Monthly Archives: July 2018

Azores to Camaret, France – Day 9

Our position at 10:00 BST Tuesday 17th July.

48 04 North.
005 46 West.

Our 24 hour run from 10:00 yesterday to 10:00 this morning was 142 miles giving us a better average of 5.9kts. We have 50 miles to go to Camaret.

I’VE JUST DONE MY LAST NIGHT WATCH WAHOOOO I’m not going to say ever because I don’t know what’s going to happen but for the foreseeable future any way. We are just going to do day hops up the French coast for the rest of this trip.

When Bill got up yesterday we shook out the reefs and sailed for the rest of the morning but the wind died at lunchtime and the engine was back on at 2.30pm. At least we sailed for another 24 hours to save some fuel but there’s no more wind forecast. The westerlies keep moving back, they are forecast to arrive at the end of this week now but too late for us. The twin headsails are still out to catch the little bit of wind we have got to give us an extra knot or two but if we turn the engine off we just flop around. Bill is putting our last 80lts of fuel in the tank at the moment which will get us into Camaret.

We discovered why the EV1 (Raymarine gyrocompass) has been giving us such trouble yesterday. We have an emergency light that turns on when you turn it upside down, it sits in a pocket in the cockpit but probably not more that six inches away from the evil one on the inside. We think the light has a magnet in it because when the light was moved the heading magically corrected itself having been out by about 40 degrees most of the journey!

I had the most magical display of dolphins at sunset last night just as we were crossing back onto the continental shelf. There were big ones and small ones, some were jumping clear out of the water. They enjoyed playing in our bow wave for well over an hour. I’ve never seen any thing like it. Usually they play for 20 minutes or so then disappear but these were there well after the sun had set. I think they were welcoming Camomile home.

Not having seen any shipping for most of the journey, this morning I saw lots. They had come out of the English Channel round the traffic separation zone at Ouessant and were heading for Finisterre on the Spanish coast and vice versus. They were heading north/south – we were going east. Hedgehogs and motorways come to mind. Fortunately they could all see us on their AIS and were able to alter course to go round us.

So this is my last passage blog. I’m looking forward to getting in and giving the boat a good clean, inside and out, and of course I’ll be off to look for a washing machine. We’ve been to Camaret quite a few times and 9 years ago there was a washing machine there, they had better not have moved it.

I have a bottle of Prosecco left over from Bill’s birthday party chilling in the fridge to celebrate our Atlantic crossing plus we will also celebrate crossing our north/south outward going line. We left Camaret on 4th May 2009 to head south and now we are back.

The website link to facebook is working now but it comes down via an email so I can’t see facebook. I’ll look forward to my messages when I get in.

All’s well on board.

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Azores to Camaret, France – Day 8

Our position at 10:00 BST Monday 16th July.

47 25 North.
009 06 West. single figures

Our 24 hour run from 10:00 yesterday to 10:00 this morning was 138 miles giving us a better average of 5.7kts. We have 190 miles to go to Camaret.

We motored for 45 hours in the end. I made a mistake yesterday and said we’d motored for the last 30 hours, that should have said the last 42 hours (half a day out). The wind started to build yesterday morning and by midday we put the main back up then set up the twin headsails and turned the engine off at 12.45. By sunset it had picked up to F4 and Bill decided we would put a reef in the main before it got dark. Another front was approaching but this one had rain, lots of it, and 25kt gusts. Not too bad but Bill had his full wet gear on for his watch as he got most of the bad weather. Our track from last night looks a bit wriggly trying to keep the sails inflated but we made good speeds. Moderate seas made sleeping difficult, both tired today. This morning Bill took the twizzle rig down and we are back on a beam reach still with a F4. On course to arrive at Camaret in the evening tomorrow. I can almost smell those crepes.

Bangers and mash and beans with an egg on top for dinner. Lovely jubbly.

The bread turned out well but I put too much treacle in the flap jacks and they are a bit sticky. Bill says nothing wrong with that.

The website link to facebook is working now but it comes down via an email so I can’t see facebook. I’ll look forward to my messages when I get in.

So France won the world cup, they will be insufferable but at least it wasn’t us they beat. Well done to them.

All’s well on board.

Azores to Camaret, France – Day 7

Our position at 10:00 BST Sunday 15th July.

46 51 North
012 14 West 3 steps nearer today

Our 24 hour run from 10:00 yesterday to 10:00 this morning was 135 miles giving us a better average of 5.6kts. We have 322 miles to go to Camaret.

We’ve motored the last 30 hours. Still tracking towards Camaret. The sky gradually cleared yesterday and it was a wonderful blue sky day, shorts were out again. Although we’re motoring our speed picked up through the day because we think we had been in adverse current again the day before. Our 24 hour run was much better this morning and hopefully we’ll be in Camaret Tuesday evening. Bill did the fuelling yesterday and we could motor the rest of the way if we had to but there’s wind promised for this afternoon. At the moment we have 100% cloud cover again with a front going over but the wind has already swung round to the SW so we just need it to pick up a bit and we might be able to get twizzle out.

I saw whales again yesterday afternoon. The sea is so smooth it’s easy to spot them. There are probably more out there but we aren’t on deck all the time. There’s only so much staring at the sea doing f*** all I can stand! (Micky Flannagan would love it out here. LOL (google him))It’s a bit like driving up the M1 to Scotland in 2nd gear in a driverless car and even then although motorways are boring the scenery does vary a little. Fortunately there’s nothing out here and I’ve got them on the chartplotter if any thing appears…… Just popped my head up to have a quick look out (Bill’s asleep) nothing there, the mizzle has stopped and the clouds are breaking up so it looks like the front is clearing. Still only 4kts of wind.

Made chicken curry last night with the last of some curry paste I bought in a little local shop in Nassau, it was hot! Just cooked the chicken in the paste to sauté add a tin of coconut milk and simmer. I usually add chick peas but I’ve ran out so put ordinary peas in with some potatoes and some other bits. Serve with rice, Bill’s favourite.

I’ve made bread this morning so that should wake Bill up when it goes in the oven. Made flap jacks too. My goodness that man is spoilt!!

The website link to facebook is working now but it comes down via an email so I can’t see facebook. I’ll look forward to my messages when I get in.

Finally Happy Birthday today to my brother-in-law Terry. Hope you have a good day.

All’s well on board.

Azores to Camaret, France – Day 6

Our position at 10:00 BST Saturday 14th July. Bastilles day in France, shame we are going to miss it.

46 07 North
015 15 West

Our 24 hour run from 10:00 yesterday to 10:00 this morning has dropped again to 122 miles giving us an average of 5kts. We have 453 miles to go to Camaret, France

We managed to sail for 6 1/2 hours yesterday morning but gradually the wind dropped along with our speed and the engine went on at 3.30pm. It’s still on with no sign of any wind for the rest of the day. The promised westerlies for Friday 13th didn’t materialise. At the moment we have a glassy grey sea under windless grey clouds. We are motoring on a direct course for Camaret. The good thing is we’ve had no rain and yesterday we saw a whale breaching along with his water spout that rose several metres into the air. It looked like a sperm whale although it was a good 100 metres from the boat so we didn’t get a good look at it. I regret not going on a whale spotting boat tour from Horta, the rally organised several, but we assumed we would see some from Camomile. Next time.

It’s not quite so cold now the wind has dropped, and the sun is warm when it’s out.

Bill is fuelling today.

I made a really nice beef bourguignonne last night, going French now, it had a red onion, carrot, bits of bacon, beef, thyme and parsley. Sauté altogether. Add a tbl spoon of flour, a dollop of tomato paste and a cup full of red wine. Stir until it thickens and put in the oven to gently stew for a couple of hours. Add some mushrooms before the end. I had a pack of American stew beef in the freezer and it’s ideal for meat like that because it cooks slowly. I had some mini roasties in the freezer which I put in the oven too. Served with some broccoli. It was actually nice having the oven on to warm the boat. I didn’t make this in the tropics or if I did all the windows had to be open.

The website link to facebook is working now but it comes down via an email so I can’t see facebook. I’ll look forward to my messages when I get in.

Good luck to England this after noon against Belgium for third place.

All’s well on board.

Azores to Spain or France – Day 5

Our position at 10:00 BST Friday 13th July eeekkk

45 32 North
017 56 West 3 steps nearer

Our course is taking us to the middle of the Biscay so might still end up in Spain but Camaret in France is 571 miles to go. Our 24 hour run from 10:00 yesterday to 10:00 this morning has dropped to 128 miles giving us an average of 5.3kts still hoping to be in Tuesday but might be late.

During the morning the wind dropped again. When Bill came back on watch we shook out the reef in the main and pulled out all of the genny but our speed was dropping. By 1pm our speed was between 3.5kts and 4.5kts, mostly 3.5kts. I don’t do 3.5kts, not on a long passage. It’s OK on a coastal hop or a short sail because maybe you’ll just be out there a few more hours but when you’ve got 100s of miles to go it can add another day or two. After 20 minutes of ear bashing Bill gave in and put the engine on! We left the main up to give us stability but the wind didn’t come back until this morning so we motored the rest of the day and night. The wind increased to F4 this morning so I pulled the genny out and switched the engine off while Bill was having his second sleep. The wind is coming directly from the north which is why we are heading to the middle of the Biscay but we are promised west winds at the weekend which will push us back towards France. The wind at the moment isn’t forecast, we were expecting to motor for 2 days but a weather forecast that’s wrong???? How can that be!!

Bill had thermal long johns on under his fleece trousers last night maybe we’ve got soft living in the tropics for the last 9 years.

We are filling our days with writing more chapters for our book. Up to chapter 45 now. I wonder what it’s about??

I made sweet and sour pork last night with a red onion, a carrot, half a red pepper, pork and pinapple. I confess I added a jar of sauce but I added more soy sauce, sweet chili sauce and honey to sizz it up a bit.

Nearly forgot to tell you, we passed half way last night so obviously I had extra chocolate. 😉

The website link to facebook is working now but it comes down via an email so I can’t see facebook. I’ll look forward to my messages when I get in.

All’s well on board.

Azores to Spain or France – Day 4

Our position at 10:00 BST Thursday 12th July

44 54 North (
020 47 West (both lat and long are three quarters of the way from the US to the UK

Don’t think we are going to Spain now, our course is taking us to Camaret and it’s 697 miles to go. Our 24 hour run from 10:00 yesterday to 10:00 this morning was 139 miles giving us an average of 5.7kts. 🙂

We sailed all day yesterday with the wind picking up to F4 in the afternoon so we decided to put a reef in the main. We were advancing towards a trough with squalls in it so wanted to be ready. During the day it started getting cloudy with light mizzle as the front came over. Unfortunately it brought headwinds which, although light, weren’t very welcome so we motored into them for 3 hours. If we had tacked and sailed we would have been heading back to Portugal or even Morocco! Once through, the wind went back into the north allowing us to lay a course for Camaret. Making our northing at the beginning has helped and we didn’t want to lose it. Luckily we didn’t get any squalls but the front left behind a choppy old sea and sleeping was difficult last night. I changed beds and managed to get some sleep. Bill is having his sleep now. Sailing along nicely at 6kts now.

Shorts have gone away, it’s fleece trousers, fleece top and fleece jacket over that now. The hats and mittens might come out tonight. The north wind is cold.

I cooked salmon for dinner last night in my nice marinate. I’ve given you the recipe before but I’ll give it again. In a bowl mix a chopped piece of ginger, a spoon of chili paste, a good squeeze of honey and an even bigger squeeze of lime juice or juice a fresh lime is nicer. Mix together pour over the salmon that has been laid onto silver foil. Wrap it lightly into a parcel and bake in the oven for 15 minutes of so. served with potatoes, carrots, broccoli and a bit of salad. It still has to go in a bowl for serving because food on a plate at sea is a no no.

The website link to facebook is working now but it comes down via an email so I can’t see facebook. I’ll look forward to my messages when I get in.

Commiserations to England.

All’s well on board.

Azores to Spain or France – Day 3

Our position at 10:00 BST Wednesday 11th July

44 09 North
023 56 West and 2 steps further east.

Our course is taking us up the Bristol channel at the moment but still aiming to get to Camaret in France which is 832 miles to go and our run from 10:00 yesterday to 10:00 this morning was 137 miles giving us an average of 5.7kts. 🙂

The engine stayed on all day yesterday with flat calm seas so we took the opportunity to go round in circles to re-calibrate the evil one otherwise know as the Raymarine gyrocompass called the EV1, it’s always giving us trouble. Another SMART product but it’s not. It has a green light which is supposed to stay on but it blinks at us all the time. Of course Raymarine say it’s fine but I digress. The wind started filling in from the WNW in the afternoon so we put the main back up. By the time we’d finished dinner there was just enough wind to sail so the genny was pulled out and the engine went off at 19.15. We sailed NE all night in a F2/3 with speeds between 4.3 to 5.2 but overnight gradually the wind has gone round to the north, as forecast, and strengthened to F4 so we are now sailing 055T, almost to France. Our speed this morning is back up to 6.6kts. The wind is supposed to stay like this for a few days so we can sail further east.

Everyone knows I love statistics so yesterday we passed our quarter of the way from the Azores to Camaret. Today’s latitude of 44 North is three quarters of the way north from the US to the UK and it’s the same latitude as Maine in the US so this is as far north as we’ve been since leaving the UK.

Last night I had my fleece trousers on and a fleece over my t-shirt with my slippers which are like UGG boots, it’s getting colder.

I cooked a nice garlic and chili chicken stirfry with noodles last night. One of my favourites but Bill’s not keen because it’s too healthy. Food is going to change when we get home, he won’t like it but it will be good for him.

The website link to facebook is working now but it comes down via an email so I can’t see facebook. I’ll look forward to my messages when I get in.

Thanks to my sister Amanda for letting me know those dear little boys are safe in Thailand. Now I need the football results of the semi finals. Good luck to England this evening. I keep singing the song ‘It’s coming home’ but I’m thinking of Camomile coming home. 🙂

All’s well on board.

Azores to Spain or France – Day 2

Our position at 10:00 BST Tuesday 10th July

42 17 North 2 steps nearer to the UK. Oddly enough we were in the same latitude this time last year in the US. 025 26 West and 2 steps further east.

Could be going any where between Ireland and La Coruna in Spain. At the moment we’re heading to the Faroes off of Scotland!!

If we go to Camaret in France it’s 957 miles to go and our run from 10:00 yesterday to 10:00 this morning was 144 miles giving us an average of 6kts. 🙂

We had a nice sailing day yesterday. Once the engine went off at 6am it didn’t go back on until 2.30 this morning when the wind suddenly died. We had F3/4 all day coming from the ENE so we were close reaching all day. Thankfully my seasickness has gone now. The sea is calm with a long Atlantic swell which is rolling us slightly but not too bad. Bill’s tactic is head north north east until the wind starts coming from the north west some time tomorrow then we can turn onto the rhumb line for Camaret. At the moment we are motoring across a high so the engine is droning away.

Still only shorts and t-shirts but I put my slippers on for a few hours this morning because my feet were cold but back to bare feet now. It’s going to be so strange having socks and shoes on when we get back. We live in bare feet unless we go ashore and then if it’s to a beach or someone else’s boat, it’s bare feet again.

I cooked chili con carne with rice last night. I stocked up on fruit before we left so hopefully that will last for the first week and the passage shouldn’t be more than 9/10 days.

I think this blog should be going through to all the facebook pages now but it’s sent via an email so I can’t see facebook. I’ll look forward to my messages when I get in.

So it’s France V Belgium this evening. I wonder who will win? Can someone please let me know the result. 🙂

All’s well on board.

Azores to Spain or France – Day 1

Our position at 10:00 BST Monday 9th July

40 19 North
027 14 West

Not sure where we’re heading yet but it’s 1079 miles to Camaret in France and our run from 11:30 yesterday to 10:00 this morning was 130 miles.

So we finally got away from Horta after waiting to walk the caldera, which was worth the wait and, as usual, the weather. Bill has been watching the weather since we arrived 3 weeks ago and there hasn’t been one suitable window to leave on. We’d planned to spend another 2 weeks in the Azores and see some of the other islands but when the weather started looking good we thought we had better leave. In the end we were the last rally boat out of 44 to leave Horta although there were lots of regular cruisers coming and going. Horta is a bit of a crossroads. Many vessels heading back to the UK but a lot also going to the Portuguese mainland and on into the Med.

As we left I put our clocks forward 1 hour so we are now the same time as the UK. The first couple of hours we motored to get clear of the harbour and the island of Faial, then the sails went up and we sailed for the rest of the day passing the islands of Pico, Sao Jorge and Graciosa. The peak of Pico was visible right up until sunset. I think there must have been some funny old currents running between the islands because I spent most of the day feeling seasick. I haven’t felt like that for over a year but the currents were hitting the islands and running back again causing a very confused sea. The wind dropped just after 10pm and we motored all night but it was back at 6am so the sails went up and the engine turned off again.

Still quite warm here and we still only have shorts and t-shirts on. I put a fleece on in the evenings because it gets chilly and Bill has been putting his Musto trousers on for his night watch.

I couldn’t face cooking so Bill made pasta with a jar of sauce.

I think this blog should be going through to all the facebook pages now but it’s sent via an email so I can’t see facebook. I’ll look forward to my messages when I get in.

Finally could someone please let me know if they got those dear little boys out of the cave in Thailand. I keep thinking of the poor little chaps, so brave but they must have been so frightened.

All’s well on board.

The OCC Azores Rally

Great catching up with old friends

I was really happy to discover the OCC were planning a rally in the Azores at the same time that we would be there. Peter Café sport was celebrating their 100 year anniversary and together with the OCC put together a week of events.

We arrived on Saturday 16th June a day behind Ken on Antaras. Our old friends Norman and Sara had arrived on Norsa a few weeks earlier. It was good to meet up for a meal later that day.

The end of the pursuit race

Free beer and wine brought out a crowd

 

The start of the week began with the end of the Pursuit ‘race’ at 12.00 on 18th June and despite many boats having to motor to the Azores through lack of wind, there were quite a few boats crossing the line. I watched from the harbour wall. Time was allowed to check-in, collect badges from OCC rally control and generally catch their breath before the first event that evening. Jose was offering free wine, beer and gin & tonics before everyone followed the leaders to the fort in Porto Pim where a large pig was being barbecued.

The fort at Porto Pim

The pig roast

 

There were speeches from the mayor in Portuguese, with a young lady interpreting, followed by a speech from John Franklin and Jose thanking every one. Several of the sailors had completed their 1000 mile qualifying trip on the way to the Azores and were rewarded with an OCC burgee. The food was very nice and plentiful, the setting in the evening sun was glorious.

Norsa on their way out of the harbour

 

 

 

The next morning we said goodbye to Norman and Sara because they were anxious to get back to the uk.

Bill walking

Looking back up the steep bank

Meanwhile the group was divided up with some going on a guided walk in the morning but we joined the afternoon walk. Something was lost in translation because I, along with a number of other participants, thought we were going on a guided walk of the town but instead we were taken on a wonderful bus trip to the centre of the island and taken on an 8km route march! It wasn’t so bad and the views down towards the ocean were impressive. It was a fairly easy walk except for one area that had collapsed during a recent landslide and it was necessary to scramble down one side on pumice rocks which turned themselves into ball bearings, and then back up the other side which fortunately had steps cut into the hill side. After 3 hours we eventually re-joined the bus for the trip back to the harbour. There was just time for a shower and a quick change before a scrumptious dinner at Peter café sport courtesy of Jose.

Beautiful views out to sea

Beautiful Hydrangeas

 

 

The flowers in the hedgerows are beautiful here.

 

 

Not sure what these are but they were beautiful

Wild strawberries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful ferns, lots of amazing greens.

The path followed an open culvert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The forecast for Wednesday was cloudy so sadly the planned walk around the caldera was cancelled.  Jose came to the rescue once again with lunch provided at Peter Café Sport. I, along with many others, although sad not to see the caldera, was quietly relieved at not having to do 2 walks in 2 days.  That evening there was a visit to the Volcano museum with a reception which by all accounts was excellent but we chose an early night.

Early morning view of Pico

A full ferry

 

 

Thursday saw every one emerging from their boats early for the 15 minute walk to the ferry port to catch the 7.30 ferry to Pico. Once everyone boarded the trip took about 20 minutes.

 

Looking back to Horta from the ferry

The interesting vineyard

The group was divided between 2 coaches, ones having lunch and those not. Having made our picnic we joined the no lunch coach although they travelled together. The first stop was to a vineyard but with a difference. The vines were being grown in clumps behind little dry stone walls expertly built, it reminded us of Lanzarote where the vines were grown in little hollows. The reasoning behind this is firstly it protects them from the wind and secondly the bricks heat up during the day and then during the night the cooling causes condensation and therefore making them self watering.

There are red windmills like this all over the island

 

 

 

 

 

The beautiful red windmill in the centre looked lovely but probably didn’t function any more judging by the sails. Everyone took turns in climbing the little ladder to get a better view of the vines.

 

The cafe garden. Can you see his goat?

 

 

We stopped for coffee by a little roadside cafe who didn’t appear to know we were coming when he saw 2 bus loads of tourists descending on him but coped very well.  The coffee here is really nice and only €1 a cup. They don’t know what cappuccino is but a latte is the same. The area was very rural with a lovely garden behind the cafe.

One of the very good exhibits

 

 

 

Eventually we arrived at Lajes and were taken to visit the whale museum. The group were shown into a video room to watch a video of how the whales used to be caught. I didn’t want to watch anything like that and chose not to watch it. I’m glad I didn’t because apparently it was fairly graphic.

The view from our lunch spot

The view across the harbour. Our lunch stop was just to the left of the photo

 

 

After the museum visit the ‘lunch included’ coach gathered its group and left for a restaurant outside the town. Bill and I took our picnic and climbed up to an old fort for a wonderful view looking down on the harbour while we ate our lunch and had time to explore the pretty village.

The streets of the old town were very narrow

 

 

 

Very pretty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love all the shutters

Lake in the hills

 

 

Our coach joined the other one as we set off over the hill to the northern side of the island. A brief stop by a lake gave us some lovely photos but the mist was coming in so we moved on.  The coach continued over the hill and stopped again before descending to Sao Roque do Pico for more photos.

Very beautiful island

A natural pool in among the rocks

 

 

We stopped at a natural swimming pool among the rocks. Unfortunately no one had brought any swimmers with them although a couple of people jumped in in their underwear – no not me!

Stunning coastline

 

 

 

Amazing rocks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting arch

 

 

 

 

The last stop was a little village with more splendid views.  You used to be able to walk across this natural arch but it’s breaking up now so we viewed from afar.

 

 

Bill bought a bottle of the brandy. The last bottle on the right hand side of the top shelf.

 

 

There was a little distillery there and we were offered a free tasting. Bill couldn’t resist the old 51% proof Brandy and bought a bottle. It was back on the ferry and then back to our boats before another quick change in time for a delicious dinner in Praia do Almoxarife, a coach ride across the hill.

 

Back on the coach

James, Ken and Bil

Friday was allocated to whale trips but we didn’t go although the ones that did had some excellent sightings. I went along to Peter Café sport for a tour of Jose’s Scrimshaw museum with Jose himself giving the tour. He has an excellent collection which was brought to life so much better for knowing the history of it all. I was fascinated and spent an hour peering into the many glass cases.  That evening everyone dressed ‘smart casual’ for the final dinner and prize giving. It was amazing how everyone scrubbed up and looked wonderful in their smart clothes. We shared a table with Ken and Eiloo of Antaras II and James and Patti of LaAdventura. Ken won a prize for being the first single hander to arrive,. Speeches were made and prizes handed out before a wonderful buffet dinner was served.

Bill and I feel so fortunate to have been in the Azores the same time as the OCC rally. Let’s hope it isn’t 100 years before the next one.

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