Gibraltar – Canary Islands

Most of the work has been completed on the ship, only a few repairs left to do. This means we can start, all that is left is to lift the ship to have the steering gear checked by the factory for the previous fault.

We left La Linea early on Tuesday morning, September 8th. At the port, Mandy and Alex said goodbye to us, with whom we have spent a lot of time in recent days. Opposite us was their ship in the harbor, and they, too, worked a lot the passed few days. We talked a lot, helped each other, and occasionally sat down to discuss the tasks just ahead of us with an afternoon tea or evening glass of wine.

In Algeciras, the other half of the Straits of Gibraltar, we made our way to the Isla Verde shipyard dry dock to highlight the ship. We didn’t have to wait long for the Jeanneau factory man who came from Cadiz. The boat was lifted out of the water very professionally and carefully. The inspection was done: nothing is visible on it, they can’t tell what the problem was, now everything has been found to be fine. We also asked for a boat wash to see if we could gain half a knot of speed. We said goodbye to Eric and headed for the Canary Islands. We had a lot of work to do in the first hour and a half. As we got out of the sheltered harbor, strong waves began to throw the ship, meanwhile the many harbor ropes and buffers all had to be placed safely for the duration of the four-day voyage. Domi, meanwhile, planned the route, downloaded the weather forecast, and steered the ship. I ran down from time to time to ensure everything was secured, anything that might tip over, and so on. In the meantime, there was plenty of lunch time, everyone was hungry. We quickly made sandwiches to get strength and continued the work. Meanwhile, when we looked out, to the left we saw the shores of Africa with white-walled houses, with huge mountains in the background. It was cold, 23 knots of wind, with a large sail of 9-10 knots (using 2 knots of current). Lots of fish and dolphins bounced around the ship, dolphin-sized tuna jumping 1-2 feet high at times, which was an astonishing sight. Katrina and Kati also saw a black-fined dolphin. At half past seven we reached the Northwestern tip of Africa, Cap Spartel. We reached the end of the strait in moderately heavy boat traffic. The waves flattened, barely rising, but the white crests were still lit on top of the water. The rope with which the boom was fastened to the side was broken, replaced by a stronger one. The wind dropped around 10 in the evening, to 16-17 knots, and is forecast to stop at dawn and will only be in the afternoon again.

The weather was very friendly on the first night. After laying the kids down, Katarina was awake with me for the first time, and the next day we switched from 1 to 3 at dawn with Domi. Katrina went down to her cabin to sleep, Domi and I stayed on board. We took good advantage of the little sleeping bag we brought with us. At night, we always lowered the side walls (canvases) so as not to get soaked completely from the steam, and the wind didn’t blow in that way either. When we are so far from shore that we can no longer swim out, we are always on board in life jackets and are tied to the boat at night, also in more wavy weather. The sea was already 22 C, at the start it was 17 C.

There was a huge area towards the end of the straight where there was a lot of light in a line but it didn’t mark anything on the map. We tried to get out so as not to get stuck in something: in the dark, you can’t see if there’s something in between the lights. I slept for about 2 hours in a stretch. I woke up in pain with my broken toe. I couldn’t fully follow the medical instructions — always tie it to the toe next to it and wear strapped sandals on the back — but I did try. Domi skillfully adjusted the sails so we could sail at our fastest and most comfortable. Everything is full of steam, water drips from everything…

September 9. The last time I checked the sea was 26.1 C. I did some home schooling with Boroka. Then the children played with horses and clothes pegs. We tried backwinding, but it didn’t really work. Either there is a problem with the sails: code0 + sail: – / or the wind is too weak…

Second night: clear, starry sky, plankton illuminating the top of the ship-generated waves! We look at the night glow in amazement. Domi slept first, we were on guard with Katrina for the first time. Around eleven we had to turn on the engine, the main sail was very hacked from the waves dragging it. Fisherman’s buoys flashing green light occasionally appeared around the boat. The sky was a little cloudy.

September 10. Around eight o’clock the sun was shining, the children had breakfast, Domi went to bed in the first cabin. By the afternoon the wind picked up, the waves got bigger, we split 7-9 knots with the Code zero. We will reduce the speed for the night. We caught a mahi-mahi in the afternoon. In the evening, 25 knots of gusts of wind and 1-2-meter waves occurred and the ship was slammed from the side all night. A 5-6 mile cargo ship without AIS also passed us by surprise, but luckily it appeared on the radar map. The stars and the moon also illuminated us at night.

September 11. The wind is blowing from the right direction, we are surfing on the waves, rumbling with shortened sails. It’s very unpleasant. The weather is cloudy again, the sky is only visible in one spot. We changed sails: we pulled in the mainsail and the jib sail, we went with code zero, 6-7 knots. Lunch was couscous with chicken & prune bacon. The sun shines through the clouds, sometimes shining in the morning. In the afternoon a 17-18 knot wind blew from 113 degrees, the ship blew the waves by 7 knots. In the evening, the air cooled down again, the jacket and hat came out, and the second pants…

September 12. There are 35 nautical miles left to the finish. The weather is cloudy, the sea is barely rippling, 13 knots of wind are blowing from 130 degrees. We pulled out the Code0 and the bow sail on both sides, moving with 6 knots. Earth on the horizon !!! Sheep!! We can see from afar that the island is covered with sand, a yellow stripe stretching along the coast. In the background brown volcanic cones rise, the whole island is barren, no trees grow on it. As we entered the strait between the islands of La Gracioca and Lanzarotte, the snow-white houses of a town with a small harbor appeared to the right. Behind him was the bay of Playa Francesa, where 8-10 boats were already anchored. At first glance, this island looked magical. We looked for a comfortable place and put down the anchor. Hooray, here we are in the Canary Islands !!! Around seven in the evening, we finished unpacking the outriggers and other equipment. We lowered the dinghy and went ashore with it. The kids started running to explore their new world, we could barely follow them among the sand dunes. Huge pieces of volcanic black rock lie on the yellow sandy shore; they radiate special energy. We walked a bit more in the light of the sunset, then we went back to the boat to have dinner and relax, we could sleep in bed again! Already on the first night we found that this berth was as calm as if we were on the mainland in a house or at least in a very sheltered harbor.