Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Crossing the Bay of Biscay

Three days.
Summery: grey grey grey

Raining cats and dogs...
Then a dog house is good to have...
...eating a hot dog

But now we´re here! In camaret, France, enjoying an icecream in the sun while the laundry of wet, salt soaked clothes is spinning next door

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Against the wind and the celebration of Carmen

She must have been a hell of a popular lady!, Hampus says. He´s refering to Carmen, the madonna of Camarinas, the village where we now are. The fiesta and celebration of Carmen is going on its third day and there´s still one more day of to go. Every morning at 9.30 the shooting anf firecracking begins, and then continues through out the day. Yesterday it was the day of the Boat procession.

Lugnet före stormen...

In action..
All the boats of the village going out at the same time, fishing vessels, motor yachts, sailingboats, jetskies - every floating vessel possible and the faster it goes the better. Decorated with juniper, flowers, banners and flags. Lying at the hammerhead this was a rocky experience!

The spanish way of "manana, manana" seems to apply to everyday life. The procession was supposed to be at 10 am, but since no one obviously considered the 3 meter tide here, they all were aground so it had to be posponed until 1 am. It´s a charming way of life when your not in a hurry. The celebrations this day was ended by spectacular Fireworks. Most amazing one we´ve ever seen. Even beautiful fireworks on the surface of the sea.

Today Ingeborg needs a good scrubbing, she´s full of dust and ashes. But hey, since the celebration isn´t over yet we best not bother with this, my guess is that this isn´t over by far. Oddly enough all the other guestboats in the marina has chosen to leave.  Still one more day of partying until 5 am...

 Since Sines we´ve been fighting the prevailing northerlies of the coast of Portugal and Spain. Hard work! That means motoring in light winds, trying to make it as far up the coast as possible when possible. Luckily we´ve ended up in nice places with nice people.

Sines. The marina´s just to the left. The village´s up on the hil
We spent midsummer in Sines, but calculating it all wrong, we consumed the herring we saved for this special occation a week earlier. But we still managed to preserve some swedish traditions and invited the other swedish boat there over for a real swedish midsummer strawberry cake.

In all of Sines there´s not a single internetcafé. This we learnt the hard way. After two days of asking around we ended up in the tourist office lending their computer.

After some motoring: Peniche! A kind of cute town. I just have to quote the dutch couple (in their 60s) of "Mama Concha". They are just about to finish their circumnavigation: "We feel so fresh. Like we can do anything!" What a great experience they had.

Peniche is a huge fishing harbour. This meant that life became a little bit harder in the way that we had store away everything aboard like we were out at sea, beacause of the wash the fishing vessels caused speeding by.

Amazing view sailing - flower pots in the windows!! 
After some more  motoring: Baiona! Here we met up with friends we met last summer in Scotland, the dutch catamaran Miss Poes and the norwegian Idun.. What a coindicence we all should end up in northern Spain at the same time. A week of vaccation with great company and good food. Yes, how lucky we are to just be able to write that - vaccation from the vaccation!

And we finally got to sail a catamaran! Everytime I´m aboard Miss Poes I´ve been flabbergasted about everything they keep on top of shelves, tables and not to mention flowerpots while sailing.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Next weather window

Four-five days to Cascais. That was the plan. But what plan goes according to plan? Ours almost never, so maybe I should have seen it coming?

Out at sea I cope well the first two days, the next two I do based on pure will. And there it is, four-five days is my pain limit. After that I become a vegetable in a fixed lying position being of no use of all. All this because of my bad back. Five days to Cascais, sure, that´ll ok, that´ll be endurable.

Now after a week at sea we´re finally at the portugeese mainland, couldn´t even make it to Cascais and ended up in Sines, 50nm south of the destination. Being lucky doing even so, in worst times the compass pointed towards Morocco. It was a long crossing, longer just knowing that it took so long cause we´re going so slow. Starting out with little wind from N and NE tacking and the last part we had 20 knots from N with steep crossings seas banging into the hull.

Have some one else pondered on the thought that maybe all these crazy sailors doing all these crazy things out at sea maybe aren´t that crazy after all? The mind plays tricks on you. Especially if you´re worn out or might be beyond boredom. Days at sea, heaven and ocean melting together, no sight or notion of land. Maybe I would be the one abandoning the boat in calm in the middle of the Atlantic thinking the dinghy might be faster? No blog I read really writes about this subject, are all sailors really sane and just the crazy ones really crazy? Now being acquainted with a few I do emphasize on the question mark. And the noise onboard. All the time it´s noise, a constant flow of sounds. The waves banging against the hull, the rigging, the wind, the ocean, the moving of the interior. The brain eventually starts to make patterns and logic of all this. Hampus tend to hear radio talk shows and I sometimes odd voices. Sometimes he tunes in the weirdest of shows but at least it´s a conversation starter... Haven´t come around to ask a circum navigator. Does that ever stop? Would be interesting to know. But for now, I´m really happy I don´t have to find out for myself.

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Porto Santo making us poor

It´s always nice being on the road again, so to speak. And even nicer arriving somewhere new. This time Porto Santo. Cute little town, golden beach, turquise water could be worth staying for some time. If you don´t mean "worth" as in "good price" or "good value for your money"...

We came late at night, close to midnight. No one in the marina so took a berth at the pontoon. Next morning we got to know the price, that night had cost us 56 euros! So not being an alternative staying, we anchored in the big harbour basin (used to be moorings but now being serviced so there were none). For this they charged us 21 euros/night and we had the pleasure of swinging round the anchor all day and night due to the gusts coming downhills from the mountains.

On the bright side we met the swedish boat Wildrose and sometimes there was hot water in the showers. Next to us on the anchorage was a german boat, Quiniutoq and we had a great day together hiking the fairytale vulcano that later turned out not to be one.

The thing is, going north as we try to, we kind of got stuck in Porto Santo. We waited and waited (growing older) and together with Wildrose who´s also heading north we planned to get away as soon as a weather window appeared. Eventually the window came and and the window went but without us. No winds for a couple of days gave the opperunity to motor north. Wildrose left and we stayed behind, the reason being that without a working autopilot four days of hand steering didn´t seem that appealing. But hey, at that moment Porto Santo didn´t either any longer. We took the next possible window.

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Sunday, 5 June 2011


Madeira is the main Island in the small archipelago cosisting of Madeira, porto Santo, Ihlas Selvagens and Ihlas Desertas about 500 nautical miles off the Portuguese coast. The capital is Funchal and around 260.000 people live on the entire island. The climate is sub tropical, it's green and colorful with a lot of flowers.

The passage from Graciosa was boring and annoying. Motoring and hand steering in a rolly swell for the first 36 hours, putting the sails up and taking them down again 4 times a day. The last 24 hours we could sail. Just as the sun came up, so did the wind and we engaged the windvane and fell asleep in the sun.

We could smell Madeira long before we could see the island itself. The visibility was poor and the island wasn't visible until we were 4M from it. If we hadn't had the GPS I would have had serious doubt about our position.

It was great seing real trees and flowers again. Funchal is a beatuiful city. We rented a car for a day together with Dan on "She of Feock" and drove up into the mountains. It's really spectacular. Forests, flowers, fog, waterfalls, you name it. We took a walk between the two highest peaks. It's like a scene from Sound of Music.

We stayed almost three weeks in Funchal, waiting for winds to go to Portugal. Eventually we gave up and sailed to the little Island of Porto Santo, 42M from Funchal. That's where we are now, still waiting to go to Potugal. It's the wrong way of going really. The right way would be to go to the Azores and from there to England, don't want to do that though.

 Right now we miss Funchal. The weather was great and there was lots to do although the marina was expensive. Porto Santo is very nice but it's cold, grey and raining.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Sirocco

We wake up in the middle of the night. From dead calm sea (when we went to bed) it´s now blowing like hell!  The air is hot and it feels as rain, but that´s just the water blown up from the sea. The wind howls. The boat´s pulling the lines. We add a few lines for safety and meet our neighbour that´s also up and about. It´s about 2.30 am. Although the wind it´s a beautiful night and impossible to go back to sleep. A lot of people have left their boat here and flown back home for the summer so we all take a walk to check the other boats. Afterwards we go back to Ingeborg and make panncakes and about 5 am we all say goodnight go back to bed.

It´s one of those magic nights. A memory.

Read more about the Sirocco here. It´s a wind of many names, in the Canarys is called la Calina. It derives from the Sahara desert and explains why it´s so varm and dusty outside today and the fog over the mountains yesterday.

Today we´re leaving for Madeira. A bit tired, but still. /Lotta

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Isla Graciosa

Our favourite playground...

new favourite activity: climbing vulcanos.
the anchorage at playa Fransesca
admiring the view - Bart too...?!
bath tub in the rocky parts of the island

rocky formations or formations that rock?
collecting sea salt
sand sand sand, no roads on the island, no electricity in the marina, just sand sand sand and tranquility
and maybe a flower or too
today´s challenge
Lanzarote in the silhoutte
me gusta!
Hiking with Bart and Dan