It is June the 28th in the afternoon, TANIWANI is moored right at the marina entrance in Ceuta, there was no other space available. Place seems ok though.
Since the last report from on the dry and being sand blasted, things have improved considerably. There were still some nervous moments when the boat was lifted again and finally put back into the water. Like a fish released to the water we hastily drove off the dock without quite knowing where we wanted to go.
Tried the same anchorage in Portimao again, but that time it was quite rolly and uncomfortable, and so we headed out and for Lagos late in the evening, hoping that the pedestrian bridge would still open so that we could go to our berth, that we were still holding for two days. The ten miles to Lagos were a nice and comfortable sail and we got to our box with no problems.
Next day we did some of the remaining work and stocked up at the large super market next to the marina. Then we had enough of marina life and headed out to anchor off the beautifully bizarre coast south of Lagos. From there a day later again to Portimao to wait for Ulf to arrive, late at night, coming by bus from Lisbon.
When we left Portimao the next day, we were met by a substantial dead sea from the south east, and rather weak wind from the east, so we had no good choice other than some motor sailing for a while. For the last third we got more wind (20kn) but still from the east. Yet we could lay course to the entrance of the Faro-Olhao lagoon, which once inside turned out much nicer than expected. We turned right, towards the Olhao side and went on to a wide anchorage past the fairway. That was a really nice place with a little strange village on the island (well sand dune), fresh water from the sea, no waves no swell, but a refreshing wind. Quite like behind a reef in the Caribbean.
We spent another relaxing day at that place, after which Beate had to leave us, and our new crew Terry and Pam arrived the same day. They joined in enjoying the nice place. We had some nice fish from the fantastic market in Olhao and Terri and Pam had a first pleasant evening on board.
For the next day we were not quite sure how far to take our guests on their first day and had a few choices, the farthest being Cadiz about 85 miles away. Once we stuck our nose out, quite late around ten, we found hardly any wind and the sea was calm. Still with some 7 knots of wind from west we could motor sail towards south-east, and that is roughly where Cadiz is; so we went for it. A few hours later, when the wind was up to 10-12kn we switched from engine to spinnaker and were quietly gliding along with a decent speed. We expected to enter Cadiz later in the evening and so decided to have our main meal at sea. Terri had brought along fresh venison, together with fresh vegetables from the market we had a fantastic dinner while zooming along quietly at some 6-7 knots.
By the time we were approaching Cadiz, it was off course dark and a long daisy-chain of fishing boats was coming out from the harbor. Having been there last summer it was easy to find back into the harbor and the marina Puerto America. A friendly night guard took our lines and handed a form to fill out, that was it and at 10:30 we were relaxing in the cockpit. Perfect first day for the new crew.
Again, we really enjoyed Cadiz as one of the nicest towns in the vicinity. Has real life and character and something friendly about it.
A friend of Ulf is on student exchange in Cadiz and was called and the next evening the young crew, Pam and Ulf, went off and wasn't seen again until 11 next morning. Consequently we didn't leave Cadiz until about 3:30 pm.
We didn't intend to go very far just some 24 miles further south, where we hoped to anchor out behind a fishing harbor called Porto de Conil. Well, it took us about 3 hours to get there, then three hours to anchor, and finally three hours to enjoy a late dinner with tuna as appetizer and scampi as main course.
For those of you who wonder about anchoring for three hours, here is what went on: When we arrived at the place, we found a dredging ship quite close to the place where we had thought to anchor, still we thought there's enough space a bit further off. So we anchored, and since a light swell was running, and we were concerned about the comfort of our crew, we figured we should get the stern anchor out to direct the boat into the swell. We were about to lower the stern anchor, when we discovered that the aft windlass didn't switch on. It turned out that the common minus pole inside the windlass motor had come apart, apparently due to bad material of the connecting bolt. While we were still thinking on how to fabricate a fitting spare part, a small boat approached us, just to tell us that the dredger would return at night and that we better get further off.
So we stopped fiddling with the aft windlass motor and brought the main anchor up, and moved to what we thought should be an ok place. Unfortunately, the further off the river mouth you go, the less guarantee for sand there is. And sure enough, the new place had interspersed rocks. As it was getting dark they weren't as visible as we would have liked. Anyway, we found good holding and continued work on the motor. Once done the windlass worked fine, but we made at least three maneuvers in the dark to position the stern anchor so that it lined up the boat against the swell. Both anchors seemed to hold very well. But it had taken three hours to get to this point.
When we went snorkeling next day we had a real laugh when we saw the two chains going zick-zag between rocks and the two anchors in fact were not very far apart. Amazingly chains and anchors came up without any problems when we left for Tarifa the next day.
When going to Tarifa, we needed to go around Cabo Trafalgar in a wide arc, and before that we had to go outside a two mile long tuna-net. Wind was weak at some 7 knots and SSW, so had on for the first few miles, but once we turned SE, we could use the spinnaker and move slowly in the light wind, but we had time and the tide and ingoing current were helping too.
The strait of Gibraltar has strange effects on the wind, and in some places it vanishes, while at others it develops quite some force. We had the fading experience about 8 miles from Tarifa and finally had to use the engine, but like a mile from Tarifa the wind went up to 20kn and remained that into Tarifa. We read that Tarifa is called the windiest town in Spain.
Tarifa is the southernmost spot of Europe, quite a bit further south than Gibraltar, about in the middle where the strait is most narrow. We anchored east of the causeway that connects the old fort peninsula with the main town. Great anchorage, but very cold water (17C). Apparently the less salty Atlantic water is riding up from deeper down on the saltier and heavier Mediterranean water. So only the boys went swimming in the crystal clear water.
Had a nice evening stroll through Tarifa, and the younger part of the crew went to town again to stay and enjoy until three in the morning.
The next day, Thursday, we had the most exciting sailing in a while: We left Tarifa at 16:45, notice that our departure times get later and later, with a mild wind of some 12 knots. Since we had only 16 miles to Gib, we didn't bother about the spinnaker, (thank good), but poled out the Genoa on port, main and cutter to starboard, and we were moving quite nicely that way. About an hour into this we were surfing and the true wind speed was reading around 40 kn. The GPS showed we were moving towards Gibraltar at 11 knots.
It was great sailing and we all enjoyed the sensation, Taniwani steers rock solid, with no attempts to broaching, in fact, without the instruments you'd hardly notice what's going on. We could have gone on forever so good it felt. We passed by an Norwegian Bavaria, that was going the same way under engine! Met them later at customs and they said we'd looked magnificent, I'm sure we did, pity we couldn't see us from the outside.
Well as I said we could have gone on forever, but there was this rock, called Gibraltar in our way, and it was approaching fast. At 11 knots two miles are just a bit over ten minutes, so I felt it was time to slow down. Figured we had to jibe, to get the Genoa depowered, but that usually bears the danger of broaching when the main comes about. So we depowered the Genoa a bit by bringing the pole up on the mast and the clew further in, just in case we'd lean over hardly after jibe, the pole could have hit the water and that would not have been ideal. Told Ulf what to expect after the jibe, but Taniwani again just showed how well she sails. Sure pointed up quite a bit after the jibe but Ulf had her back on track even before the mainsheet was eased. I continue to be impressed by the safe behavior of our boat and very happy with the choice. The rest was easy and we figured we had stopped our surf too early, but one never knows.
We went to the new Queensway Marina asking for a berth, on the radio they had just turned down another boat, strangely we got a place, but they sent us to the airfield first to clear customs and immigration there. So some touring of the harbor later we were safely tied up at the marina.
Evening exploration showed that opposed to Spanish towns Gibraltar goes to sleep early, but still we found a place to take a drink and a snack.
Yesterday we explored "the Rock" and found it quite fascinating. We took the cable car up to the 400m high summit and walked down, checking out some of the historic sites. And off course we saw plenty of the famous monkeys terrorizing tourists.
Another long evening in the cockpit, with the nice surrounding of Gibraltar, rounded off the day.
Today we left Queensway Quay Marina just after twelve and soon where out in the same kind of crazy wind. Only this time we had to go close hauled, to reach Ceuta, as the current was going east at about two knots. This time with just cutter staysail and a half reefed main, we were doing again 8 knots, zooming across the strait.
It worked out fine with the many in and outgoing freighters, just one seemed to close a call, so that we headed up further, which gave us a final reach into Ceuta. The whole thing took just two hours.
Once in Ceuta, we checked the new marina, but it was full and we were directed to tie up against the inside of the breakwater, right at the marina entrance. Wind's still blowing strong and we were a bit worried about having all the load on one pollard close to the forward quarter of the ship, wished there would have been one further forward. So for peace of mind we dropped hour smaller Fortress anchor of the harbor wall to create our own pollard.
When it cools down here, we will go an explore the new place.
That's it up to now. Another report should follow in about two weeks time.
P.S. The corresponding pictures will again be loaded to the website, together with this report. May take me a day or two, so check.
Report 3: Ceuta to Gomera, including Madeira and the Selvagen Islands