Las Palmas in December

We had to head to the marina Las Palmas for meeting the other boats/crews of the Viking Explorers.

Sailing from south of Tenerife was hard work. Because of the announced stormy weather with high waves we took shelter in one of the few bays of Gran Canarias west coast, Puerto de las Nieves. We anchored opposite to the ferry dock for three nights. The third day we tried our way out of the bay in rough weather. Hard winds up to 28 knots from northeast and rough sea with 3 m waves made sailing round the northwest cliffs of Grand Canary a real fight. We got a lot of salty showers right at our backs. But nice to meet again dolfins and which a surprise a turtle miles from the coast in the rough sea. Finally we made it to Las Palmas already in the dark. The bay of Las Palmas is crowded with big vessels at anchor. We had to seek our way between them in the dark. But fortunately they are well lighted and especially lot’s of oil rigs around the port looks somewhat like Christmas trees. Finding our way into the marina we had to stay at the fuel pontoon until the next morning.

After customs and check in formalities we had been advised a berth at S-pontoon where most of the participants of the Viking Explorers rally to the Caribbean already had arrived.

We met the crew of Amiga, Eva and Joakim, again in Sailors Bar for a welcome drink. The next day we took our folding bicycles to explore the shopping possibilities of Las Palmas both for boat stuff and food. Because of our engagement in the seminar “Staying healthy-be your own doctor” which included some hands-on at First Aid and sewing practice we were busy during the week with preparing this lecture.

But there was time for a guided hike by Micke Vestin (one of the Viking organisers) round the volcano Caldera de Bandama.

There were even some seminars in communication offshore, provisioning and safety. And as well social events like pontoon cinema, put-luck and jumble. We spent a lot of time for repairs, e.g. upgrading the power supply with additional sun panels and a generator-battery charge controller.

The marina Las Palmas offer some uninvited guests like cockroaches and thieves which do life at the pontoon sometimes unpleasant.

Over the Christmas days we flew to Germany to meet our families.

Tenerife/La Gomera/Gran Canaria in November and December

Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife has a friendly atmosphere and the harbour area is very nearby the city. We discovered the open air market, parks, small streets and I survived a dental treatment. The dentist was very kind indeed. 🙂

The music hall is built like a wave and reminds to the Sydney Opera House, a fascinating photo object.

By tram it is just an hour from Santa Cruz up to La Laguna, the former capital of Tenerife. There are lot’s of historical buildings and courtyards. After a couple of days we left southwards to pick up our friends at the southern airport. The marina down there was quite crowded and we had to pull up alongside as the fourth boat. So we left southern Tenerife and it’s Tower buildings next day and motored over to La Gomera, the second smallest island of the Canary Islands, well known among hikers. During the crossing we saw turtles and some whales.

Unfortunately for our friends no dolphins that day.

We didn’t get a place in the harbour the first night and had to anchor instead which was quite uncomfortable because of the swell. But we could spent rest of the week in the harbour. In the Morning we had long breakfasts in the cockpit, did some hiking and swimming during the days and tried several restaurants for dinner. One day we discovered the island by car. Its northern part has a complete other climate and the central area is covered by the Garajonay National Park, which is a very foggy area, quite bewitching. Trees get their water from the clouds, which is called “horizontal rain”. The Canary Islands weren’t touched by the glacial period, therefore you can find endemic wildlife.

The day before our friends had to fly back home we sailed over to Tenerife and this time the wind blew 30 Knots. Sometimes the wind is like a jet accelerating between the islands. At the harbour exit we passed one of the big cruise ships and they called us by radio. A friendly Swedish speaking officer who just wanted to chat a bit. We got an invitation for lunch next time when we are in the same harbour. Nice!

After we said good bye to our friends we stayed one more day in the Marina San Miguel to rearrange the boat and then we started to our final destination at the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria.

La Graciosa and Lanzarote in October/ November

After 2 days sailing in rough conditions (again) we reached La Graciosa and our friends from the S/Y Stressless had already prepared for barbecue. Wonderful.

Even here life was hiking and swimming/ snorkelling. One hour’s March to the little town (with only sandy streets) to fill up the stock. Weather allowed a stay of 6 days before the next period with strong winds arrived and we sailed along the Wild West Coast with Lava Fields and Vulcanos to Marina Rubicon in the south.

One of the best marinas so far. Surrounded by nice restaurants and shops. We stayed 2 days and spent next 2 days in the fantastic bay of papageyos at anchor. Here the water is crystal clear and allows very good snorkelling 🐠 on Sandy ground with lava cliffs. Monday we had an appointment at the boatyard in Porto Calero to lift out the boat.

We needed to change stuffing box and bearing of the propeller shaft and get a new painting of anti fouling on the underwater ship. Happy surprise, Anneli and Jörgen from our home town who were on holidays came over on board for tea time.

Next day we spent a nice evening with Jörg and Jens from S/Y Sissi.

Unfortunately during our hard stand (we could live on board) we had stormy winds the whole time so being on the ship was not quite comfortable.

Things got even worse the last day when the whole marina and boatyard became covered with red sand. Everybody was cleaning up their boats the next days…but we were happy to be in the water again and returned to Marina Rubicon. After extensive cleaning of the boat from all sand we hired a car and enjoyed touristic life. Torsten could finally surf 🏄‍♂️ several days, and we did a lot of sightseeing, wine yards in the lava fields, lava cliffs, salinas and did some shopping. Mostly food and marine stuff. Even enjoyed the swimming pool in the marina which reminded us of summer in Sweden because of the really cold water.

In middle of November with fair Winds we continued to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 26 hours sailing.

Oeiras/Lissabon to Porto Santo and Madeira in October

We had to stay some extra days in Oeiras due to big waves which frequently broke over the harbour wall after the storm Lorenzo.

Then we started our passage to the islands of Porto Santo and Madeira. It took us 4 days and we could sail the whole time in moderate winds from behind. Our Wind Pilot never gets tired. Only the last night when heavy showers came down it was uncomfortable.

We’ve seen very little ship traffic, only at the height of strait of Gibraltar. For many hours it felt like lonely on the ocean. Happy for some aeroplanes crossing the sky. But we had fantastic starry sky and moon raising.

The harbour of Porto Santo is very small and it’s nearly impossible to get a place, but you can anchor either in the port basin or outside for small money.

In the beginning we stayed outside but moved later into because of the swell. It is really difficult to sleep when your bed is moving from one side to the other all time…

Porto Santo is a Little friendly volcanic Island, most sandy – we did some hiking, daily swimming and met Swedish crews of S/Y Amaran and S/Y Amiga.

Here we anchored the whole time and our tender was used for every type of transport, fresh water, garbage, laundry, shopping, ….

The local supermarket Pingo Doce offered a good and inexpensive daily buffet – so most days we needn’t to cook.

Last day we followed sailors tradition to paint the ships name and logo on the harbour wall before leaving.

During the 8 hours passage to Madeira the engine had to work – there was no wind these days…lucky Torsten saw 2 whales from far away.

Well arrived at Madeira we could stay at anchor 2 days in a wonderful bay surrounded by high cliffs at the eastern part of the island before the wind direction changed and we motored into the Marina of Quinta do Lorde, a combined Marina and Hotel Resort at the east coast. We decided not to go to Funchal because there it is very common only to get place alongside other boats.

Next 2 days we leased a car and explored parts of this fascinating island.

At first we visited Pico do Arieiro, the second highest mountain and followed the hiking way 2 hours, very steep on both sides. You pass several climatic zones on that way up by car. Afterwardswe drove to the lava Swimmingpools in the north.

In the evening we could visit the steepest cliff in Europe, 600 meters. Next day it was raining but we anyway did a walking tour along a Levada, the irrigation canals, to the 12 fountains.

Round the island there’s a motorway which exists for the most part in tunnels and rest of streets are very sidled, which makes driving really thrilling. The last day in the Marina we used to prepare for the next passage, tank water, packing the tender, preparing food….and off we sailed to La Graciosa, a small island in the northwest of Lanzarote with a well sheltered bay for anchoring on its southeast side.

Baiona to Lissabon in September

At sunrise we left Baiona and had to search our way between lots of small fishing boats. Along the Portuguese coast there are hundreds of fishing nets which are often very badly marked, sometimes just a plastic bottle…we didn’t want to get a rope in the rudder or propeller and therefore avoided darkness. Due to strong winds from behind we reached Leixos which is the industrial harbour of Porto after 73 NM.

On the first day we took the bus to a big shopping center with do-it-yourself store which seemed to be a meeting point for most of the boat crews…😉

Next day Torsten finally could do some surfing and afterwords we went by bus into Porto. All busdrivers seemed to do kind of a race, I should have taken my sea sickness tablets even here.

Perhaps idiotic of us to visit a mountainous town while the temperature was 30 degrees but it was worth the trouble. Porto is the second largest portugues city with lots of buildings that have glazed tiles, t ex the main station. Even interesting is the Livrario Lello, an old bookstore which says has been model to the Harry Potter story’s but the queue was much to long….

Promenating on the upper deck of the Ponte Luis I allowed a wonderful view over the city and Rio Douro. In the afternoon we visited the Sandeman’s port wine cellars including port-wine tasting. End of a long day.

Next day we had even a long distance, we reached Figuera da Foz nearly by night. Always exciting to enter a harbour which is located in a river with tidal streams by night, but we took the easy way and just followed our friends from the Roede Orm…

We’ve been here before so in the morning we started early to our next destination Nazaré. A bit disappointing that we had a very calm weather period with almost no waves at all – we gladly would have seen this spectacular giant waves which are so special for Nazaré due to a 5000 meters deep submarine canyon

The world biggest waves every autumn and winter breaks on the cliffs of Nazaré

We stayed one day to explore Nazaré with its old upper town.

Afterwords there were only 2 days left to reach Marina Oeiras near Lissabon because we had booked flights to Germany to visit our families. On our way we passed the windswept cliffs of Cabo de Roca which were believed to be the edge of the world until the late 14th century. Nearly daily we’ve seen dolphins alongside the wonderful Portuguese coast.

Viveiro to Portugal in August/September

Galicia is a very green part of Spain with mountains and Rias which are river mouthes like Fjords in Norway but not so deep.

From Viveiro we sailed to A Coruña, a nice old harbour city with the oldest operating lighthouse in the world, from roman time.

Hercules lighthouse from AD 100

Here we spent 2 days to explore this lively city. Spanish lifestyle to be on the streets in the late evenings at all ages from baby’s to grandparents.

Breakwater Tower at the marina La Coruna
Crowded at the fuel pontoon

On my birthday we had god winds to continue southward and we reached the well protected bay of Camarinas to wait at anchor some days until the strong winds calmed down.

Harvesting sea salad while lifting the anchor

Then we could round the dreaded Cabo de Fisterra

Cap Fisterra – the worlds end – again

and continue to Marina Muros.

The pretty marina office of Muros with outdoor showers

A nice, traditional fishing townwith wonderful beaches, clear blue water and nobody in. Water temperature was 14 degrees. Apparently no gulf streams here. 😉 We did some hiking and cycling and saw several forest fires which are frequent because of lots of eucalyptus trees in this area. They burn very hot due to its essential oils and disturb the endemic forests in the area. Airplanes and helicopters got fire under control during the day.

At Praia de Barra we could anchor some days, met some German boats and had a very nice barbecue evening together. A bit funny because this is a well known and frequently visited nudist beach. But due to strong winds there were not so many well protected bays in the area and lots of sailing boats were anchoring here.

After doing some underwater hull cleaning and Torsten changed in several diving sessions the Propeller anode we crossed the bay into the marina of Baiona. Here we got tips of the crew of Røde Orm that best WiFi was in the laundrette so we spent some time there to update our equipment😂

Columbus first stop after the discovery of America was Baiona

Both crews were very satisfied with the local Tapas offer and next day we started our trip to Portugal 🇵🇹

L’Aber Vrac’h to Spain crossing biscay

Le Chenal du Four can be hazardous because of big waves and strong currents but we got calm conditions.

Brest even as unplanned was a nice stop. Lots of teenagers did the french championship in windsurfing and sailing. After 2 days we started crossing biscay, our first long-sailing trip. 78 hours to Viveiro In northern Spain. Our self steering, the Windpilot, did a great job.

Windpilot working politely

We had both nice winds, rough winds and a day without wind.

On the second day during breakfast we saw lots of dolphins both fishing and joining our boat. In the afternoon came a whale family across and we heard and saw blows on both sides near the boat. Very nice until I suddenly saw an area of light green water bubbling just in front of our boat. I changed the course very fast and lucky we were nothing happened. Day 3 we arrived to Viveiro and dropped the anchor.

Glad to see the Spanish coastline after 3 days

Next day we went into the marina to change the engine oil for the 3. time.

Viveiro balcony’s