The crew from Portugal to Lanzarote

A few more photos of our crew that sailed from Cascais (close to Lisbon) via Madeira and La Graciosa to Lanzarote (part of the Canary Islands). We left the marina in Cascais in flat water and a dead calm, just to see things change within seconds to significant swell and a decent breeze. Apart from the challenge for the new crew to get used to this new environment quickly, we had a smooth trip from there.
Madeira’s natural beauty, the many, many tunnels and of course their wine and good food made a lasting impression. La Graciosa was the biggest surprise due to perfect beaches, impressive volcanoes, its remoteness with very few tourists making it there and of course the legendary finish on Saturday night. With Arrecife, we found the perfect marina to leave Tioga for a longer period and enjoyed a number of highlights that are hard to find anywhere else.
We sailed a total of 810 miles, barely ran the engine and enjoyed mostly broad reaches.
And most importantly, nobody got hurt.
A very nice finish to our European tour…

Bjoern Huenermann
Frank Barba (from Cascais to Madeira)
Peter Barba
Steve Uhl
Ulf Westhoven

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To the moon and back in a day

Today was another day where we ticked a lot of boxes.
We had agreed to get going with the rental car at 8:00 (assuming that with the usual delay we’d be on our way at least by 9:00) and did in fact leave at 8:00. Timanfaya, the National Park where a bus takes you through quite impressive lava fields and around volcanos truly looked like the moon. We were the first group to arrive at the park at 9:00 and hopped on the first bus. Timanfaya is one of the core areas of why Lanzarote was declared a UNESCO world biosphere.

When we came back from the 45min tour, the place had turned into a zoo with lots and lots of tourist buses unloading their cargo. The captain had hoped to hide behind this chaos to fly the drone over the moon landscape, but got caught before he could finish the flight. However, he did get some footage and no equipment got confiscated.
From there we continued ticking boxes like clockwork (and that despite the fact that the car’s gps system seemed to have aged maps, could not differentiate between dirt or paved roads etc):

  • Check out the camels outside Timanfaya – tick
  • El Golfo (a lagoon filled with green water but not as spectacular as described in the travel guides) – tick
  • Salinas (where sea salt is collected in lots of small fields) – tick
  • Cueva de los Verdes (a one hour guided tour through caves in the north-east with a surprising end that we will not disclose here) – tick
  • Drop off Bjoern at the airport – tick
  • Wine tour and tasting at the local wine museum and El Grifo, the oldest winery in Lanzarote with over 225 years of age – tick
  • More wine tasting combined with local cheese – tick
  • Dinner at El Sol (ask for “pascado del dia” and “gambas a la Santa”) in Caleta de Famara a very nice surf spot on the north-west shore with quite impressive views of La Graciosa and the mountains of the north shore – tick

Of course, we came across many references to César Manrique’s legacy, who changed the profile of Lanzarote for ever. Quite impressive!

In addition, the usual business work and boat work go done.
So not too bad of a day;-)

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La Graciosa

Initially the phrase of “anchoring on the moon” came to mind when we arrived early in the morning in La Graciosa. But then we felt that La Graciosa looked more like the west in the US, very similar to the Grand Canyon – quite a place and very different from the other Canarian islands.

Studying the cruising guide during the voyage from Madeira to the Canaries, we realized that an anchor permit had to be requested days in advance. Even a slip in the marina required an advance request to Gran Canaria before security would allow one into the harbor. We therefore decided to anchor at Playa Francesca and hope for the best. There were a handful of other sailboats at anchor and we learned that the best way to get a slip was to walk the 2.5km to the harbor and talk to the harbor master.
Of course, harbor masters do not work on weekends on La Graciosa and therefore we were out of luck. After a cool beer and a nice walk we were back on the boat.
In the meantime, two large catamarans had unloaded their cargo and the beach was now full of people…
We caught up on sleep before checking out the island a little more and then headed back to town for a nice meal.
Of course one thing led to another and before we knew it, it was early in the morning when we walked through the desert in the dark – a night to remember…

La Graciosa is truly worth a visit

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Final sprint to Lanzarote

Our anchor went up around noon, just in time to get out of the way of the large tourist catamarans, and we started our last 25nm sail to Arrecife on Lanzarote.
With the very short night behind us, our  energy level was not exactly at peak performance, but enough to enjoy the large cliffs, vulcanos and waves.
After about 5 hours we had reached our final destination for this summer and were impressed by the brand new marina and very nice facilities.
A worklist was compiled to make sure the boat is prepared to be left alone for three months and ready for the sail across the Atlantic in December.
A nice meal in town provided a first glimpse at what Lanzarote has to offer.

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A looong sprint through Europe

We are in the final stages of preparing our tour throughout Europe. The list of destinations is quite impressive and the speed at which we will have to move even more so.
While each of the 6 legs this summer is a destination in itself where we could spend one or more entire seasons, we unfortunately do not have that much time. So we do what many American’s do and attempt to “see Europe in a week”;-)

This is our plan:
Leg 1 – Kappeln, Germany – Denmark – Marstrand, Sweden – June 16-27
Leg 2 – Marstrand – Gudvangen, Norway – June 28 – July 12
Leg 3 – Gudvangen – Plockton, Scotland – July 13 – 24
Leg 4 – Plockton – Cork, Ireland – July 25 – August 9
Leg 5 – Cork – Spain – Lisbon, Portugal – August 10 – 30
Leg 6 – Lisbon – Madeira – Arrecife, Lanzarote – August 31 – September 16

Of course we are heavily dependent on the weather, our equipment and lots of people flying in and out of the locations above – so what could go wrong?
I am sure we will find a way to make it all happen and enjoy these places to the fullest.

To wet the appetite, the below collection shows some of the highlights that we hope to see. I am sure a lot of you are able to identify many of them. Let me know.