Christiaan Calf, The Netherlands

Nick Ardon, The Netherlands
25 May 2017
Laura Vrijenhoef, The Netherlands
25 May 2017

My dad told me about Dennis and what he was working on in Madeira. It sounded like a fun adventure so I decided to go to the island with a good friend of mine. When we arrived there we got picked up by Dennis and stopped by a local bar to get to know each other while enjoying some poncha (a local drink).

When we were done Nick and I walked the last bit to Dennis place following a levada(an artificial stream of water to hydrate the land), the views were stunning. Once we arrived we looked around a little bit and enjoyed the rest of the day.A lot of days were spent helping Dennis building and cleaning the land, this was very satisfying to do but very hard work. In the weekends we went to the centre to have a taste of the nightlife on Madeira this was really fun but soon we missed the calmness that came with being in a valley with nothing but nature.

But it wasn’t al fun and games, around the third day of our stay a huge wildfire developed and was soon coming to our area. So we took action, every awake moment was spent spraying water around to slow the upcoming fire down as much as possible. When we saw the fire coming we drove to the village that was located on top of the mountain equipped with dust masks, water and a lots of angst.

Dennis didn’t want to bail because he thought we would make a chance against the fire, i hesitated but I figured it wouldn’t be too dangerous because the locals where very calm. We helped the locals putting out fires around the houses but couldn’t save all of them it was very sad. When we got back to our place down in the valley the wind decided it was our turn. We went on top of a concrete structure where we would be safe to spray al the sparks that came down to prevent little fires to start. It worked!

Because a big area was recently cleaned from weeds the fire didn’t get to our place from the upside of the mountain but the underside was very bushy so this was a problem. We needed to get some sleep so we switched every few hours to look out for when shit hits the fan. When I woke up Dennis told me that he was busy fighting the fire all night at the underside of the mountain, the fire went away eventually.

When the smoke settled down we went out to look at the damage and put out the glowing coals left from the fire to prevent another outburst.After this whole ordeal we relaxed for a few days at the many beaches Madeira has to offer and went back to the normal routine.I really enjoyed staying with Dennis and I got the adventure I was looking for. Looking at the scar on my ankle makes me exited for the next time I visit. Till next year!