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

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Acceleration zones

At last! It felt like vaccation being away from Las Palmas! We went south, planning a few stops there before going to Gomera and Hierro.

Fist stop was Pascito Blanco. A sleepy wealthy neighbourhood with a lot of "hibernated" germans. The most common way of transportation is the golf car (the course just a couple of minutes away) and the most popular activity´s walking the dog. We took the bus to Maspalomas, the famous/infamous playa. It´s a small piece of the Sahara desert, blown here by the wind. The dunes was so hot you got burnt standing barefoot. And of course the roumors was true, it´s a gay paradise. But how they manage without getting burnt I don´t know. Peek a bu!

Next up, Puerto Mogán. This was almost a spa experience since they got HOT water in the showers. Of course you have to pay for it! For us, 50 ft with the bowsprit, we payed 30€ and then water end electricity on top of that. We anchored at first,  had a suspicious about it being expensive but after a couple of hours of the roly poly we gave up and sought shelter in the marina. It´s a really touristy place but  in a small scale. No huge hotels and just two story buildings. The marina´s safe and lively and there´s a beach nearby.

Off to Teneriffe! Finally leaving the island. But then, in the middle if the acceleration zone the winch broke. It might have been 35 knots and the waves was breaking. Nothing else to do than to turn back so we´d could use the other winch! We got a tip that Arguinguin was an ok anchorage. Repaired the winch, went in to see the village and in the meantime deciding a new destination. In the afternoon we saw a rescue helicopter going out. The next morning a boat was towed into the marina by a rescueboat, the mast broken but Hampus regognized the boat from Las Palmas. (When we got back in Las Palmas we got to know it was Mark who we´d met before.) He´d been out the same day in the same accelaration zone. Got dismasted, trying to engine and got a rope in the propeller. Since they couldn´t establish a working radio contact and get the right coordinates a helicopter was sent out and he and his dog had to abondon the ship and get rescued by air. Now his adventure´s taking another course, selling his boat at a bargain price (Best price ever, he probably spent the same amount just on the windvane) and flying to Australia.

New plan. We figured since we had to turn back north in a week so maybe it´s just stupid and a waste of time to have to go back and forth through the acceleration zones. The new plan was to go back Las Palmas, fix the genua sail that got a few rips in UV-cover in the acceleration zone and then continue to Graciosa which got the best angle to Madeira. The acceracion zone back here took forever. We had to tack and eventually we gave up and engined close to the coast. The trip that took us 5 hours the other dirrection now took us  over 12 hours!

Still we had a few days of "summer vaccation". Swimming, lying on the sun deck with sea turtles paddling around us and Las Palmas fainted to a bleak memory...

This very moment it´s very alive though and we ´re waiting for the next oppertunity to get the hell out of here!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Leaving Las Palmas

At last! 

We stayed here about three weeks and eventually it became pretty boring. Not the people and the parties but the feeling of being locked in. It´s a huge marina, rather unpersonal and every pontoon has it´s own gate with seperate keys. It took us about 20 minutes to walk to the harbour office. So you better find yourself a nice pontoon with great neighbours just as we did. The other way is of course to use the dinghy to visit friends, going to the marina office and minimarket. Don´t think we used the dinghy on the whole trip as much as we´ve done inside this marina.

The marina is cheap, here´s wifi and water and electicity is included. It´s a good place if you need chandlerys or repairs done. Theres a great beach on the other side of town and Vegueta, the old town, is really cosy. Think we just overstayed our welcome.

Las Palmas is together with Santa Cruz (in Tenerife) the capital of the Canary Islands. Its the biggest city with a population of about 400.000 inhabitants. When we came here it was carnival and great fun! I´ve never seen so many dragqueens in one spot. They all looked magnificent, with hats, hairdoes and of course HIGH heels. In the street I suddenly, in all the fuss and commotion, found myself a drink holder to one darling while he/she bettered his/hers make up. Everyone dressed up, old and young. They say after Rio, Las palmas is most famous for the carnival.

Fuerte Ventura

The island is the second biggest of the Canary islands. It´s got the longest beaches of all, and I guess this, combined with the tradewinds and atlantic waves, is the reason why it´s a Mecka for surfers. Windsurfers, wavesurfers and kitesurfers and yes, a one or two sailors too. Wish I had known this when I was younger: THIS is where all the tanned, cool dudes hang out! We took surfing lesson but realised it´s easier to look like a surfer than to actually be one.

Especially Corralejo in the north has a nice goove, it´s a small town but got everything you need (not a chandlery though but a dozen hardware stores. You can even get the 3 kilo camping gaz here). Here´s tourists, but mainly surfers so it´s got a different feel to it compared to  the other "touristy places".  There is 3-4 guest berths, but the staff is friendly and will do it´s best to find you a space.  Actually there´s really a whole guest pontoon but it´s mostly filled up by live-aboards that enjoy the layed back beachlife here. Wouldn´t recommend entering when there´s swell from north east. Oh, and when  the Fred Olsen ferry is in, you got wifi for an hour or so if you got a good antenna.

My sister and her daughter came visiting here and we had a great time. They´re both half mermaids so it was good to have company when swimming for once!  There are golden beaches running from the city centre and the whole way going south. "Vamos a la playa"!

We spent one night at anchor at Lobos, the little island right outside Corralejo. It was a roly night but the island was well worth a visit. Once it was a lot of seals out here. The natives used to call them seawolves and in spanish wolf is "lobos" and that´s how the island got its name.

Gran Tarajal has a more spanish feel to it. Not that great beaches but more a genuine spanish town. Since Agadir we´ve gotten allergic to search in the marinas so we just stayed one night and then went on to Morro Jable.

Morro Jable might as well have been a german village. German menues, german tourists but still a nice "german" resort. The marina is ok and we saw rays in the basin that must have been 2 meters between the wings! The beach was good fun, big waves rolling in to play in. It´s a long sandy beach and it gets mory touristy the further you go from the marina and the sunbathers gets nuder...

Friday, 4 March 2011

Creeping around the Canaries

We've become lazy. We we're actually going to leave Corralejo today but we felt stressed about getting the boat ready and went for brunch instead. Tomorrow is the day though! We're going to anchor at the Island of Los Lobos over the night and then continue to Gran Tarajal, Morro Jable and Las Palmas and as usual we've made new friends that we'll have part from.  A part of cruising...

The time in Corralejo has been nice, the marina is cheap, we're paying little over €10 a night and there is bothe electricity and water. It's a touristic place but it's still a functioning city with everything you might need as a resident; supermarkets, hardware stores etc.

 We're running low on money and we'll have to be back in Sweden by the end of June, or make more along the way. Still working on that bit. We, or I, will take on extra crew from the Azores to the UK (1300M), two spots are available (wink, wink), early may probably.  That's about it for now...


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

We are sorry for the long silence...

Part of it is because we've been lazy. Part is because we find ourselves in a marina in Isla Graciosa north of Lanzarote (Canaries) without electricity. That means that we are limited in the use of SSB and laptops. Also, I (Hampus) spent the first 8 days in bed with cough and a temperature that was pushing 40, it might have been pneumonia. I just finished the antibiotics today and now I'm alright again.

Without internet access I don't even remember our last post on the blog so I'm not really sure where to pick up...

We spent almost two months in Morocco. First in Mohammedia then one night in Essouira. That stop wasn't planned but we ran into strong head winds on our way to Agadir so we turned around and ran like little rabbits into the relative safety of Essouria. I say relative because the harbor was littered with fishing vessels of all sizes. Fortunately only the small ones kept bumping into us all night. Apart from that and that the entire harbor smells of rotten fish, Essouira is a very nice place. It was a haven for hippies during the 60's and 70's and Jimi Hendrix owned a house there. You can still see and hear the influences when you walk the streets. At night people, mostly young locals gather in the small shops to play music. In other parts of Morocco there are a lot of traditional instruments, in Essouira there's a great mix of traditional and modern instruments and the same goes for the music. This produces something that is a mix of 60's music and african rythms and it sounds very, very good.

After Essouira we finally made it to Agadir. Agadir was destroyed by an earthquake in the 60's and was rebuilt as a modern city with tourism in mind. Hence it's not very moroccan and not very interesting. The Marina is located in a very modern and expensive tourist area, the staff is friendly but the marina itself is subject to swell and surging. It's very uncomfortable and we had two lines snap off due to the constant surge. Others were not as lucky and lost more lines. Some had their cleats and toe rails ripped off their boats. This is by no means extreme weather. For the most part there was no wind and flat calm. The swell that came in from the atlantic was around 3-4.5 metres.

Morocco is a great place to visit. Marinas are fairly cheap while the ports are very expensive. Agadir, which is a full service marina with WiFi and everything charged us 130 euros a week while Essouira that offers neither electricity nor water or toilets charged us 24 euros a night. Fruits and vegetables are cheap. A kg of oranges is 4 dirhams (40 euro cents) and the same for a glass of fresh orange juice on the street. You can have a dinner out for 30 Dh (3 euros) if you look around a bit. A petit taxi will charge you around 2 euros for a 7 km trip but in some places, like Agadir and Marrakech you have to watch out or the drivers will try to trick you. There were never any problems in Mohammedia. We also payed a visit to Marrakech and Casablanca by train from Mohammedia. We stayed at a hotel in Marrakech. It was probably a high class place in the 50's. Now, not so much. At least we didn't wake up from cockraoches running across our faces. It doesn't mean they didn't, they just didn't wake us up. We didn't spend more than 30 euros for a double room though.

After Agadir we crossed 200M to Isla Graciosa. A little sandy, calm and quiet island just off the north tip of Lanzarote. At first we were sent away by the guards in the marina because we hadn't made a reservation beforehand. Slightly pissed off we left and we called Jabadao, a boat that left Agadir a couple of hours before us, on the VHF to let him know that we weren't allowed in and were continuing to Lanzarote. He said that he had problems with his engine so we offered him a tow into Graciosa. Apparently, towing a boat is a good reason to be allowed in the marina and we could stay. The next day we saw the harbor master, who has nothing to do with the guards, and he sorted us out with the permit and everything. We've been here ever since, watching boats being turned away. Some just moor up and refuse to leave. That also appears to be a valid reason to stay. If you can only stay long enough to talk to the harbor master you're safe. We would recommend that you get a permission before going here to save you some trouble though. The island is nice and it's the cheapest marina in the Canaries, we pay 8.50 euros a night.

That's about it for now. Pictures from here and morocco will come later when we have a real internet connection and electricity. There is a hamburger bar here that offers free WiFi and electricity, but you have to unplug the freezer for that and we couldn't have the melted ice cream on our consciences.

/Hampus, Isla Graciosa, Canaries

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