Porto Santo

5 days and 6 nights – that is how long it took to get here… I started with the outgoing tide on Saturday (around 17:30) The forecast was for the wind to shift slowly from SW to NW. I motored due west and at 2am, I was hit by a rain squall and then the wind shifted quickly!

I made good speed and around 5am, I passed the route from Gibraltar strait to cape st Vincent. It was like passing a highway, I had to stop and let a big ship pass before I crossed! At 9am, I was here:


The next day came with continued good wind (around N 10-12 m/s) and I sped on. During the night, I felt the smell of fish, but since there was a ship close by, I thought it was from there. The next day I found this in the cockpit:

My first flying fish! It was some 20 cm long. It had been laying there since the night before and was stiff, so I threw it overboard….

On the morning, I was here:


I got very seasick, so the first two days, I ate nothing, just drank water and rested in my bunk. Every time I hade to go up and fix something on deck, I threw up afterwards – terrible!

The third day came with less wind and calmer sea (yes, the 2 m swell was there, but that only makes you go up and down, slowly. I did not feel anything from this, only the difficulties to see ships, since they dissapear behind the swells!). The wind died down and I motored most of the day. When the wind came back in the evening, it was dead on the nose! I tacked through the night… (at 9am  I was here:)


…and all day against this SW 10-12 m/s. The waves built up during the day, so I made less and less progress. Finally late evening, the wind died down, and I could start going towards the goal again.


In the morning, there was a weak wind from N, so I sailed on. I could see that I would not reach Porto Santo before dark, so I took it easy, planning to wait the night outside the port. When I had some 40 NM left, I started to look at  the horizon. But not until after lunch, when I was around 30-35NM from the island, it suddely appeared:

I tried to lower my speed to arrive the next moring, but a little after midnight, I was outside the island. The wind turned to SW, so I stayed on the east side. I let the boat drift and slept. 4 hours drifting one way, the 3 hours drifing the other way. By 6:30 I was up and headed round the corner towards the harbour. I came into the harbour when the sun had come up and was waved in to a place on the pontoons.


I was expecting a lot of boats in the harbour, but, hey – where IS everybody? There is only 4 of us here…

Many people have painted their yacht name on the harbour wall, much like in Horta on the Azores. I saw many Swedish names, some of which I know from before. I will need to do something similar too!

Madeira have no beaches, but Porto Santo has a beach, 8 km long!

Preparing to sail to Madeira…

I moved to Rota, a small town on the north shore of the Cadiz bay, in order to wait for good weather to sail to Madeira. I am here now:


The window appears to be here now, so I am thinking of sailing today (Saturday) or tomorrow… Follow my progress on the SPOT site. (I plan to send a position every morning, whie sailing).

In Cadiz!

I am currently in Cadiz. The sail from Barbate proved to be Medeterranean style – no wind – despite a promised 12 knots southerly wind… I stayed well offshore to avoid fish nets and shoals. There was a swell from NW, maybe 1 m high  and 50-100m bethween the swells. When the sea bottom was smooth, the echosounder would count up and down as the swells passed by. An interestring phenomena and a taste of the Atlantic conditions.

Cadiz is built on a penisula with an old town inside fort walls. There are narrow streets with small shops and restaurants – very nice! 

The tide can go up to 3.8m here, so the harbour walls are high. The tide was low when I came in and it was like being a very small boat in a very big harbour…


I found an Internet cafe close to the railway station.

Gibraltar strait – end of phase 2

On Thursday, I got up at 4 am to catch the low tide, so that I would have the current with me through Gibraltar strait. There was no wind.  As I went out of the harbour, the ships at anchor were lit up like Christmas trees… There were a lot of ships in the strait too, but at night, they are well visible. It was cold and I had to dig out my jacket…

My current calculations proved wrong (I later talked with some other people that had done the same mistake) and instead of 1,5 knots with me, I had 1,5 knots against me (doing 3,5 instead of expected 6.5). After rounding Tarifa, the current decreased though, so it was only for 2-3 hours out of 8.

When the sun came up, it was a very nice day. I arrived in Barbate a little after 12 and got a very well protected place:


There is a very nice national park to the west of the harbour (towards cape Trafalgar) and I decided to stay another day to take a walk there.

The area was very nice, with cliffs and a pine forrest behind it.


Arriving in Barbate means that I have left the Medeterranean and is now in the Atlantic. So, phase 2 can be said to be finished.

The weather forecast shows a low pressure close to the Canary islands, producing southerly winds (up to 20 m/s), so I will stay on the Spanish west coast wor a few days…

Tourist @ Gibraltar…

What do you do when you are in Gibraltar, it is a nice sunny November day and 22C? You go for a nice healthy walk on the cliff, of course. I went into town and took roads leading upwards, until I came across a footpath leding up onto the hill:


Soon the views started to appear:


The foot path ended on a small road that led to a battery from 1902:


I was now half way up to the top of the middle part of the rock. Climbing was a bit tough, so I took a more horisontal road to the nothern part. Along the road, there were houses with gardens full of flowers and birds.


Finally I arrived at a view point and the entrance to the caves of the “great seige”. I did not go in, but took some pictures.

DSC01319DSC01320DSC01321 You can see the spanyards building a new marina at La Linea. Planned to be ready by 2010. Boats are now anchored uoutside the port, rather than inside…


On the way down to town, I passed a moric castle:


Later in the afternoon I went for another walk, to Queensway marina.


I am glad I am not moored here. Nice, but no action…

I later found a botanic garden, but it was too late to go in.


In Gibraltar at last!

I went across to Gibraltar to fill up with tax free diesel and when asking the marina if they had available spaces, they said yes! I am moored to a pontoon that moves and makes me seasick, so there are certainly more protected places…. anyway, the wind is decreasing the next few days, so it should be OK.


DSC01311 (The top of the rock can be seen just to the right of the big building to the left)

The plan is now to stay here a few days and head west on Thursday, when the forcast says the wind will change to weak northerly. Friday and Saturday promises strong SW, so I need to stay and wait for better winds before heading out to Madeira.

Continuing down to Gibraltar

The family week in Jose Banus went well (we went to Gibraltar, Granada/Alhambra and some other places) and now I am alone again. Jose Banus was not a cheap harbour, so I wanted to leave as soon as possible.

As I was preparing the boat, the wind started to pick up – from SW, just the direction I wanted to go. When I came out of the harbour, I experienced the waves that a 10-12 m/s wind can kick up in no time in the med… The wind against the tide current did not help either… Anyway, it was rough going and I aimed for the nearest harbour, Estepona:


Estepona is a nice little town (1 km or so from the harbour), but I wanted to continue, so I stayed 1 night only and went on. The wind was the same, but now I was prepared and kept close to the coast. This time I aimed for Sotogrande:


Sotogrande is one of these ports that have a set of apartment buildings surrounding the harbour, so that that inhabitants can have their boat parked right outside the front door. It was very elegant, but unfortunately very deserted and there is basically nothing else in the vicinity. Like in america, it is assumed that you have a car and can go to the nearest town for shopping, etc… No Internet cafees…

The wind was still strong, now going to the west, and I was a bit concerned about how the Gibraltar strait mights look, with the wind/waves coming in from the Atlantic. I waited 3 days to see if the wind (Poniente is the local name for this wind..) would decrease.

OnFriday, Nov 6, the wind was more from NW, so I went for Gibraltar. I had a good reach down to the cliff doing 6+ knots and when I came around Europa point, I met the waves against the current, which created a jumpy ride…. However, soon I was past the point and the waves went to more “normal”.

The marinas in Gibraltar were full (people had reserved spaces…), so I decided to go to Algericas instead, across the bay. On the way over, the first dolphin came and swam alongside the boat for a while. I had been waiting for this! It was small, but I think I saw a shadow of a bigger dolphin too, so maybe it was a mother and child, practising…

Anyway, at the moment I am here:


Looking at the forecast, the W wind will continue for some days….


The rock from the west…


…and Ceuta/Africa to the SE. From the windward side the sea always looks calm…

Jose Banus marina – a Monaco in miniature?

I am now in the Jose Banus marina:



The luxuruy here is overwhelming…. big yachts (50m+), Rolls royces and Ferraris parked here and there. Luis Voitton shops…

Anyway, this is where I will be for the next two weeks. When the familiy comes, we will try to see some of the inner parts of Spain and the surroundings.

Malaga – preparing to recive the familiy visit…

Another night sail took me to Malaga. I did not go to Malaga port itself, but to Benlmadena, a big yacht port close to Torremolinos, a little south west of Malaga. I got a perfetcly sheltered place as far into the harbour as possible.


The problem is that I am only allowed to stay 2 nights, not the 2 weeks I had planned to be able to receive the family that flies into Malaga for a visit… I now have to find another harbour where I can stay longer….

On the night sail, this time I could sail almost all the way. We had plenty of wind – 10-12 m/s from the east. I did not trust the wind vane to steer flat downwind, so I set a course of some 260 degrees, a reach that worked well. The swell was about 1,5 to 2 meters so that conditions were similar to those that can be expected on the atlantic, with the trades. The course took me far out from the shore during the night. This was not an issue, since the coast is high and there were lights all the way. Later I did get into the shipping lane, so there were a number of ships to keep track off. At first light, I jibed and set course for Malaga. Coming closer to the coast, the Guardia Civil took an interest and came out to pay me a visit. For them it looked like I came from Africa….. However, they just asked some questions and I was allowed to go on. The last bit was a bit jumpy, since the wind diminished,but the swell remained – much to the joy of the surfers on the beach of  Benalmadena.

Costa del Sol…

I did another night sail to reach Costa del Sol. As on the last trip, I set out in a perfect summer day and sailed south. The wind died as usual, when the sun set and I used the engine during the night. The moon came up later this time, and the milky way was visible overhead…

I rounded cabo de gata and met a fleet of trawlers here too! I guess they are always out around 6 am close to the capes to get some fish…. This time there was no fog, but they are difficult with their blinding work lights and weak navigation lights. 

Almeria is a big city and the harbour is not recommended in the pilot, so I went to Aguadulce instead, a few miles south of Almeria. This is a sleepy hollyday resort, vitrually empty now when the season has ended.