Macaronesia: Isles of the Blessed

We will be premiering our new documentary, Macaronesia: Isles of the Blessed, on YouTube August 30, 2019 at 8pm. Afterward the videos will remain at the same URL. I will be answering questions during the premiere. You can find the links to the videos below where the premiere and videos will be.

There are four Atlantic islands in the Macaronesia ecoregion: the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago; Cape Verde, an independent African nation; and two separate autonomous islands of Portugal: Azores and Madeira. This documentary covers all but the Canaries. It is broken into three main chapters and three minor (vignette) chapters.

Chapter 1: The Azores
Chapter 2: Cabo Verde
Chapter 3: Madeira

Chapter 4: Flores, Azores
Chapter 5: São Vicente, Cabo Verde
Chapter 6: Porto Santo, Madeira

Because there is a set of small Micronesian islands in the Pacific, some of which LMM has filmed, like our two series' covering Guam, the Marshalls, Palau, the FSM and the Marianas, many assume there must be a macronesia (a large set of islands) somewhere in the world. (See the two series here:, and here:

But the word Macaronesia has a completely different etymology and meaning from macronesia. Taken from the ancient Greek word, makárōn nêsoi, mentioned in Homer’s 8th Century BC work, the Odyssey, it refers to a semi-legendary place known as Isles of the Blessed, or the Fortunate Isles, a paradise reserved for special deities who were pure enough to gain entrance to the Elysian Fields.

Some say the islands were a mythical place, others say they were known. Today, the islands have been named Macaronesia in light of this Greek legend.

Is the ancient Greek mythology true? Could these islands truly be the legendary Isles of the Blessed, the Greek's Elysium, or possibly the ancient City of Atlantis?

Please contact us at for licensing or to donate. We rely on donations to make these videos. LMM is a California nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax exemption corporation. We create videos around the world educating others as well as bringing to light positive service projects. We have filmed in orphanages, prisons, animal shelters, wildlife conservation projects and the like, and incorporate these with videos on geography, history and culture.

Filmed, Edited, Written and Produced by David Whalen
Produced by Richard Taylor
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Copyright © 2019
La Mancha Media

The Weather Channel airs our footage

LMM footage is shown on The Weather Channel making it the #1 video on their app for the last weekend of March 2019. Check it out.

To read our original post and see more images click here

See our original video below.

Macaronesia Film Summer of 2019

The Sete Cidades twin lakes of São Miguel, Açores, Portugal
La Mancha Media, with the help of Richard Taylor, will be making a new three part documentary on Macaronesia, a set of islands off the coast of Portugal and Africa. Many assume there must be a Macronesia set of islands since there is a Micronesia. Oddly, our last film project was in Micronesia. However, Macaronesia has nothing to do with Micronesia or any fabled Macronesia. Instead it's a completely different word with a completely different meaning. See below.

There are four islands in the chain: 1. the Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal; 2. Madeira, another autonomous regions of Portugal; 3. the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago; and 4. Cape Verde, an independent African nation. We will be going to all but the Canarys.

The entomology of the word Macaronesia comes from the Greek meaning the islands of the fortunate. According to Greek mythology, these islands were known as the Fortunate Isles or Isles of the Blessed, a mythical place reserved for those deities who had chosen to be reincarnated thrice, and managed to be judged as especially pure enough to gain entrance to the Elysian Fields all three times.

Therefore this is the Greek's Elysium or Elysian Fields. This refers to a conception of the afterlife that developed over time and was maintained by some Greek religious and philosophical sects and cults. In Homer's Odyssey, for example, Elysium (i.e., Macaronesia) is described: the Elysian plain...where life is easiest for men. No snow is there, nor heavy storm, nor ever rain, but ever does Ocean send up blasts of the shrill-blowing West Wind that they may give cooling to men. — Homer, Odyssey (4.560–565

The Greek oral poet Hesiod refers to the Isles of the Blessed in his didactic poem Works and Days:

....And they live untouched by sorrow in the islands of the blessed along the shore of deep-swirling Ocean, happy heroes for whom the grain-giving earth bears honey-sweet fruit flourishing thrice a year, far from the deathless gods, and Cronos rules over them. — Hesiod, Works and Days (170)

So these islands were known to Greeks to be the paradise they desired. I can't wait to discover this amazing beauty and dive into its ancient history and present day cultural traits.

The film trip is planned for June of 2019, and hopefully the three part film will be available on YouTube by mid July. If you, the reader of this blog, would like to help in any way, please contact me (David Whalen, LMM Director) on the contact form of this website.

I have just started my research and will be looking for places to visit and people to interview. So far I have found a few interesting places we may visit.

A. Cape Verde
--Cidade Velha (old city) is a UNESCO World Heritage site, the oldest settlement on CV.
--Cidade Velha has the oldest colonial church in the world - Nossa Senhora do
--Rosário church, which was constructed in 1495
--Praia – the capital, on Santiago Island
--Mindelo – port city on São Vicente, probably the country's liveliest
--Cidade Velha (Ribeira Grande) – A historic town on Santiago
--Brava, the smallest island, is a botanist's paradise, home to many unique flora that live in its misty forests
--Pico de Fogo - an active volcano on Fogo that has created a unique landscape best explored on foot or Horseback

B. Azores
--Lagoa das Sete Cidades, a beautiful hour glass green and blue body of water known as a caldera northwest of Ponta Delgada. It is storied with myths and legends.
--Lagoa das Furnas, an active caldera with steam vents, mud pots and geysers, locals cook food in earth ovens available in picnic areas.
--Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lake) is a beautiful caldera lake high up in the mountain and known for its dramatic views and white sand beach.
--At Faial Island see Horta Harbour where all sail boat stop, Faial Caldera and Capelinhos volcano.
--At Pico Island you can climb the mountain, 2351 meters above sea level. It is the tallest mountain in Portugal.
--A main street in Angra do Heroísmo(a  UNESCO heritage site) and main city of the island of Terceira.
--Whale and Dolphin Watching.

C. Madeira
--The archipelago is considered to be the first territorial discovery of the exploratory period of the Age of Discovery
--In 2019 Madeira island will celebrate six centuries since its formal discovery by the Portuguese.
--The "laurisilva" forests, called lauraceas madeirense, notably the forests on the northern slopes of Madeira Island, are designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO
--Levadas An impressive system of aqueducts built between 1461 and 1966 to bring water from the mountains to farmland.
--Cabo Girão One of the world's highest ocean cliffs (590m/1,935 ft. above sea level).
--Jardim Botânico Funchal Botanical garden.
--São Vicente Caves,  ( Volcanic caves
--(grutas) where you can visit lava tubes.
--Jardim do Monte Palace Magnificent gardens of the former Monte Palace hotel.
--Jardim Orquídea Orchid garden.
--Madeira Story Centre, [13] ( The best way to learn about Madeira's history and culture.
--Madeira has some truly fantastic roads. The fantastic coastal roads and hilly terrain make this island a drivers dream, with brilliant views.
--Kayaking at Ponta de São Lourenço, see hidden gems around Ponta de São Lourenço: visit its enchanting bays, marine caves and breathtaking landscapes, accessible only by boat.

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