Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Canary Islands

Not since first setting out from Florida 3 years ago have I been able to raise the sails and go with no plans, agenda or time frame. Now our decisions are made day to day, and simply based on the people we meet, direction of the wind, and the attraction and excitement of new destinations.

One of the greatest things is being able to share the cruising concepts with those who may otherwise not experience it. It reminds us all how easy it is to be happy with the simple things in life – Sun, fun, your best friends and cold beer.

This time in the Canaries we had plenty of people aboard, peaking at 9 come New Years. Oli and Kev were persuaded over a pint on Christmas eve and paid top dollar for flights on boxing day. Soph spontaneously decided a week earlier; Rich flew from Spain before having to return for 4 days to snow bound England 2 days later – It really was fantastic the effort made. This combined with new friends Valerie and Ludo, together with Captain Dan and sister Mons we converted the DB into a floating backpackers.

New Years was spent in a small town not far out of Santa Cruz on Tenerife – Everyone was on fine form bombarding the village street party and dancing till dawn. Although I still can’t understand what Oliver was thinking when he abandoned his 8 friends on shore by taking the dingy back to the boat before going to sleep at 4am… Over the next few days our party crew disbursed a bit returning to the real world, while the 6 remaining moved on to explore Fuerteventura, 150miles east of Tenerife. I was particularly sad to see Monique go - It had been a good few years since we spent any time together and we had so much fun for the few weeks she’d been in Europe. Although Dan and I had hid her passport we eventually caved and let her go back to NZ on the 3rd Jan. Fuerteventura is a truly bizarre looking island – One would easily be forgiven mistaking it for the moon if it was not for the white Sahara sand and turquoise waters.
Although we hired a car and explored the island by land, I took advantage of a good cheap marina and spent a lot of time doing some much needed boat work.

It is often said and quickly forgotten that cruising is simply ‘Boat work in exotic locations’. I was lucky I had a patient crew and everyone was great about helping out where they could. Although Dan is an odd ball and I’m sure gets a huge kick out of spending my money in a chandlery, I can’t thank him enough for crossing a thousand niggling job’s off my list – Some have been on there for 3 years and I’m sure would still be there in 10.
The highlight of the boat jobs is DB’s new transome. DB’s home is once again painted on the stern (thanks to a fine stencil from Valerie), and finally a ‘5 times do it right’ addition with my £400 Ebay self-steering wind vane.

In mid Jan the girls left and took with them any hope of us maintaining a good diet and clean galley. It was great having them both aboard. Valerie is a fun travelling Ukulele playing 5 language speaking Belgium girl who’s now off sailing to Mexico via Cuba.

And of course it was so good to see the crazy French frog Sophie again, never a dull moment with loads of energy, spirit and adventures in the pipeline.

So begins the boys trip… Soon after dropping off the girls we made tracks to Los Lobos at the top of the island (rumour has it this is one of the longest right hand surf breaks in Europe and we weren’t going to miss it). When we arrived we couldn’t have been happier with the setup. The island is protected by the national trust and there is no facilities for staying over night, so the only way to surf it is to be dropped off by boat from the mainland.
We made an effort to get involved with the local customs and stay away from tourist traps

The surf was perfect and we were able to anchor a few hundred meters off the break. It was a great place to be before heading off on the 1000 odd mile passage to the Cape Verde’s.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sailing Updates....

If you click on the map it will enlarge and it is easier to see their course.
25 Jan 2010: All safe and sound arrived at Mindello Cabo Verde this morning. Very easy trip, so so so good. Hardly touched the helm or the sails for 8 days! This place is very cool, cant wait to explore. Thanks Nae and Pop for the updates, Jonboy
18/01/10: Well Jonboy is off again on another adventure. Team DB with Capt Dan and Richie onboard has left port in the Canaries and is on the way to Cape Verde off the coast of West Africa. They left at 9am this morning and this time there are no tight timeframes to met and flights to catch at the other end so the journey will unfold as it unfolds! Current Coordinates are Lat: 27N 45'00", Long: 14W 50'00".
19/01/10: The boys have made good progress in the last 24 hours. There isnt a lot of wind around at the moment though they are hoping that it will increase in the afternoon/evening. Current Coordinates are Lat: 26N 20'00", Long: 15W 45'00".
21/01/10: Well we have skipped a day without an update but we are on day 4 and they have crossed the Tropic. They have caught their first Dolphin fish so they have had a bit of fresh food! There hasnt been much change in the wind which is NE between 10 and 17kn. So far everything is going well. Current Coordinates are Lat: 23N 15'00", Long: 19W 36'00".
22/01/10: The sailing is still going great and are flying the geneker at the moment. They are making excellent progress and catching lots of fish along the way. Estimates have them at Cape Verde in about 3-4 days. Current Coordinates are Lat: 21N 03'00", Long: 21W 03'00".

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vamos a Cabo Verde

So...... Since the satalite uplink on Double Bruyn is currently experiencing technical difficulties I haven't had a chance to update this for a while ;-)

Having a ball in the Canaries. We think we'll go to Cape Verdes tomorrow, but we've seen in the past it's very difficult to make plans past the next beach or anchorage. We love sailing in the Canaries, we'd love to sail the Cape Verde's, and we're only 50 miles from Morroco. Brazil is a good plan, but Africa could be cool, and it's also difficult to discount the idea of sailing back to the med and joining Dan and Ultima Noche - The spontaneous side of me keeps letting my planning side down. So hard is life when all one needs to worry about is sun and wind to keep the fridge on.

We had 9 at New Year's and now we're down to 4 - Richie, Dan and Ludo. Has been great having everyone around.
More to come... When we do set off hopefully we can post our position via the oldman and Naenae (thank you!!)