Friday, January 16, 2009

More from Madeira

On Friday we took a jeep tour on the island to the west of Funchal. The island is quite steep and the driver used 4-wheel drive on some paved roads (not for the faint of heart but we have a few on the trip). We got this great view of the "Nun Valley" and the small settlement located in the valley floor. The sky was dark with clouds and the picture is not bright but the depth of the valley was impressive and clearly showed that this island has experienced many catastrophic landslides. Ancient soils (paleosols) are interbedded with the many lava flows, that in this view dip from left to right. It looked to me like the settlement in Nun Valley was built on the toes of some of these landslides. Yikes!

Here are a couple of views of Cabo Girao west of Funchal. This is claimed to be the second highest sea cliff in the world after one in Taiwan. (They obviously must mean sea cliffs that tourists drive to). It's hard to get some perspective on this but I guessed it to be at 2,500 ft. straight down. In the first pic you can barely see fields of crops along the shoreline. It was very impressive and again testifies to the power of waves and gravity to shape coastlines in the Atlantic Ocean.

And a volcanic cliff near our place at the Reid's Palace Hotel. Note how the visible flows of basalt rock dip towards the sea (away from the vents higher up on the island.

Reid's Palace Hotel, Madeira

Funchal towards the ocean

Funchal towards the interior

We'll be traveling now to the mainland of Africa and in the country of Burkina Faso. Internet service is an unknown for me so be patient as we will explore for 3 days. I'll post again when I can.


  1. Madeira looks great -- and it's volcanic, right up your alley! Wish I was there with ya...


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