The tunnel at Doca de Cavacas, linking Praia Formosa to the Centromar area remains closed with conflicting reports as to when it will re-open. The Diario last week said it was scheduled for before the summer, including the repair of the pathway from the Regency Yacht Bar (whose staff, incidentally have little faith in this deadline). For those familiar with the “beach” at Praia Formosa (I remember staying in the old Madeira Palacio overlooking it in 1990) there has been a gradual increase in the amount of black sand in evidence – presumably as a direct result of the reduction in dredging for gravel. The storms of 2010 will also have deposited a good amount of finer sediment. The beach suffered a major rearrangement in the storms of last December since when the tunnel has been closed.
Apparently the partially man-made spur at the westerly end of the beach interferes with the wave-flow along the beach and there is talk of this being modified (this links the beach to the rocky outcrop where youngsters “tombstone” in summer).
Whilst researching the practice of dredging off the coast of Madeira I found a lot of references to the gravel dredging boat “Bowbelle”, which once operated on London’s river Thames. This is the notorious boat that collided with the Marchioness pleasure boat in 1989. She was renamed the “Bom Rei” before being transferred to Madeira a few years after the accident which cost 51 lives, and used as an aggregate transport vessel. On 25 March, 1996, the 80m ship was caught fully laden in rough weather just off the coast near Ponto do Sol. There are rumours that her portside crane cable got snagged on the seabed. An artists impression of the wreck is below courtesy of Madeira Divepoint.
Ilhas Desertas “Protected”
The Council of Europe reported this week that “The Group of Specialists on the European Diploma of Protected Areas held its annual meeting in Strasbourg on 24 March and considered the reports from independent experts on the application for the award of the Diploma submitted for the Desertas Islands Nature Reserve (Portugal)”. The application was accepted subject to ratification by EU Ministers. Presently, there are 70 protected areas in Europe, in 26 different countries.
The photo above is one of those exclusive to the blog – a selection of these will be posted to our new Instagram site in future – link opposite.