Santa Maria, the time machine
There was some anxiety. Hear about the construction of the nau, a sailing boat named Santa Maria de la Inmaculada Concepción. It’s the largest of three of Christopher Columbus, who sailed in it, on his first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492. A navigator who knew the Madeira and Porto Santo.
The crew already waiting for me and the others at the pier on a sunny day and calm seas.
On board, we found a good sized sailboat. With three distinct parts.
The central part, where they did much of life on board, under which were stores and other divisions.
The front, with various supplies and an area for navigation aids. On this division covered, there is room to better see the path to follow.
Back at the stern, is the largest division. It is decorated with motifs related to the sea, maps, mouths of fish, turtles and a true scarlet macaw. Above this space are covered in two different levels.
The sail up the stern first. The others follow him. We need to catch any wind that day calm.
The bell rings three times on board.
With other fellow travelers who also get in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, among the islanders of Nossa Senhora da Conceição e de S. José, the Santa Maria loose its moorings and started navigating. More slowly than a man swimming.
All on board are accommodated in many places available to enjoy the journey and the sights.
Gradually we are away from port, and land. Someone interrupts the calm that they lived on board and said: "whale in sight."
Guided by experienced sailors, we see in the distance something in the water.
When we got close we no longer see anything. But waiting is rewarded with a new sighting of whales-peas-in-bottle. Do not reach over 4.5 meters and can be found mainly in deep water areas of the North Atlantic.
Are not very common in the waters of Madeira island.
They are animals that feed on the basis of cephalopods, mainly squid and cuttlefish, and occasionally fish.
Satisfied the curiosity, the ship, which had roamed the South, it changes direction to the west.
The journey continues quiet. It provides a magnificent view to the south coast city of Funchal.
The houses on the brushes are a delight to landscape view.
Soon we are in Camara de Lobos.
We see the beautiful cove and later on a huge cliff overlooking the sea. Upstairs, at the highest point is the Cape Girão, the second highest promontory in the world.
With a sea quite calm, the ship sails slowly to its base.
A translucent light blue sea awaits us.
The anchor is released.
It is the invitation for a swim. The Sun invites. Many can’t resist the temptation and throw themselves overboard.
Further west still sees a lot of land.
Some time later, it lifted anchor and ship Santa Maria points to bow to Funchal. It's time to return. The sea remains calm. It is served on board a glass of wine and a sweet Madeira.
Câmara de Lobos is left behind.
We doubled the Ponta da Cruz, who is characterized as the most southern point of Portugal. Looks like a monster guardian aware to the invaders.
Funchal resurface.This time the port on the left.
Once spotted some notes on the landscape than we had seen in the previous link, we reached the starting point. The ship returns to be tied to land.
The bell rings again ...
... and I wake up. After all was just a dream.
True, what I write can be read as fiction. It was the intention. On board, it seems we are in the fifteenth century. So, everything can be in XV century or in XXI century.
I just write it this way in order to show that we can enter the time machine and travel like we were at the time of discovery.
What I wrote was true. Only the issue of the candles I had to write that they were puffed when, in reality, was little wind, just put the stern to the picture.
Moreover, the ship made as accurate as possible in relation to the original Columbus sailed the engine, which did not exist at the time of the navigator who discovered America already inhabited.
All aboard transport us to demand that time. Soon, very little makes us feel that we are in XXI century.
That said, the 'Santa Maria returned to his usual place at the bottom of the port of Funchal.
The passengers disembarked and were given land in a photograph of their carriage.
The ship makes two trips a day, a morning and afternoon.
Usually goes west to Cape Girão, and returns. They are journeys of three hours.
Tickets can be purchased from the ship, or in the Marina of Funchal, near the city's quayside.
The board can be served several drinks and snacks and souvenirs are also sold.
One more note to mention that offered fresh off Cape Girão is the honey cake, traditional island, made from honey to sugar cane.
The 'Santa Maria has five crew members. But always with four sails.
It can carry 100 passengers.
Outside of August, most of the passengers traveling on the ship has more than 50 years.
The Portuguese are very rare on board. The locals are even more rare.
The Santa Maria was built on the Madeira island by Robert Wijntje, a dutchman and by local craftsmen, between July 1997 and Jully 1998, in the fishing village of Camara de Lobos.
In 1998, the Santa Maria represented the Madeira Wine in Expo 98 in Lisbon, where she was visited by 97.016 people in only 25 days.
Since then thousands more have sailed and continue to sail aboard the Santa.
The Santa Maria is also the most photographed boat in Madeira.
Various television documentries both local and international have been made on board this famous boat, including Discovery Channel: "The quest for Columbus".