Somewhere in Macaronesia, between Ilha Madeira and the Canary Islands, lay two remote islands known as the Salvage Islands. Most people are not even aware that these islands exist nor that they in 1971 were sanctioned as Portugal’s first natural preserve. Today, 40 years later, this anniversary has been celebrated by inviting watermen (and women) from around the globe to take part in an open ocean crossing between the two beautiful islands.
Back in June I received an invite for the Waterman Challenge from the Parque Natural da Madeira. Only from my friend Sapo on “Danger Island” had I heard tales of these small magic islands somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. I was super excited to head out on a new adventure!
The crew for the event was a mix of windsurfers and stand up paddlers. We all met up on Madeira and set sail for the Selvagens in some small sailboats that were packed to the limit with boards, sails, food and Brisa Maracuja soda from the sponsors.
After 24 hours at sea in a tippy boat we arrived. Upon first glance of the islands we were all stunned. The deep blue colors against the barren cliffs were breathtaking. We were all eager to hit the water on our Naish sups and go explore the island!
The open ocean crossing between the islands was super fun! We were 5 people that did the crossing on SUPs while 3 people windsurfed. I paddled a 14” Naish Glide, which I felt very comfortable on in the open ocean. The conditions were challenging with swirling winds and rough seas, but ocassionally it would all come together and we would have epic downwind conditions for a while.
We were all extremely tired after the crossing and enjoyed a good night of sleep. The next day we sailed back to Madeira due to a vicious storm forecast sent out by the Portuguese Navy… “Luckily” we dodged the storm and scored some sick summer waves.
I have now been back in Klitmøller, Denmark, for a week and tomorrow it is time to pack my bags again. School is back in action and next stop is Iceland with my school mates for a field trip. The swell forecast looks awesome for the next 7 days, the boards are packed and hopefully we will score some cool frigid sessions on island of sagas