d 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490 Najad 490
This is the first report of this year (2004), and covers some time in May and June when Beate and Harald were preparing TANIWANI and sailed from almost home port Lagos to Puerto Sherry near Cadiz.
This season has started slowly in late May, when TANIWANI was hauled out at the SOPROMAR yard in Lagos for a fresh coat of International Optima underwater paint. We had this paint for the last two seasons and it performed very good in the waters between Canary Islands and Portugal. Except for the prop there was no fouling if we wouldn't plan to go far and into tropical waters, it would have worked just fine for another year.
Now, with two additional coats we hope it will last fine through the South Pacific, but one never really knows. Many people have told us that most of the paints that work fine in European and US waters fail very quickly in the tropics. Seems we will have to find out.
The SOPROMAR yard can only be highly recommended, especially the excellent mechanic with his well equipped machine shop. For us he made a nice stainless steel mast for the wind generator and, more important, milled our non matching halves of the lower rudder shaft bearing. A problem that had lead to quick wear of the Delrin packing and enough play in the alignment, that the lip-seals on top allowed substantial amounts of water into the boat. Now we have a well repaired bearing, new lip-seals and a rubber gaiter; the later two courtesy of Najad.
While still in Lagos, numerous other little tasks and enhancements were done. Harald spent a day in the rigging, washing the mast, cleaning and checking all terminals. The only small defect we found was a smashed halyard sheave of the Genoa, which was quickly sent to us from Selden in Sweden. Another notable new thing was the addition of a gimbaled bracket for our radar.
Only a few days before we were to finally leave Lagos, a well known sister ship, the "Altarial" came into the marina.
Altarial was Najad's demo boat that we had looked at many times in Sweden and in Düsseldorf, she was bought by Chris and Faith Mortimer, sailed to the Caribbean and now returned to Lagos via the Azores. We met the very nice Mortimers for the first time and had a great exchange of experiences.
Lagos has been Taniwani's home port for two years and we really liked it as a save and nice place. So we were a little bit sad to leave it behind for many years when we finally left there on June 7th. But we didn't sail far on that day and anchored for the night at Portimao, less than 10 miles away.
The next day brought us to the lagoon of Faro and Olhao, where we anchored at the well known place behind the island of Culhatra. The anchorage is very popular and many of the boats seem to hang out there for a long time, moving between Olhao and the anchorage at best. We just spent three nights in that area and really enjoyed the fantastic food market in Olhao. But the highlight was rescuing a drunk water-bike driver who had sucked his painter into the jet-drive. He needed a tow to a yacht appropriately named "Bacardi" where he was greeted by an equally spirited crew.
When we eventually left the big lagoon of Faro/Olhao, we spotted a huge motor yacht, more like a smaller passenger ship anchored outside. What looked odd from the far, was that a sailboat like mast was sticking out from it into the air. It took some time for us to realize that it had two smaller yachts, a sailing yacht and a motor yacht stored on deck, together with special cranes for launching them.
As always the internet revealed the mystery: It was one, (but not the largest), of Paul Allen's boats and just the little sailing yacht on deck was 72 ft !! A windsurfer on our deck would have approximately similar proportions....
Next and last stop in Portugal was Tavira. Like most anchorages on this coast it is situated at a river entrance. We didn't go very far inside, as it shoals quickly towards the town, and the alternate arm behind the lagoon was densely populated with a large field of local boats on moorings. But right behind the entrance, where the waterway forks left and right is a neat little basin with a fantastic view at all the activities.
There may be space for three boats to anchor, but we were the only one aside of numerous little day fishing boats. We anchored smack in the middle of the basin, and for a moment considered using bow and stern anchor to use up less room, but when we found that the stern anchor windlass didn't work, we happily decided to stick to just the big bow anchor. We liked Tavira and especially the first row view onto all the local tourist fun and the busy old ferry to the sand dune.
So we spent an extra day in Tavira before we moved on to the Rio Guardiana, that separates Portugal and Spain, and there we anchored a bit upriver from Ayamonte. The beautiful highway bridge is too low for us to go further. We measured 21.5 meters at fairly low water using the sextant and the radar. Anyway, we also were attacked by really fierce mosquitoes, so that we quickly left the river the next morning.
Now we moved on to the beautiful El Rompido, where Harald had already been three times with varying crew. But it was new for Beate and when she heard last years story, when we were anchored very close to the sand dune between two anchors and the tide kept falling and falling until we could see the ground just a few meters from the boat, panicked and jammed the anchor windlass with the bridle that worked itself into the chain channel. The result then was hard work to free up the windlass, but still no grounding until the tide started raising again.
This time we anchored further off, but when we sounded the area around the boat from the dinghy we got worried enough to move, first to mid channel and later in the evening to the northern side. But there we remained for two full days and enjoyed the beautiful lagoon. On the second day, we were visited by the Guardia Civil, who seemed to have come with five people from Huelva, just for us. But they where quite friendly and just wanted to see our papers and then they officially cleared us into Spain. Like in Portugal, it seems they have lists of the boats they know are cruising in their waters and if they recognize your boat's name they move on. The level of alertness seemed much higher this year and we had quite a few of these fly-by kind of inspections. Our impression was that they are doing a good job and minimize disturbing their visitors.
The next morning we had a longer passage to Chipiona ahead and because of that we tried to get out of El Rompido as soon as we thought the tide would allow. But the tide, at about 1.3m above low water wasn't enough to let us cross the bar outside the river mouth. We made several attempts, coming to a soft stand-still every time, yet couldn't find a hole deep enough to make it.
So we gave up, moved back a short distance and anchored for almost two hours before trying again. (The picture shows Harald, impatiently waiting for more water). And yes, we had another fly-by inspection while waiting. Later, with 90cm more water, we had really plenty and soon were out and moving towards Chipiona where we arrived almost at low water again. And off course, we got stopped again on a mud bank already inside the marina. As we found out the hard way, you need to enter Chipiona closer to the port side harbor light. Obviously there isn't much maintenance going on at the marina, which looked quite new and partially unfinished two years ago and now showed signs of decay. But we really enjoyed the place, especially the area around the nice church with its nice street cafes, and so we stood for two days before moving on to our favorite town of Cadiz.
For Beate it was the first visit to Cadiz, but she too felt and enjoyed the vibrancy of this place. We spent a whole weekend there and also had friends, who drove over from Marbella, visiting us.
Finally, on Monday, June 21st we left Puerto America in Cadiz, just to cross over the bay into Puerto Sherry, were we would leave TANIWANI for a month and return home for a last time before our long journey begins.
Puerto Sherry was a surprise, what we thought would be a bustling place with marina, restaurants, facilities, apartments like shown in the plans, turned out to be a dead place with empty half finished buildings. Only the marina seems quite filled and reasonably maintained. Security seemed ok though, a bit reluctantly we left TANIWANI behind.
The latest news with respect to Puerto Sherry is, that we got a call a week later, telling us that they made a mistake with the berth they assigned us, and that the boat that owns it might return before we come back! They promised to tell us when they would have to move Taniwani, but off course failed to do so, and a few days later, it was Taniwani's little monitoring system that reported the move, and a 180 degrees turned heading after that. You can imagine that we are anxious to get back on board...