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Sailing Letter April 2015

May 4, 2015

As planned, we left Almerimar March 31. Fabulous weather, bikini sailing. We stopped for the first night at Marina del Este, anchoring just outside the marina. First dip in the sea (18C) and a calm night.  Next morning, after yet another swim, we sailed / motored to Gibraltar. Approx. 100nm. Managed to see quite a few dolphins and a flock of Flamingoes heading for Almerimar’s Salinas. Flamingoes are really big and with the pink colors it was a nice view. We anchored at midnight in La Linea, Spain, and went to the Gibraltar Queens Way Quay marina the day after, spending the Eastern holiday and a couple of more days there. It’s a good marina, but the easterly wind created a strange surge in the marina (Peter blogged on that before) which gave us a couple of very uncomfortable nights and some damaged lines. Anyway, we wanted to fix some things for the boat and Gibraltar is a good place for that. We bought an outboard motor for the dingy and some man over board (MOB) equipment to put on the person who has the night watch.  After checking the museum, a very interesting place with remains dating back to Neolithic time and the Botanical garden we think we now have covered Gibraltar inside and out. From Gibraltar we took a weather window with 14 knots of wind to sail to Cadiz. Passing the Gibraltar sound comfortably, we ended up with a southerly wind of +40 knots almost all the way to Cadiz. Cadiz is as always a very pleasant place. We walked the city, bought good food at the market and enjoyed ourselves. No place for buying spare parts, though.  (We are spoilt in Sweden, Göteborg, with many good chandlers and good prices too.) 4 days later we sailed/motored in rain and thunderstorms (not that bad) to Mazagon, for a quick stop before we entered the Faro archipelago, as our main stay at the Portuguese Algarve coast. We had planned to stay for some time at anchor in the bay outside Culatra village inside the Ilha da Culatra. On our way down to the Med last year we did not dare to go all the way in the delta, but this time we came with raising (high) tide and got a good spot for our anchor. Approx. 15 yachts from different countries were laying there. The weather was fair, with sunshine and +20 degrees. We visited Olháo with our new dinghy and outboard motor. At low tide it was approx 6 nm and at high tide we crossed the sandbanks (2nm) back. Since it was a Saturday the markets were open. It is fascinating to see all the things you can buy in these markets. We found a big fish market and a separate vegetable and meat market, both under roof and outside. We also made walks in the Culatra village, finding new places to eat or have a beer almost every day. The island has approx.. 2000 inhabitants added on with the mainland tourists visiting and a small yacht community that is drying out year after year. We tested “almejas” (sand clam) in different forms. Here they cooked them in garlic oil instead of water. Delicious!!! It took a whole week before we let go, to move to Lagos, our last stay before the jump to Madeira. Lagos marina is safe and expensive. However, we came in low season so the price was not that awful. We made some serious bunkering of groceries, meat, wine and beer, fixed a block for the main sheet that was damaged and, of course, made some walks in the city. A Stork community was also checked out. All nice places with sea view were taken and we counted to 5 different Stork families in close proximity to the harbor. On a beach walk we found some very nice shells wit fantastic mother of pearl (sw, pärlemor), colors we have never seen before. April 29, after bunkering diesel we set sail for our 450 nm to Madeira. 71 hours later we entered the marina in Porto Santo, after a peaceful passage with sail and motor in wind speed between 5-12 knots. We saw a Sunfish, some common dolphins and a shark(?) the first day, nothing day 2 (maybe because the depth was 4000m)  and more dolphins (both bottlenose  and common) whale blows in the distance, Pilot whales, lots of Petrel birds day 3 when we came closer to the islands. The water temperature increased from 18 degrees to almost 22 as we came closer to Madeira. During our passage we were followed by an almost full moon that made the nights enjoyable. With almost no traffic to disturb us, we could just spend the days reading and looking at the beautiful sea. So now we are here, and will stay a week to look at this Island, take swims in the ocean (we tested yesterday and it was nice, clear and warm) and enjoy ourselves. Nature

  • Pilot whales ( sw. grindval)
  • Sunfish (sw. Klumpfisk)
  • Dolphins, both Bottlenose (sw. Flasknosdelfin) and Common
  • Petrels ( sw. Lira)
  • Flamingoes
  • As this is spring time we have followed the green spreading through the trees and the birds fighting for the best mates. Lots of flowers even though this area is very dry.

Gastronomy

  • Gazpacho: Have eaten a number of fantastic gazpachos this month. Also tested to do some ourselves with good result
  • Almejas: A “sand” clam that, at its best, is boiled in olive oil with lots of garlic and piri-piri
  • Tomato juice: We bought 6 l of tomato juice in Spain for 60 cent per liter. With salt, pepper, tabasco……Should have bought more……

Until next time, BR Eva, Peter

From → Sailing Letters

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