Monday, November 7, 2011

Passage from Faro to Lanzarote

We left Faro on saturday morning, after downloading the newest weather forecast and having a big breakfast. The forecast wasn't much different from last two - not much wind, mostly from NE, and another Atlantic depression coming low to the south on wednesday with wind turning to SW. We were hoping to be on Isla Graziosa by then.

It was low tide in the lagoon as we were leaving and lot of locals were gathering mussels.

We said goodbye to Culatra ...

... and sailed through the narrow channel into the Atlantic.

With the forecast promising little wind we decided to change small flock for a 140% genoa - with extra 2 pairs of strong hands it was done in no time.

Down came the flock ....

 ... and up went genoa. Shortly afterwards flock went up again - into second genoa track and we were sailing wing on wing. We also used our both new genoa poles to keep the sails from flapping - the more we were away from Portugal coast the bigger the Atlantic waves were.

We changed sail configuration many times in those five days - we were sailing wing on wing with genoa and main, we flew gennaker, all in hope to squeeze most out of the gentle wind we had. But on monday night wind died almost completely, so we started the engine and either motor-sailed or motored with very few breaks.
We got used to life on board and doing watches really quick. We each had two three-hours watches, so it was enough time in between to get some rest, to cook and eat. We decided on having fixed shifts, so everyone had the same hours every day and could get into "the rhythm". It proved to be good decision, everybody was happy with. I probably had the easiest watches, from 9-12 am and pm. In return i tried to take on most of kitchen chores. The day typically started with morning coffee, after some time we had a big breakfast and in late afternoon lunch and dinner combined. In between we ate some fruit, snacks and for those who got hungry at night, there were some cookies and crackers ready in the kitchen. Luckily the sea was calm - the big Atlantic waves were very round and far apart and we almost didn't fee them - and our appetite was good.

We were trawling two fishing lines behind the boat and on sunday we caught four skipjack tunas.

We ate two fish on sunday and two were left for monday. So we stopped fishing that evening to have some meat on tuesday.

On monday evening a big family of dolphins visited us and was playing around our boat for half an hour. Obviously they had as much fun as we did watching them, because they were back the next morning. Without a doubt dolphins are one of the biggest joys of sailing.

Boys discussing the night shifts ... or saving the world ... 

We were traveling at good speed and on wednesday morning we saw the Canary islands. The wind did turn to SW already in the morning, so we changed the plans and instead going on anchor on Isla Graziosa we decided to sail to the Puerto Calero on Lanzarote. We had some good W wind blowing over the island and were sailing along the rocky east coast of the island to Arrecife. There wind shifted to SW, so we motored to marina.

We were almost sad it's over. OK, it was an easy passage - the weather was calm, nothing broke, crew was great, the food was fresh and plenty. We all agreed we could go on for another week or so, if things stayed as they were.

First night in Puerto Calero we spent on fuel dock, since there were no free berths in marina. All the marinas are very busy and full in this time of year, especially on Gran Canaria, some are not taking any new boats until the ARC boats leave. 

In the morning we got more permanent and quiet berth in marina. 

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