João Rodrigues, Olympic Windsurfer, was born in Madeira Island and would like to share some of the secrets os the Island he call home... by the sea...
"You would need to write a book to describe all the wonders that Madeira, known as the Pearl of the Atlantic, has to offer to those who are willing to discover them. By sea or by land, the archipelago hides many real treasures, enticing visitors, to venture and discover them.
Being a self-professed lover of the ocean and avid sportsman interested in the various sports that encourage the discovery of its secrets, I would like to speak about some of the places that marked me the most in this constant rediscovery of Madeira and its islands. Using sports like windsurfing, sailing, surfing, canoeing, paddle board and snorkling, it is possible to journey along the entire coastline as well as the Islands that make up the archipelago of Madeira.
Starting from the southernmost point of Portugal: As Ilhas Selvagens (The Wild Islands!) These two islands, Selvagem Grande and Selvagem Pequena, form what to me is paradise on earth. Located 163 miles south of Madeira, and separated by an ocean which at times can be ruthless, it is well worth the effort to get there, especially for those who love nature in its purest form. They are home to the Calonectris a type of Atlantic seabirds, and a sanctuary of biodiversity, extensively recorded by Charles Darwin during his passage through these islands.
For those of you who might think that the ocean route is too big a hurdle , the Desertas Islands are a more reasonable option, and just as impressive! These small uninhabited islands are home to sea lions, which are a protected species and extremely rare.
Since we are talking about small islands, I cannot fail to mention Porto Santo islets, which hide genuine relics. As well as, the island of Porto Santo, that at any time of the year, offers a golden sand beach, clear waters and good wind. Ideal for those who want an active getaway!
Last but not least, I cannot fail to mention Ponta de São Lourenço and it´s incredible contrast between the South and North Coast. To the South, you will normally find calm sea, inviting blue waters, prompting the discovery of its magical nooks. Crossing the "boqueirão", between the end of the island and the islet where the lighthouse is situated, you will find the North coast, it´s raging deep blue sea, the slopes, the rugged cliffs, and it´s strong currents: a paradise for those who are adventure seekers.
Also on the North Coast you can find Ponta do Pargo. Mecca for surfers, a challenge for the sailors, and a compulsory route for lovers of canoeing and paddle board as well as a dream for divers!"