The official opening of the redevelopment of the old Estrada Monumental will take place today (Tues) at 11 am. Officially this is regarded as the 2nd phase of the major re-design of the road network linking the Forum/Ajuda at Hotel Baía Azul to the “roundabout” at the Lido outside the Monumental Lido Hotel – in effect a narrow one-way access road replacing the old main road, with the through-route now being at a lower level on the new road running along the back of the hotels. The timing is to coincide with the start of “Mobility Week” in Funchal, which continues until 22 September. Really is quite remarkable that it is suddenly finished, with the progress over the last few weeks being astonishing! It is only a month ago since the blog was commenting on the lack of any apparent activity (photos taken at the weekend – thank you David). At last this very important tourist area looks the part.
Sharks “no threat”
There have been a number of recent reports of sharks in the waters off Madeira, but the scientist in charge of the Marine Biology Station of Funchal, Mafalda Freitas, considers that bathers have no reason to be afraid. In August, two hammerhead sharks were seen near the Doca do Cavacas bathing complex west of of Funchal (reported here) and later a Tubarão-Caneja entered a natural pool at Reis Magos, in the parish of Santa Cruz. Freitas told the press agency Lusa that these species are not usually aggressive towards humans. According to him, the sightings may have two explanations. The first relates to “the temperature of sea water, which is warmer at this time of year”, and the second with the simple fact that it is summer, therefore more people are paying attention to the sea.
The area of Ponta do Pargo, at the extreme west of the island, is where you can admire sharks more often, since it is the crossing point when these species migrate. “Sharks have been here since the discovery of Madeira” said Freitas, with the most common being the Caneja (Mustelus mustelus), also known as the “smooth-hound” shark, that can reach two meters in length, with perhaps the most dangerous to humans being the hammerhead. “Worldwide there are 375 species of variable size and shape and, in Madeira, there are about 75 species, which feed on a wide variety of organisms, from plankton to marine mammals. Some of these species are migratory, others live closer the coast, but, like most wild animals, are very afraid of man and most times what they do is run”’ he said. Mafalda Freitas appealed to anybody sighting shark to report it to the Marine Biology Station of Funchal at Cais do Carvão and requested that fishermen who collect small specimens take them to the station for study or display (shouldn’t they put them back?). The Marine Biology Station of Funchal is a research centre owned by the municipality of Funchal and associated with the University of Madeira.
Calheta encourages childbirth
The Diario on Sunday reported that the council of Calheta is introducing a birth incentive program, offering support of 50 euros per month for three years (in total, 1,800 euros) for each child born. The measure comes into force in January and aims to halt the population decline that is occurring in the region.