Funchal seafront. Seagull control. STS Sedov

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At the beginning of this year a number of sources were confidently reporting that the major works along the seafront in the centre of Funchal would be completed “in time for summer” –and this blog reported optimistically on a sudden surge of activity a couple of months ago. Now the summer has arrived the reality appears quite different with a lot of work clearly still to be done on both flood outlets at either end of the seafront and the new liner terminal (the poster on the old pier reproduced above illustrates what the finished product should look like, whilst the reality, as of a couple of days ago, is below:

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Work has, however, started on the new dock pictured at the top of the representation above, with the first concrete sections being assembled just off the end of the old pier:

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As previously mentioned here there are lots of (much better!) photos of the work on the Funchal seafront at http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?p=115455979

Sand extraction dispute

The Diario reports on a dispute in Porto Novo, where what are described as three “entrepreneurs” are refusing to pay APRAM (the Harbours Administration Authority) €600,000 for the extraction and sale of sand. The matter is to go to the Supreme Administrative Court but the judges are already being accused (again) of favouring the interests of business.

Eagles to counter seagulls

The Diario also reports that the ‘curse’ of seagulls around the maritime station in the port of Funchal, Madeira, is to be ‘countered’ by two eagles contracted by APRAM. They have already attempted other deterrents, including sound devices, without success. The gulls were attracted to the location due to the amount of rubbish, but after all the work that was done on the structure of Meia Serra (building a Station Solid Waste Treatment) were expected to leave. Although the eagles are chasing away seagulls, a spokesman acknowledged that the problem is not actually resolved at all, since the seagulls simply migrate to other locations including the hotel zone and the sea front in the bay of Funchal. The long term solution includes a monitoring committee, created with the Natural Park of Madeira, with the goal of working on nesting and “birth control”.

Tiago Cardoso, owner of the company that undertakes the falconry in the port of Funchal, explained that the use of eagles in pest control does not mean the death of any of the weaker species, instead the seagulls realise that there is a predator and move away from that area. The eagles used in the port were born in captivity and are from Central America. They ‘work’ in two periods – from sunrise to afternoon – and again at night, as many of the gulls arrive with fishing boats returning after dark and early morning.

STS Sedov departs

The “tall ship” reported in the previous blog leaving the island this morning:

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Fallen Angel. easyJet announce Manchester and Edinburgh flights for 2015. RBL Dinner. Banana festival

Angel of Assicom Square

imageThe blog’s Instagram site (link below) was started as an experiment – a small sub-site with exclusive photos reflecting the archipelago – but it has quickly become popular, gaining more and more followers. A recent photo (replicated opposite) immediately attracted a lot of “Likes”, not least one from a sculptor who worked on the project. This prompted a little research into the history of the “Fallen Angel” as I guess most people call it (more correctly “Anjo da Praça da Assicom” but also referred to as: Monumento ao Trabalhador (Monument for the worker), Anjo da Ilha da Madeira (Angel of the Island of Madeira), and Homenagem da Assicom (Tribute of Assicom)

Funchal - Anjo da Praça da AssicomThe large bronze statue representing a human figure with wings hanging in a steel frame is on the large roundabout outside the Regency Palace Hotel in lower part of Pornais, between the Forum at Ajuda and Praia Formosa. Designed by the sculptor Ricardo Madeira Velosa, it was inaugurated on September 24, 2004. Pornais is an otherwise rather ugly area with a lot of characterless (and largely empty) high-rise development further up the hill.

AssICom is the acronym for the Construction Industry Association of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, founded in July 18, 1932. The inscription below the statue reads “Homage of AssICom; To all who collaborated on the development of the construction and public works sector during the recent years in the autonomous region of Madeira”

easyJet announce Manchester and Edinburgh flights

As Debs mentioned (thank you) in the last “Comments”, the budget airline is to begin flights to Madeira from Manchester commencing14th February 2015 operating twice per week on Mondays and Saturdays. easyJet will use a 180-seater Airbus A320 and expects the to attract around 14,000 passengers over the first 12 months. Edinburgh flights start slightly earlier – 3rd February and it looks like this will fly on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Detailed prices were not available last time I looked but press statements quote “from £64.00 return” (link below).
imageeasyJet employs more than 320 staff and bases eight permanent aircraft at Manchester – Madeira will be it’s 35th destination. Ali Gayward, commercial manager at  easyJet, said: “We’re pleased to add Funchal, Madeira to easyJet’s growing network of destinations from Manchester Airport which now spans the UK, Russia, Middle East, Iceland and Europe. We believe the beautiful island of Madeira will prove a popular addition to our network thanks its array of beaches, rich culture and affordable accommodation”.

RBL Annual Dinner

Regular contributor Sue Marloye-James has asked that we mention the up-coming Annual RBL Dinner details below:

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Madalena do Mar Banana Festival

14th Banana Regional Exhibit The 19th and 20th of July sees the village of Madalena do Mar, in the municipality of Ponta do Sol, pays tribute to one of its most important and best known products, which is also one of the main regional agricultural productions.

17th July: World’s largest sailboat arrives in harbour

Photo below of the STS Sedov, the largest sailing ship in the world being escorted into the port of Funchal by a pilot boat this morning (Thurs) – it will remain here until the 19th. Under the command of Captain Maxim Rodionov, it has 54 sailors on board, 102 cadets and 46 trainees from universities in Murmansk and St Petersburgh. The ship participated in the Tall Ships race in 2008 which marked the 500th anniversary of the city of Funchal. The STS Sedov has four masts, weighs 6148 tons and is 117.5 feet long. During its two day stay in Funchal it will be open to the public.

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Sterling strength. Tourism optimism. Goldcar criticism. TAP delays President.

Exchange rate

The GB Pound has been inexorably rising over the last year – in fact improving pretty much consistently since it fell sharply at the end of 2012 after peaking in July of that year – the only other occasion in the last five years when it has been over €1.25

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2014 tourism optimism

There are reports of an optimistic outlook for tourism in the country as a whole over the current year. The President of the Portuguese Association of Tourism and Travel Agencies (APAVT), Pedro Costa Ferreira, told the Lusa News Agency that growing confidence among Portugal’s consumers looks to be driving an increase in holiday bookings, prompting “positive expectations” for the industry this year after a difficult period. The outlook for the coming peak holiday season is “clearly positive” Costa Ferreira added, recalling that tour operators at Easter recorded double-digit growth in bookings, prompting “the idea … that there will finally be growth.” The same article suggests that more than 80% of all package holidays to Portugal are booked through German travel agencies – a surprisingly high figure?

Goldcar

Car rental outfit Goldcar (Europa Rent a Car prior to 2006) has been taking a slating recently on the TripAdvisor website. If there is any truth in any of the stories of poor customers service and high additional charges, the authorities here need to take some action – Madeira does not want to be known as a destination with anything other than the highest level of service and good value for money.

Quad bikes

An accident involving a quad bike early yesterday morning on Caminho da Achada in Funchal left a 20-year old badly injured. There are just a few quad bikes around Funchal that seem to delight in making as much noise as possible on the odd occasion. Never understood why these vehicles are necessary or legal other than in a farmers field.

TAP delays AJJ

Bit of a bust-up in the press this week after a delay to a TAP flight stopped Regional President, Alberto João Jardim, attending the Council of State in Lisbon on Thursday. TAP admitted to there having been a two-hour delay to a flight scheduled to leave Madeira at 14.10, with the plane eventually arriving in Lisbon at 17.40 – the Council of State started at 17:50. Perhaps Bertie should “Take Another Plane” in future?

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