Poor weather continues. Curral das Freiras.

More poor weather forecast

Following up on the last blog, which turned out to be remarkably accurate, I am afraid to say that the same sources predict a poor week ahead – BBC weather app forecast is below again. What was unusual just recently was the temperature and humidity at this time of year, despite it being overcast. It did freshen a little yesterday in Funchal.

bbc weather app screenshot

Six metre waves possible

At the same time as writing the above the Diario has just reported that the regional maritime authority has warned of worsening weather conditions at sea and in coastal areas over the weekend. They forecast that the period from today (Saturday) until Tuesday “is considered a risk”, with strong winds and waves of up to six metres on the north coasts of both both Madeira and Porto Santo .The authority recommends pedestrians avoid walks along the water line and surf zones.

Valley of the Nuns

Valley of the Nuns

The Diario also reports today that the Curral das Freiras Parish Council has begun delivery of 500 kg of rat poison to farmers of Curral das Freiras in collaboration with the Municipality of Câmara de Lobos. This initiative is intended to help local farmers “de-rat” their farmland.

Two boats caught breaking marine wildlife rules

boat observing dolphins

The “Vigilantes da Natureza”, which is associated with Parque Natural da Madeira, have recently observed two maritime tourism vessels operating in the area of Funchal that were infringing the rules on the observation of marine vertebrates. The vigilantes found that the performance of the vessels was not addressed pursuant to the Regional Legislative Decree covering the Regulation of the observation of marine vertebrates. Whales, dolphins and many other species have been protected by law in Madeira since 1986 and boat operators have to adhere to a strict ode of conduct. If anybody knows the exact rules it would be interesting?

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Bad weather. Emergency landing. Organ festival.

Poor weather forecast

BBC weather app forecastAs I write this early Sunday morning the bad weather that has been forecast for an unusually long time seems to have arrived, with a gusty wind blowing into Funchal from a southerly direction and grey clouds hanging to the hills around. The weather forecast is normally fairly short-term here, but the BBC weather app has been quite insistent for some time that some bad weather will be around for the start of this week.

Accuweather forecastThe usually less reliable Accuweather is generally in agreement,showing rain until Tuesday. One thing is certain – whilst a little rain is generally welcome (obviously not to tourists – sorry!) hopefully there will not be too much of it falling on areas denuded of tress and  ground cover by the August fires. The Portuguese  met office, IPMA, has placed the south coast of Madeira and the mountainous regions on an orange alert from 3.00am this morning (Porto Santo has a lower yellow alert).

Emergency landing at renamed airport

Madeira airportThe Diario reports that a TAP flight that left Madeira bound for Lisbon last night returned and made an emergency landing. No explanation as to why emergency procedures were activated is available. Meanwhile it has been announced that the airport will be officially re-named in honour of Cristiano Ronaldo on the 30th of December with CR7 himself in attendance. At the time of the announcement the Metro commented that “At this rate, it’s only a matter of time before a Portugese (0/10 for spelling!) city declares independence as the Republic of Ronaldo”.

Organ Festival

Organ Festival graphicThe seventh Madeira Organ Festival, comprising of twelve concerts headlined by nationally and internationally renowned Master Organ players starts on the 21st of this month. The concerts will be held at Funchal’s Sé Cathedral, Colégio Church, S. Pedro´s Church and the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Porto da Cruz). This year’s festival, which lasts until the 30th of October, integrates a workshop for children and an exhibit depicting musical instruments. Full programme available for download on the link opposite.

Weather update 15.00 Sunday

The wind and rain in Santa Cruz have affected 8 flights at the airport so far today according to the Diario. There have been windows where flights have been able to operate. This morning’s  Lobo Marinho ferry to Porto Santo is also reported to have had trouble docking at it’s destination. The Captaincy of the Port of Funchal has extended the bad weather and visibility warning until 6.00pm tomorrow – a couple of cruise ships approached with caution this morning.

 Weather update 07.00 Monday

image_thumb.pngeasyJet have been forced to defend their position overnight after customers affected by yesterday’s flight diversions and cancellations complained of difficulty accessing their website and re-booking flights. They have issued a statement re-assuring those affected that they can re-book or claim reimbursement. For those still affected the local easyJet telephone numbers are here, whilst they do not have an office at the airport, I am pretty sure their agents are Portway, to be found on the top floor. It looks like a total of 12 flights failed to arrive yesterday, with 4 of these being easJet – all from either Porto or Lisbon, none from the UK. Of course Mondays are altogether busier, with around 50 flights due in and obviously a similar number departing – it looks like the first couple of these have got away OK.

Overnight the winds here have eased a little, certainly in Funchal, but you can never be sure what it is like elsewhere on the island. There is some impressive footage around  of the sea conditions yesterday around Praia Gorgulho in the Lido area west of Funchal: Facebook video here. Elsewhere a lot of debris associated with the August fires was swept into the marina at Paul do Mar: Facebook video here

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Monarch. Australian and Danish connections.

Monarch rescue goes down to the wire

Monarch aircraftYesterday’s Telegraph reported that Monarch Airline’s multi-million pound rescue bid will go down to the wire this week, with a financial lifeline expected to come through just hours before the extension on its operating licence is due to expire on Wednesday. The low-cost airline which features Madeira highly in its routes, is locked in talks with major stakeholder Greybull Capital (90% owners of Monarch) and Boeing, and expects to unveil a massive funding overhaul to satisfy the Civil Aviation Authority’s financial health check-list and be granted a new Air Travel Operators’ Licence (Atol). Part of the new arrangement is believed to be the refinancing of an order for as many as 45 new 737s from Boeing to release cash back into the business.
Monarch was granted a stay of execution by the aviation authority just four hours before its Atol licence was due to expire at the end of last month (the original story is on a previous blog), and now faces another looming deadline on Wednesday when the twelve day extension expires. Monarch boss Andrew Swaffield has assured staff that the deal will go through but warned that it will not conclude before the day of the crunch deadline. In a letter sent to Monarch Airlines staff last Friday, Mr Swaffield said that the legal and finance teams are still working to “dot the i’s and cross the t’s on the largest investment in our history” (there are some rumours of a Chinese involvement). “As soon as we are able to give details of our investment and confirm the renewal I will. But to manage your expectations, this will be on the 12th (Wednesday),” he said.

Australian Funchal connection to be strengthened

Australian Ambassador at receptionThe Diario reports Ambassador of Australia in Portugal, Peter Rayner, announced plans to strengthen the links between the Australian city of Fremantle and Funchal in the 20th Anniversary of the twinning of the cities. In a commemorative ceremony hosted by Paulo Cafôfo, the mayor of Funchal, the ambassador said that he intends to strengthen sporting, social and cultural links. The Portuguese community in Australia is about 50 thousand people, 80 % of which are from Madeira.
The Mayor of Freemantle, Brad Pettitt, has posted account of the event, and details of Paulo Cafôfo’s speech can be found on his blog.

Air traffic

Lots of planesToday’s Diario reports that a total of 918.3 million people travelled by air in 2015 in the European Union, according to data released by Eurostat. These are up 4.7% on 2014, with almost half of these journeys being internal within the EU, The UK remains the country with the highest number of air passengers (232 million in 2015), followed by Germany (194 million), Spain (175 million), France (141 million) and Italy (128 million). Wikipedia have an interesting list of Europe’s busiest air routes here

Danish flights for Porto Santo

Porto SantoAfter the success of the inaugural year last year, winter flights will soon operate again directly between Denmark and Porto Santo. The 14th of October sees the Billund to Porto Santo route re-open. and on the 23rd of October the Copenhagen to Porto Santo route starts again. Danish Air Transport use two A320s, both capable of delivering 180 passengers. The flight from Billund  which is centrally located in Denmark, runs every Friday and Copenhagen every Sunday until April/May next year.

Weds. 7.30: Monarch rescue confirmedimage_thumb.png

From the BBC website: Struggling budget airline Monarch has announced a £165m investment from Greybull Capital. The fresh financing has allowed Monarch to renew its membership of the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (Atol) scheme – the scheme that refunds customers if a travel firm collapses. Greybull Capital is Monarch’s majority shareholder and is also known for its investment in Scunthorpe’s steelworks. The investment is the biggest in Monarch’s 48-year history. “It is testament to the extensive effort by all parties, over the past weeks and months, that we are able to announce the largest investment in our 48-year history, as well as the renewal of our Atol licences,” said Andrew Swaffield, chief executive of The Monarch Group


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