Madeira – an island of variety!

Madeira – an island of variety!

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Where to go, what to do…while winterstorms are filling my village up with snow?

We chose Madeira.
I had heard stories about flying in Madeira, but I really didn´t know anything, as I left Tana and minus 29 degreece Celcius and landed in Funchal in + 16C in the beginning of February 2013.
Werner Luidolt and Till Gottbrath was sharing this experience with me, and Andrea Dorsch arrived a few days later.
We stayed in a small non-touristic village called Arco da Calheta, situated about 45 minutes from the airport. This is actually the village where most of the flying is done in Madeira.
It all starts with a visit to launch – at Hartmut´s place. He clearly tells us, how dangerous it is to fly paraglider, and that we must be careful. There actually was an accident only a couple of weeks before our arrival, wich didn´t end good. Arco da Calheta is on the sunny southside of the island and you can fly there, almost every day during a year. As the wind mostly comes from the north, we fly on the leeside of the island. But on good days, there are thermals enough, and you can go on short XC trips. The biggest limitation for XC is that there are almost no place to land!


We flew almost every day for 10 days, we tried new gliders from NOVA and we travelled around the island, looking for new launch & landing sites. Our common goal was to fly to the closest sandy beach, in Calheta. We did, but not at the same time. It feels marvellous to fly out, land at a beach and walk barefooted in the sand, imagining people shuffeling snow at the same time in Norway.

Till also brought some new gliders to Madeira, and that suited me perfectly. In Norway it isn´t easy to test new gliders, when you need XS or S – as most testgliders are M. So when I discovered a neat little playful green and blue SusiQ from NOVA, I just had a great laugh. What a glider! So much fun, so easy to handle, so great to play with & so funny to dance with!
I soared over the launch site, yelled and laughed loudly, it was so much fun. In my thoughts I flew away to the Lyngsalps in Northern Norway – I imagined to hike and fly with it, in the MIDNIGHTSUN. After a while I was thrilled and almost exhausted from having such a good time, from smiling so much that I toplanded!
Hmmm…maybe it was just made and meant for me?

As I tried the Ion2 with almost no thermals, and no wind – and once, on the leeside of a mountain – experiencing getting flushed down the mountain, I can only say it felt safe. I have no idea how my Factor2 would´ve reacted in such conditions. Werner Luidolt has got a Ion2 as well, wich he is totally satisfied with, and he flies millions of kilometers with it – so I am sure, it must be good! :-D

About Madeira I can just say, I have never been to such a small island, wich has everything. From the fog and rainy weather on the northside, to the sunny side on the south, steep volcanic cliffs and dry land as well as bananas, colourful flowers and green rainforest trees on the other side. It has small quiet villages, and “crowded” small cities, it has quiet pubs and loud African bars, several fishrestaurants with great fish and delicious snails (according to Till). Madeira has almost got it all.
But they don´t sell hairwax, so don´t forget your hairwax!!! (Excuse my hairdo on all the pictures – and thank God for helmets!)


Thanks to NOVA for letting us test the gliders!
Information about flying in Madeira can be found here;

All the best;

Guro Saniola Bjerk