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

Northern Bretagne to L’Aber Vrac’h

Early morning we left St. Malo to use the tides best we could. It was a whole day sailing and our new sailors fought against sea sickness. But in the evening we reached wonderful خle – de – Bréhat at the Côte Rose, the pink Granit coast which got its name after the colour of its stones. Anchorage was exciting but after 3. Time the captain was happy and we could spent the next day at this bay doing some snorkelling.

In the evening we drove to

Lézardrieux in the nearby river because of changing winds. The day after we went to Trébeurden, a harbour that falls dry outside the sill on ebb. It was fascinating to follow the waters rhythm in raising and falling. Here we spent some days due to hard westerly winds, did some repairs( anchor winch) shopping and used the marinas e bikes a whole day to explore the Pink Coast. Then we continued westward in sometimes rough weather via Roscoff to L’Aber Vrac’h which is the classic waiting point to get a weather situation which allows to cross the bay of biscay. 

From here our new sailors had to go homewards and unfortunately at the last evening even our water pump went out of order. So Brest became our next destination to buy spare parts and replace the pump.

Boulogne-sur-Mer to St. Malo

The Normandy is the area with biggest tidal ranges in Europe which means you have to calculate both tidal streams for the route and times you can get in and out of the harbours. Exciting. We did lots of math under this period. 😀

It was very rainy in Boulogne-sur-Mer but we walked up the hill to the old town and did som shopping.

After 2 days we headed to Dieppe, a nice old fishing town where we stayed som days due to stormy weather. This coast is called Alabaster Coast because of the elongate white cliffs.

Next stop was Fécamp where we arrived in the early evening to find the harbour crowded. So we had to pull up alongside as third boat. But after us arrived a few more and the evening ended with 7 boats alongside in 2 rows which was very unsafe. Especially when the lock to the inner harbour opened….

The next morning was calm and we motored along the coast side to ةtretat to see the famous natural Arches and “the Needle” but due to the grey weather it was difficult to see at all.

So we steered westward to Cherbourg where we arrived early morning next day and got 4 hours sleep before we had to go up to reach Alderney with the tidal stream.

Alderney is a very calm pretty island.

Dinghy parking

On my way to the laundry

Changing the courtesy flag

We did some hiking and had a nice evening at the beach with the crew of “Stressless”. After sailing from Alderney to St. Malo with nice westerly winds which took us 17 hours we arrived round midnight. We reached 10 knots as top speed thanks to the strong current. First marina was busy so we had to pass through a lock to reach the very friendly City Marina St. Malo. Here we met next day Sonja and Axel and stayed som days to explore this beautiful city and the beaches.

Seawater Pool

Out into the North Sea, through the Strait of Dover, English Channel along the French coast

After Petra feeling better but still coughing we dared go out into the North Sea through the lock at Vlissingen the 25th of July.

Because of the tidal streams you must plan the trip accurately taking streams, wind direction and force into account to reach the desired destination and can estimate the time of arrival.At first we had good weather conditions with fair winds, put up our big foresail, the Gennaker, and came up to a speed of 8 knots/hour. Passing the Belgian coast nearby which is not really interesting with its flat coastline interrupted by ugly lines of high houses. In line with The French border it happened again to us, surprise, surprise, in the evening a thunderstorm was passing near by and the wind accelerated to 90 km/h. Quick as a flash we cleared our sails and took cover in the marina of Dunkerque already in the darkness finding our way in the lights of headlamps.

Sleeping for 6 hours we left at 7 am the next morning (to skip paying the harbour fee after 8 am) heading towards Boulogne-sur-Mer with a marina available in all tides.

Have to be continued soon!

Before the Netherlands a visit of Norderney and on we go

The 29th of june after a beautiful day of sailing with only one big sail, the Gennaker, we arrived at the marina of East Friesian island Norderney off the North Sea coast of Germany. It’s German ninth-largest island. The next five days we was captured there because of the stormy weather again mixed with thunderstorm. But that wasn’t so bad, we pulled up our folding bicycles from the “cellar” of our boat and discovered the island with its lovely nature, part of the island is a national park.

On the 4th July after two stormy days the wind had calmed down but the sea was still rough with waves up to 3 meters, especially sailing between the sandbanks out from Norderney was bit of a roller-coaster ride.

It was a long day, passing the East Frisian island Juist and turning southeast at the west coast of the island Borkum into the river mouth of Ems and finding our way in the dark into the industrial harbour of Delfzijl. We moored alongside a pontoon in front of a big lock and locking early the next morning into the canals of The Netherlands. There are countless bascule bridges,

draw bridges,

lifting bridges,

turning bridges,

railway bridges,

motorway bridges,

pedestrian and bicycle bridges,

the most of them free of charge and remote-controlled. It’s a little scary and hopefully the bridge keepers keep on their toes and do not close too early. Sometimes you meet a real bridge keeper at the bridge which is responsible for two or three bridges. They move between the bridges with bicycle or scouter and twice we had to pay the bridge keeper while passing through. The fee has been catching with a wooden clog.

You have to find your way through this labyrinth of waterways (sometimes even an aqueduct)

especially when you have a mast height of about 16 m and a draft of 1.50 m. It took time to plan our route, there are many rules and regulations, but with help of the web, books like “cruising guide to the Netherlands”, our electronic sea charts and also Google maps with its fotos we hide our way on the “Staande mast route”(fixed mast route)

from the north with entrance at Delfzijl, passing right through the centres of Groningen,

Leeuwarden,

Cleaning, this job has to be done from time to time

over the Ijselmeer

to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam can only be passed through with a night convoy because the traffic is to heavy during daytime and therefore they can’t open the bridges for the boats. We didn’t find sufficient information about the convoy and nearly missed it. Despite calling the harbour master via VHF-radio they forgot to inform us at which time the night convoy should start. Calling port control several times we finally succeeded getting through the center of Amsterdam from 1:30 am to 3 o’clock together with 6 other sailing boats with all the bridges open. Nice and exciting!

We continued the next day and had to stay during the night in front of a railway bridge waiting for opening it at 6 o’clock. Passing the busy waterways around Rotterdam with meeting big vessels near by at the streaming Nieuwe Ijsel, (for example the Arch of Noah)

Oude Maas , passing a huge storm barrier

and being held by a faulty lifting bridge at Dordrecht. Therefore we entered the Nieuwe Haven at Dordrecht in the old towns center.

After amazing 360 (700km) nautical miles through the Netherlands we have reached Vlissingen at the Westerschelde in the southern part of The Netherlands.

Pilot harbour guiding the big vessels into the Westerschelde

Here we have been staying in the Schelde marina for 3 days changing engine and gear oil and filter, repairing the solenoid of the windlass, cleaning the boat and Petra has got a flu catching it from me but worse. Just now it’s not sure when we can go out to the North Sea to heading south towards France.

The journey will be continued soon!