Last Report from TANIWANIís Summer 2002 Cruise:

 

 

 

 

In the evening of August 24th Taniwani passed under the lifting pedestrian bridge into the large Marine de Lagos to stay there for the winter, waiting for new adventures in the next year. Now, almost two weeks later, the final report is overdue and Iím finally writing it on an airplane looking down at beautiful bays of Greenland and a deep blue sea scattered with little icebergs. Maybe some dayÖ

 

The last general report was sent from Madeira, since then Taniwani had sailed back to Funchal where we arrived in the evening and found the small Marina so crowded that we were sent back to anchor outside. Several yachts were at anchor and rolling furiously in the swell. About any place was as bad as the other, with respect to the swell, so we decided to move further away from the harbor entrance and anchor in some distance from the crowd, but between two anchors to eliminate the rolling.

 

This worked very fine and way lay quietly between bow and stern anchor. All the younger crew left to stay ashore for the night and then bring Jonas to the airport the next morning. So Beate and I had a quiet evening on board.

In the morning I took the dinghy to the marina to check in, and our strange friend at the marina, again told us we could have the same place we had before, despite the fact that many were fighting for a place. I think we will never know why.

Anyway, we didnít want to hesitate taking the offer and so Beate and I lifted our two anchors and made it for the marina. A lot to do for two, since we had to drop the dinghy from the davits while turning parking stern to in the narrow and busy marina; but the old couple managed just fine.

 

We had two more nice days, seeing parents and friends, until Beate and Felix had to leave us on the 10th. The small rest of Markus, Ulf and myself went for a last big shopping effort and then we left Funchal the next morning.

We had friends on board for this day and didnít plan to sail any further than the east end of the island. Again we had planned to stay at Baia Abra, but when we came close, dark rainsqualls were going through the bay, something that is supposed to never happen during the summer.

So we anchored a few miles earlier, right off the new, almost ready, marina of the Quinta do Lordes. A place we had investigated before, but came to the conclusion it wouldnít be safe in real serious winter storms.

We dropped our friends at the marina and inspected to new pontoons, and then went on to anchor in Baia Abra for the night. Same gusty winds there, but this time combined with some rain.

Next morning we embarked on replacing the pump valves of our toilets since they didnít seem to close so well any more. This went reasonable well with the aft head, but when Ulf tried to repeat the procedure with the pump of the forward head, disaster struck, and we had to spend several hours opening floorboards and cleaning up the mess. Some of you may have seen the funny video that goes with this exercise.

With all this extra work, we didnít get going towards Porto Santo until some time in the afternoon, and it was a hard beat to windward to get there.

 

In the evening we anchored, almost exactly where we had been before, somewhere in the middle of the endless beach. After dinner Ulf and Markus went for an open-air disco night and didnít get back until sometime in the morning, apparently they had a lot of fun.

The plan was to have a day of swimming, diving and wakeboarding, before departing for the mainland the next day. Unfortunately the weather was incredibly bad for summer in Porto Santo, with rainsquall after rainsquall passing through, so that we had a lot less of those activities.

Next day we took the dinghy to the harbor a mile and a half away, and off course got soaked by a passing squall. Around noon we set off for Cadiz some 550 miles away.

It remained mainly overcast, with a few showers for the rest of the day. On the upside we caught a nice Dorada (Dolphin fish) for dinner.

The passage from Madeira back to Portugal or Spain or Gibraltar is typically an upwind battle against the summer trade winds and further north against the so-called ďPortuguese North windĒ.

Going straight to Lagos would have been almost exactly against the wind, but making it into Gibraltar is usually possible. As much as we would have enjoyed visiting Gibraltar, we felt it would cost us too much time to go all the way in and fight back out. So we aimed for Cadiz, a bit further north

On the second day the wind was so easterly that all we could do was aim for the African coast, but we just kept going on the same bow and made sure we never drop below 7 knots. In the end it worked out fine, just like our weather routing software had predicted, and we had no problems going straight for Cadiz for the last day.

Again, exactly as the weather routing data had predicted, we ran into a total calm, about 60 miles from Cadiz. So we had to do about 40 miles under engine, until the daily sea brize came up and we could continue the rest of the journey into Cadiz under spinnaker.

We ended up doing the 550 miles in 3 days and 4 hours and tied up in Puerto America, in Cadiz in the afternoon of Saturday the 17th.

At first we were a bit shocked by the amount of trash and all the graffiti, but it didnít take long and we really started to like Cadiz. A wonderful and lively town, that isnít dominated by tourists, but rather by itís own friendly people populating the streets and beaches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had two wonderful days in Cadiz, before we went on to the nearby tourist town of Chipiona, with a large new marina. In itís way a quite decent place, but no match with Cadiz.

 

Chipiona lies at the southern end of the river mouth of the Guadalquivir, which is shippable up to Seville. It takes a full day to go in to Seville and we didnít feel we had the time to do that. Also we would have needed to stop some miles before Seville because our mast wouldnít have fitted under a power line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fairly big ships enter the river and it is a quite busy entrance, with many wrecks on the reefs and sand bars left and right of the shipping channel.

Going north there is a nature reserve and no shelter for many miles until the entrance to Huelva, an industrial port.

We went by all this sailing with the daily sea brize to El Rompido, not far from the Spanish-Portuguese border. Like almost every harbor on this shore, it is another river entrance. Whatís nice about El Rompido is, that the river parallels the shore, flowing east for at least 5 miles, with the seaside consisting of a chain of nice sandy islands.

 

 

Lotís of local tourism in there, many little motorboats, sailing dinghies, kiters and more. After carefully passing over the sand bar, with no more than a meter under the keel, we set the genoa again and surfed up the canal in a spectacular setting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again we anchored between bow and stern anchor on the seaside of the canal. This prevented us from swinging around in the narrow tide rode place and we had a fabulous evening there.

 

Next day we sailed a step further west to the Portuguese town of Tavira, again on itís own river. We found it a bit narrow inside and decided to head out again and just anchor off the open beach, given the weather was so predictable. It is quite flat there and we had to go more than a quarter mile offshore for anchoring, to not hit the ground on low tide.

 

As expected, the fresh sea brize died around sunset and the warm land wind took over. Water was great for swimming and Ulf and Markus had fun with the wake board.

 

 

 

 

 

For the Thursday we had planned to sail some 70 miles west, past Lagos, all the way to Cabo Sao Vicente, and then spend a last whole relaxing today there before finally getting into Lagos. But after rounding the point at Faro, we had head winds and changed our plans to stay at the anchorage of Portimao for the night.

 

 

 

Portimao, about 9 miles east of Lagos, seems like a big tourist place with several high riser hotels and an almost completed very large marina. Yet there is a very nice anchorage on the east side of the river entrance, where quite a bunch of blue water cruisers seem to hang out. We saw some boats that we had seen in the Azores before, and several with the ARC flag in the spreaders, seemingly on their way to the Canaries.

 

The next day we finally made it out to Cabo Sao Vicente, the southwestern corner of Europe and had some fun sailing around the corner and back. Finally we anchored, entirely alone, in a little bay about a mile from the cape. Certainly we had to climb up the rocks and walk out to the lighthouse, which seems a popular destination for people by car.

 

What surprised us enormously was that over the 70 some miles from Tavira, the water temperature had fallen from 21 C to 15 C!!! That is almost what we know from Norway. Nevertheless, we went swimming around the boat, cleaned the topsides, not swimming but from the dinghy, and Markus and Ulf figured out how to use the wakeboard without getting wet, by starting and landing from the bathing platform.

 

Our last sailing day was as it should be, a fast downwind run to Lagos, under spinnaker, surfing at 9.5 knots.

 

We arrived at our final destination in the evening of Saturday the 24th, and we worked on winding down and winterizing the boat until Wednesday when I had to leave to fly home.

 

The better the sailing, the bigger the shock being back on land. But this very diverse journey was so special that we will all keep it in fond memory, and we saw many nice places that we hope to visit again some day.