Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Leaving Lanzarote

Our crew arrived on saturday and on sunday we did a tour through the island.  We were all enchanted by the unspoiled nature of Lanzarote.



Wine is grown in small burrows in the volcanic ground, each surrounded by a wall - it looks like each wine is living in its own balcony.

We all agreed this would be a perfect cottage for a holiday.

Mirjana, Igor and admiral at the Mirador del Rio - the NW point of Lanzarote.

Yesterday and today we were busy with finishing the boat projects and buying provisions. It was much harder than anticipated - the projects were more numerous  than we thought and buying food was just half of the work - the other half was finding a place for it on the boat and stowing it away.

One of the boat projects was climbing the mast and exchanging the block for the gennaker halyard. Igor was the one to climb the mast this time.

This is just the fragment of food we bought for our journey - all the cans and jars, and flour, pasta and rice. We already stowed away meat, salamis and cheese and drinks. And tomorrow we are buying fresh fruit, vegetables and bread.

We are planning to sail off tomorrow early in the afternoon. We are all anxious to go, we are all happy that preparations are finished, it' been a hard hard work.

We will be posting our positions and a few words almost every day from our satellite phone. If you wish to see where we are, take a look at the link:


The guys from sailing club Potepuh will be charting our position on the map on their site.

So bye for now! And Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Back home!

Yesterday we returned to Heron to Lanzarote after spending one week in Slovenija - so we're "back home" from travelling "back home" :-)

It was cold and foggy in Slovenija, the usual november weather. But all the love and kindness from our families and friends kept us warm.

I was happy to see my cats, Bela and Tinka ...

... and Schnuki.

They are all doing fine.

In couple of days our crew is arriving in Lanzarote. We already started making space for them and the provisions. When they arrive there's some serious shopping to be done.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Discovering Lanzarote

Last week we've done some work on the boat, but in between we did some tours around the island. It is beautiful and most of it looks like it was only yesterday that the volcanoes stopped spitting lava.

One of the first stops we made was marina Rubicon. It is very pretty, but more touristy than Puerto Calero.  We also saw the anchorage in the bay next to marina and it was a bit rolly. But then the weather wasn't very typical for the season .....

On SW side of the island there are some salt plants. Right next to it the Atlantic waves show their power ...

People of Lanzarote are doing a really good job in presenting their island to the visitors. Most of points of interest are well presented and organized and very clean. And some are even free - like this place on SW of the island, where the most recent lava flow met the sea. Hot lava and sea water had created a wild landscape full of holes and cliffs. Small dots around the cliffs are people...

The balcony for visitors was obviously made by people...

Atlantic waves are still "working" on remodeling the cliffs.

This is a red volcano hill....

... and this the spotted one ....

.... and this the one with jagged edge. Pretty, isn't it?

All the different colors and shapes at one glance....

On sunday we visited Teguise, the old capital of the island. Every sunday there's a fair and everybody goes there, so we also went. It was busy, nice and colorful.

On our way back we stopped in Arrecife for a coffee. This is the most famous church in town.

We made next tour on friday and it was to the north part of the island. First stop was Jameos de agua, which means something like "water caves". The caves were made by air pockets in a lava flow from the nearby crater.

This is a blind crab that lives in the caves.

In one of the caves there is a concert hall, the chandelier is a work of a local artist.

Caves are pretty and very well presented, with pathways, benches and a lot of vegetation everywhere.

We drove to the north of the island and this is a typical untouched landscape, as volcanoes had made it. In years afterwards only some moss and dry bushes find their footing on the ground.

This is the crater that is "responsible" for Jameos de agua.

Isla Graziosa lays to the N of the Lanzarote. Unfortunately the day was cloudy and the visibility was not very good. To the left of the small town with the port is the anchorage, where we wanted to anchor on our first night in the Canaries, but then changed the plans due to the wind that was blowing from the south.

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. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Land ho!

This morning we finally saw the Canaries and we reached them at about 1pm. Now we are sailing (yes, we have some good wind finally) along east side of Lanzarote to reach Puerto Calero marina before dark. Obviously we managed to escape the North Atlantic depression that was coming down from NW, the weather was fine all the time. We are also all fine, maybe a bit sorry that the trip is over. It was the easiest passage until now - at least for me. More about it in next post.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Via Inmarsat:

Today was a beautiful sunny day, started with dolphins in the morning,
later we saw a turtle. Very litle wind. 85 more miles to go.

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Sent via Inmarsat. The mobile satellite company