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Crossing from Sagres/Portugal to Finisterre/Spain, North Atlantic Ocean, July 4th-7th 2008 (by Dagmar)
In the early morning of July 4th, just after sunrise, we left the bay of Sagres. We came here yesterday from Lagos, 13sm further east, and decided to anchor here for the night, as the wind was very strong and would be increasing around the Cape. We had a good night sleep and were ready for all the challenges of the North Atlantic Ocean. The first sunrays were illuminating the cliffs around the southern cape of Portugal, known as Cabo Sao Vicente.
The crew of "de Pelikaan", with Iris, Vincent, River and Roxy had given us in Karpathos/Greece, a goody bag, supposed to be opened, when we would have rounded the cape. So that was the time....here it was, with lots of good treats for us; even a mascara for Soleil and a toe ring for myself.
It was a glorious morning. The sun was up, it was still warm. We knew that this was going to change soon, as we would sail further north up the Atlantic. The cold nights started already. Under our wet weather gear, we were wearing long trousers and two sweaters. A woolen cap we had on, but some nights I even wished for gloves. The fingers often got numb from the wet cold climate at night, making it difficult to handle the sails. Am I getting a chicken now, after all this sailing along the "barefoot route"? But I know Bart feels the same!!!
The wind was not that strong in the beginning, the waves still high from yesterday. There they were again: our companions of our trip, the dolphins. A whole school joined us for a long time, as if they knew that the weather would change and play time would be over, soon.
Rain clouds in the distance joined us all days on this passage. On July 7th, some hours before we had Finisterre in sight, the cloud coverage got really dramatic. And it was my time to be on watch. Clouds like this on the horizon make me nervous. Even after three years of sailing, I fear strong winds, high and steep waves, the unpredictable power of the ocean. I admire Bart, how relaxed he can handle that. That's not me. But nevertheless, I don't want to miss any minute of it. I know it made me stronger in the past years.
We were lucky this time. The bad weather missed us. I could see downpours of rain at the horizon, and then apparently there was nothing left for us.....the sky cleared.
Just after the horizon lit up again, more dolphins joined us. In the late afternoon, when the sun set, the coast of Finisterre came up on the horizon. And we knew that some hours from now, we could be sound asleep on anchor in the harbor. Something to look forward big time,...yeah.....
Finisterre, Spain, July 7th 2008 (by Dagmar)
We anchored in the fishing harbor of Finisterre just after midnight. So we had still 7 hours of great sleep ahead of us. The village of Finisterre makes a living thru tourism, mainly back packers, who are hiking this part of Spain, and fishing.
In the morning we went to town. It was market day. They had some fruits and veggies available, but most of the stalls on the street alongside the coast were selling clothes. Most of the sellers were of African heritage. Lots of leather wear and shoes were on presentation.
Soleil and Bart checked out some huge lobster cages at the harbor. The fisher men were bringing in the catch from last night, proudly showing it to us. Bulks of fisher nets were lining the dock side.
The fisher men brought in their boxes with devils fish, octopus, clams and all sorts of sea creatures I can't name. Each one got weight, labeled with its price and name of the fisher man, and stocked up in boxes.
Soleil wanted to touch the tentacles of an octopus, but wasn't quite sure, if it wouldn't move and grab her.......
We had been in Finisterre already in October 2005, when we started our circumnavigation. We came into the harbor by night as well, after a very bad storm on the Atlantic, were we encountered 55 knots and high seas and got a lot of crashing waves over Luna and heaps of salt water inside. We had hamburgers like in 2005, at the restaurant close to the harbor. They were just as big and tasty, and as good as last time.
Lots of seagulls were lining the shore, waiting for their treat, when the fisher boats came in. After strolling the beach, we got a whole beach collection to take to Luna: a crab leg, 2 crab shells......
As we knew from the weather file, Bart had pulled this morning, the wind conditions would be excellent to continue right away. We would have winds between 15-25 knots from the back, and when this would be changing, then half wind into the Gulf of Biscay towards France, related to a depression north of us. That is the time to go, otherwise you can be very unlucky with head winds.
This is apparently the story of all our sailing in the past 5 weeks, to continue just when we got there.....Never have we been so tired, as we are now. We lack a lot of sleep, due to the strenuous sea passages we had, the intense night watches with just less hours of sleep, due to intense ship traffic around us or constantly changing sails in the night. So after just some hours here in Finisterre, we left the bay in the early afternoon for Cherbourg in France, hoping this would be a smoother run up north.
Crossing the Gulf of Biscay - Cherbourg/France, July 8th-12th 2008 (by Dagmar)
The weather looked great, when we left Finisterre. One hour out there, we suddenly realized that the hose of the gear oil broke, and lost all the pressure. Lucky us, there was not much wind yet and relatively calm seas. So we laid Luna still, and Bart did his best to fix it. We didn't have an original hose to fix the problem. So Bart had to come up with another solution, which looked like a power bandage, hold together by 3 clamps.
Since more then a week it was getting very cold and wet at night. Look at Bart, all covered up against the weather and wind. Still lots of dolphins were joining us, even pilot whales and a pack of minke whales. The following days of the passage the weather changed. Dark clouds were on the horizon, no sun to see, rain in between. We went around Ile de Quessant and passed the English Channel Islands.
Cherbourg, France, July 12th-14th 2008 (by Dagmar)
I can't tell, how relieved we were, when we came into Cherbourg in France. We found a very quiet anchorage behind the long quay, in front of the city. Only some fisher boats were anchored in front of us.
We just relaxed, slept a lot, went once into town to have Kebab at a Turkish food stall in one of the alleys. We pulled a weather file. So we knew, that we could stay at least for two days, before we had to leave towards Belgium and then to Scheveningen in Holland.
Last modified: September 02, 2008