13th October 2019: Lisbon – Sines – Lagos – Canaries
After we left Éalú in Lisbon, we flew to the UK to visit family, and attend a wedding – thanks for having us Holly and Rob! We then flew to La Zenia, Spain, to see more family, before a spin up to Barcelona for some racing in the Melges 32 World Series. We relished every moment of life on land – hot showers whenever we wanted – even a bath or two! Eating any sort of food we wanted, rather than what we happened to have left in the fridge, and big, comfy beds that don’t move around! We thoroughly enjoyed every one of those luxuries!
We were nevertheless delighted to get back to the boat in Doca de Belem, and see that she was still sat happily on her cradle. We landed in Lisbon at 10pm on the Saturday, and by 8am on Sunday morning, we were suited up, and ready to get started with the anti-fouling. We’d originally intended to do this in the Canaries, however as we’d had her lifted out here, it made sense to get it done now. This time around, we’d saved ourselves a whole lot of bother by washing, scraping and sanding the bottom of the hull before we left. This meant she just needed another quick check for any more flaky bits of old paint, and we were good to go. We spent a very sticky couple of hours in rather fetching, but definitely not breathable protective suits, and the first coat was on and drying by 10am. After a quick cup of tea and chocolate croissant, we attacked the second coat, and were all done by lunch time. The afternoon plans involved re-stocking the fridge, however to our dismay, we discovered that the fridge was no longer working, so instead we spent the day frantically trying to find some one who could fix it for us.
The following day, we were back in the water, and made our way back to Oeiras Marina, with fridge still broken, and no option of fixing it until we reached Lagos in a few days time. We spent the day putting the boat back together after our absence – re-connecting solar, washing, re-fuelling, fresh water, etc etc. We left Oeiras early on Tuesday morning, to begin our passage to Sines, some 50 miles further south. The passage passed peacefully, and we had the best dolphin display yet – a huge pod of about 25 dolphins, who kept us company for about half an hour. From Sines, we pushed on south around the impressive Cape St. Vincent (affectionately known as “the corner”, this is the most southwesterly point in mainland Europe) and along the coast to Lagos. As we rounded the corner, the wind piped up to a very welcome 20 knots, and we zipped along to Lagos in time for sundowners on the dock.
Lagos was a favourite stop of ours, and we were thrilled to be able to catch up with some family friends who live there. We walked out around Pointe de Piedade, and enjoyed the many lovely restaurants etc that the local town had to offer – one of the benefits of having a broken fridge! The marina was full of boats heading the same way as us, and we caught up with a few familiar faces that we’d met on the way down – it’s always lovely when paths cross again! We got incredibly lucky with regard to the fridge repairs – Paul Kent and Davide were absolute legends, and had us up and running again in no time. The best part of the fridge fiasco was that the original cold plate for our fridge wasn’t available, however an alternative part could be sourced that day – and this piece had a tiny little freezer cubby! Once everything was up and running, we were absolutely delighted to be able to now make ice, and freeze fresh meat and fish – this has now revolutionised our meal planning and provisioning for the Atlantic crossing – and means we now have no excuse for warm beers!
All too soon, it was time for us to depart, and begin the 585 mile passage from Lagos down to Lanzarote – the most northerly of the Canary Islands. The weather forecast looked breezy, but all from the right direction, and with a solid window of about 6 or 7 days, we set off on Saturday morning. As we motored out, we wondered if we’d some how got it horribly wrong – instead of the 15 knot northerly, we had 2 knots from the south! However the wind quickly swung around, and rapidly built to a brisk 25 knots, which had us zipping along at about 8 – 10 knots. We set a new daily record for Ealu, at 182 miles in the first 24 hours. There was a nasty swell left over from Hurricane Lorenzo, which had crossed the Atlantic some days previously. This made boat life quite uncomfortable for the first couple of days. Going downstairs for any length of time resulted in almost immediate sea sickness, and any sort of cooking was a huge challenge. One unfortunately timed opening of a cupboard saw the entire set of plates and cups ejected across the cabin, and the tea that I’d just made disappearing into the bilges, and I wondered (not entirely for the first time) what on earth we were doing, and why I was putting myself through this! We ate mostly cereals and chocolate bars, until we were able to manage anything more substantial.
As we moved south, the sea gradually flattened out somewhat, and the wind remained, and we flew down in 3 days, and 11 hours. We saw two rather lost looking turtles, and a couple of large ships as we approached the Canaries, but aside from that, it was a lonely passage, without many other boats. I was hugely relived to arrive into a sheltered little anchorage at La Graciosa – a small island just north of Lanzarote mainland, where we treated ourselves to a hot shower, and an un-interrupted nights sleep.
From here, we plan to spend a few weeks exploring the Canary Islands, and preparing for our Atlantic Crossing, which is rapidly creeping up on us!
Until next time…