I’m unable to turn directly for it at the moment, for this would entail heading almost straight into this high swell.  A compromise is called for; as near as possible to the desired course, while keeping the swell at an angle (about 20°) on the bow.  She is a wonderful ship, great sea-keeping qualities and by taking this precaution it reduces the ‘banging’ considerably and keeps a good speed too.  4 weeks in Florida and then off to Europe, yup, more pesky refresher courses in Holland and of course, some time with my daughters and grandchildren! 🙂 


20 thoughts on “Mid Atlantic (and some Madeira thrown in).”

  1. Hi Captain,

    Thanks so much for the wonderful blogs and photographs of the 2017 WC. I so enjoyed seeing Karen and your photographs of Hong Kong,Singapore, Colombo as I was privileged to be onboard with you on AMSTERDAM in 2013,it brought back many pleasant memories. I also enjoyed reading about your arrival/depatures from the ports and videos. The photographs of Barcelona and Madeira also brought back memories of calls there on P&O vessels. I wish a woderful restful holiday with Karen and family and that the refresher course will not be to onerous.
    One question what am I going to read now to stop having withdrawa symptoms r until you resume your blogs?!
    Go well and thanks again
    Best regards
    Ted Dixon , Cape Town

  2. We past you yesterday , I believe. We too are enjoying the rocky
    weather of the crossing. Have enjoyed your world cruise so much. Thanks for doing it.

  3. Hi Captain,
    My family and I have really enjoyed following your world adventures from sunny southern California. We will be sailing on the beautiful flagship ms Amsterdam this July 17th to Alaska from Seattle. We have sailed on her twice before and are eagerly awaiting being “back home” on her again. Rumor has it from the comments above that you also will sailing to the “Great Land” Any chance that you will be the Master of the ms Amsterdam for our sailing? Enjoy your well deserved vacation and family time.

  4. Hi Jonathan,

    Safe travels home! We surely have enjoyed traveling with you via your great blogs. Thanks again. A special hello to Karen, Linda and Garry.

    Pat and Joe

  5. Thank you again, Captain, for a most enjoyable WC — from the comfort of my computer desk! It has been a fascinating voyage, including all the variations of the weather! The photos from yourself and Karen have been excellent, and I have especially enjoyed the little videos.
    Enjoy your well-earned holiday and your time with your family, and I look forward to catching-up with you again on your blog from Alaska this coming summer. Happy sailing!

  6. This trip has been more technically taxing than most it seems and you certainly deserve some time off soon.
    To be a trusted mariner first than have a demanding social schedule for all aboard to have the genuine pleasure of meetings and greeting the captain of the vessel is quite a load to bear. Glad you have some excellent officers to assist in your duties as well.
    I look forward to taking the world cruise next year and hope
    it will be placed in your more than capable hands. Sincerely, Charlotte

  7. How very wonderful to sail with you on my computer here in Florida! We were with you on the world cruise in 2015 and it was great to follow you in spirit this year.
    You do a superb job with your pictures, time lapses, and analyses of the itinerary. We feel that Holland America should pay you for the advertising.
    Sorry my cruising and traveling days over but I will be with you as long as you continue to blog me along! ??

  8. Thanks for your Blog on the 2017 W.C. I enjoyed every bit of it.
    Hope to see you on. Alaska trip in August or Sept.
    enjoy your time with the family.

  9. It was great fun to follow your WC trip via the interesting blog. Thank you. We look forward to sailing with you in the future.

  10. I just wanted to let you know how much I’ve enjoyed following along with you on this journey. We will be on the 2018 WC, and I hope to meet you there. Enjoy your well earned vacation. Best regards.

  11. Thank you for your wonderful blog. I have been following the Amsterdam’s World Cruises since our own in 2011. I hope you return as Captain next year, too.

  12. Thank you so very much, Captain. We enjoyed your posts so much . Enjoy your time off and seeing your lovely family. Good health and happiness to you.

  13. Captain, I’ve so enjoyed your posts and those of my clients onboard. I don’t want it to end. I had booked to be with you for this World Cruise, but health issues kept us from it. This was the itinerary I had been waiting for.
    I hope to join you on one again soon.

  14. Thank you for your wonderful World Cruise posts. Just signed
    up for 2018 WC (our 3rd) on Amsterdam – glad to know she is
    still so sea-worthy after 17 years! Hope you will be our Captain!
    Enjoy your time ashore.

  15. We were on the ’11 & ’12 WC with you & Karen, and have since sailed several lengthy itineraries with HAL. By far, we still consider you the best Captain we’ve ever sailed with, aside from being a true gentleman & genuinely very nice. Thanks for a great, very enlightening blog once again – your tech skills have progressed nicely, and we appreciate hearing the thoughts & impressions from a Captains perspective – passengers don’t realize that tensions can run pretty high up there in the drivers seat while they’re enjoying a show or sipping champagne! You’re the best, sir, and hope to sail with you again someday! Enjoy your vacation and of course, your lovely family!

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