Archive | Madeira & General News

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Fire-fighting helicopters. Lemon Festival. Jet2 from Belfast.

Weather to improve

Whilst it remains fairly overcast in Funchal first thing Saturday morning, the weather forecast shows a significant improvement on the unusually miserable weather this last week. The bad news is that longer range forecasts, notoriously unreliable, show the rain returning next weekend.

Weather forecast screen snap

Fire-fighting helicopters tested amid controversy

The Diario on Thursday reported that the Regional Government in Madeira was not aware of the arrival of two fire-fighting helicopters sent by by the central government. The president of the Regional Government of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, considered it “strange” that the Government of the Republic sent two helicopters to simulate fighting forest fires without informing the Regional Executive. The Secretary of State for Internal Affairs, however, assured the Regional Government  that there was no “lack of institutional respect” regarding the arrival of two helicopters. The misunderstanding instead apparently came from a communications failure on the  part of the company hired to conduct the tests – the helicopters had arrived early “for logistical reasons” for the the tests, which start on April 30th, culminating on May 2nd between 10.00 – 12.00, when the helicopters will be joined by a medium-sized plane.

Fire-fighting helicopters at Madeira airport
The tests come as a result of a decision taken in August by the Regional Government, which asked the prime minister for help in preparing an evaluation of the feasibility of using air assets in Madeira – the final result will be submitted to the prime minister’s office and it will be his office who will announce the outcome of the investigations. Since the latest fires in August last year, there has been much discussion as to the suitability of aerial fire-fighting methods. Experts – both with aerial fire-fighting experience and pilots with flight experience in Madeira – agree the the tests are necessary and will contribute significantly to decisions on future fire-fighting methods on the island. Hopefully this summer will pass without any serious outbreaks, as inevitably nothing will be implemented quickly.

Cabo Girão

The viewpoint at Cabo Girão now costs €1.50 per person to access via turnstiles, except on Sundays.

Exposição Regional do Limão

Lemon exhibition logoThe XVI edition of the Regional Exhibition of Lemon opens today (Saturday), at 5 pm, Casa do Povo in Ilha, Santana. Later, at 8:30 p.m., and as a celebration of World Dance Day, a dance competition will take place that will bring together amateur dance groups from all over the region.
The awards ceremony for farmers will take place, attended by the president of the Regional Government, takes place on Sunday 30th at 2:00, followed by the Festa do Despique will be held, with accordionists from Ponta de Sol and the group Amigos da Gaita.

Jet2 from Belfast

Jet2 planeJet2 have announced they will be flying from Belfast International to Madeira next summer. It is among eight new routes from Belfast announced last week, with 50 jobs being created and a fourth plane – a Boeing 737 800 – operating out of  the airport..

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Poor weather forecast. MIUT results.

Weather forecast

Both the BBC Weather App and IPMA, the Portuguese “Met Office” agree that the outlook is not too brilliant until Sunday. Hopefully both weather forecasts will prove incorrect for the sake of those visiting this week.

BBC weather forecast for the next week

IPMA weather forecast for the next week

A slow-moving depression, centred between Madeira and the Azores, is responsible for this poor weather, and the latest forecast predicts periods of heavy rain and showers, possibly accompanied by thunderstorms between midnight tonight (Tuesday) and midday tomorrow. During this 12-hour period, the island will be on an orange warning (the second most serious on a scale of four), applicable to the mountainous regions and the south coast of Madeira and the island of Porto Santo.

Madeira Island Ultra Trail

MIUT logoThe men’s 115km “Ultra” race was won in just  over 13 hours by Francois D’Haene, whilst the women’s was completed in 16 hours 30 minutes by Andrea Huser. Both were well clear of second place. There is an interview with D’Haene, who apparently dominated the second half of the race, here.

YouTube coverage below, but with different finishing times to the official MIUT website quoted above?

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Ferry accident. Jogo do Pião.

Missing ferry accident

A ferry operated by the company that used to run the service connecting Madeira to the mainland – one that has been promising to return to here for some while – has been involved in a dramatic accident in the Canaries. The Armas-operated ferry Volcan de Tamasite collided into a port wall on Gran Canaria on Friday evening after a power cut lasting just two minutes caused engine failure. Five people are understood to have suffered minor injuries and been treated at the scene, with reports that five more were taken to hospital. It is feared that up to 200,000 litres of fuel may have spilled into the ocean after the accident, which caused the sea wall to collapse onto underwater pipes used for refuelling.

Ferry accident in Las Palmas

The boat crashed into a pier on the holiday island of Gran Canaria after the voltage dropped for just two minutes, according to operator Naviera Armas, reports the Daily Mail. The company insists the outage would not have been a problem had the ferry been sailing on the open sea where there were no obstacles. Video footage shows the ship, which was heading towards the neighbouring island of Tenerife with 140 passengers, 30 crew members and dozens of vehicles on board – adrift and at the mercy of the sea before it hit the concrete wall at the entrance to Puerta de la Luz in the Gran Canaria capital Las Palmas. The ferry, which is one of ten with the “Volcan” name in the Naveira Armas fleet,  managed to dock afterwards and passengers accommodated in hotels.
The Independent reported today (Saturday) that there was a three kilometre oil slick, whilst Sky News reports the number of injured at thirteen.

Jogo do Pião

Jogo do PiãoThe Diario reports that the the fourth annual “Game of the Top” took place at the Sports Club of Arco de São Jorge took place last Saturday. The event, which took place in the centre of the parish on the north coast, had about thirty participants and many curious onlookers. The Sports Club is quoted; “ths type of traditional game has gained greater interest among the population, from the youngest to the oldest, and the conviviality and the exchange of experiences between the younger and the “less young” keeps alive this Easter tradition. More on the game itself including a video on a previous post.

Blog traffic

Google analytics screen shot

As the blog approaches its 4 millionth visit over the last eight years – actually it has been in existence ten years but analytics tools were not available until a couple of years in – traffic continues to grow over the last few months. Rewarding to see!

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