Posted by: onboardtourswhales | May 29, 2018

Madeira Islands post 3- Whale Museum- Cable Cars- Gardens

March 8, 2018 Celebrate International Women’s Day!!!!!!!! A year ago I was on Salt Cay of the Turks and Caicos Islands as a Humpback whales and sea turtles intern. Honored to meet that day the first woman Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson. They are still recovering from the hurricanes. Today I was at the Oceanic Observatory of Madeira (OOM) with women from Portugal, Australia, France, and Belguim, we’re all cetacean geeks 😉 Last week I met women from Germany and China. Language and cultural differences, yet we all share mutual care and concern for all people, our oceanlife, our earthlife, and our homes. I am very grateful. Stormy, windy, rainy weather here has kept us grounded. Storm Emma did a lot of damage to some coastal businesses and rock falls throughout the island. We’re working on data processing of thousands of cetacean photos. I struggle with all the excel editing of sightings data and have even more appreciation for data processors!! March was in like a lion, out like a lamb? Hope we get back out on the water next week! There were short breaks in the weather. I toured the Whale Museum in Canical, and rode the cable car up to Monte, then another cable car to the Botanical Gardens. The Whale Museum had an exhibit about past whaling off Madeira, and an exhibit about current cetaceans and research contributed by the scientists I’m working with. A museum guide struck up a conversation with me and she shared her grandfather was a whaler back in the 1940’s. Jobs were few, you were either a fisher, whaler, canal worker, worked in the sugarcane and banana fields, or grape fields for wineries. Whaling crew got monthly salaries, the rest were unstable incomes depending on fish and crop yields. All jobs were very hard labor. The whaling crews made a meager, but dependable living, they didn’t get the wealth of the whaling ship owners and investors. Her mother was barefoot until she got her first pair of shoes at 16 years old. I asked her how she felt about tourism, it can be a mixed impact. She answered, “I have worked here for 4 years now, when I started I told my co-worker I am going to go talk to my friends. My co-worker said ‘I don’t see any of your friends?’ These people here, they are why I have a job and can make a living, they are my friends.” She was also educated about the cetaceans in her waters and their value now. She touched my heart 🙂 It is slow paced here, on island time, winter season, not too crowded, summer businesses closed, so I got a 6 passenger cable car all to myself to go up the mountain and see the gardens! Tho there were sun breaks there was still wind and gusts rockin and rollin the cable car that had me literally singing out loud to myself ‘Keep Breathing’. Cable company wouldn’t sell me return ticket, if wind increased they shut down. But I could bus, taxi, or walk back down the mountain. I could see the potential in the gardens, but majority of plants and trees dormant, they do have seasons here. I admit I’m spoiled by the Butchart Gardens, but glad I went and made it thru the cable car thrill rides 🙂 Hope all are well. Greeting here is a light air kiss on each cheek, I kinda like that 🙂




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