Whale watching on our way North

fin whale comp

Last week was the first in our milebuilding passages on our route north from Lanzarote to Bodo in northern Norway.

The best way to describe the trip is with quotes from our guest book

‘what a brilliant passage voyage.  Sun shining every day, full moon and stars to brighten our two nights at sea and fantastic sailing from start to finish.  The marine life really sp0iled us, especially the close sightings of whales.’

‘Fantastic trip – whales, dolphins, turtles.  Great winds,  We  learned a lot and were very well looked after.’

Great weather and sailing on my first passage – memorable moments:  Whale spotting at 10 metres, yummy food, caring hosts.’

This really was a great trip between Lanzarote and Madeira, with fair wind and sunshine allowing us to also spend a night in Puerto Calero, a night at anchor in Baia de Abra and another night in Porto Santo.  It was also a privilege to have such a close up view of nature.  Approaching Puerto Calero on our first day we saw about 15 whales feeding in the bay – there were whale spouts everywhere as well as dolphins and birds after the fish.  The expert in Puerto Calero let us know that they were Brydes whales and they had been in the bay feeding from 0900 until 1800!  Locals were gathered on the breakwater with binoculars to watch the whales whilst we had the privelege of sailing amongst them.

We thought we would not be able to better that but as we approached Madeira there was a whoosh of air and a whale surfaced within 10m of the bow of the boat.   Turned out there was not one but two of them, and they each surfaced another 3 times, showing us all of their backs, their fins and their white bellies.  After a long look in the whale book we reckon that they were Fin Whales – the second largest living mammal, WOW.

We somehow seem to be on the migration path and hope to see more as we continue our route north next week from Madeira to the Azores.

International Womens Day

teams sca 2 of compressed

Team SCA, in training in Lanzarote

It was International Womens Day on the 8th March, so how fitting that our crew was made up of 6 women and 2 men, and we were able to watch Team SCA, the all womens entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, in training.

The wind was too strong with 5 m swells for us to achieve our circumnavigation of the island, but we did sail every day with plenty of thrills and we were regularly accompanied by lots of dolphins.

swimmers in quemada
Swimmers off the beach in Playa Quemada, a bit chilly for some!
dolphins on the bow
Dolphins playing on the bow
watching dolphins at the bow
Enjoying the sunshine
first time on the helm
First time at the helm
the yellow submarine
and even a yellow submarine

This was our last week of Lanzarote sun, now we are ready for our series of passages which will take us via Madeira, Azores, Plymouth and Oban before we arrive in Norway for the summer.  As always these milebuilders sell really well and all of the above are full except for 2 spaces on the North to Norway in May.

Just a few jobs to do before we go.  Up the mast for a quick rig check, full check of all the deck gear, some food prep to go in the freezer and ‘dig out the thermals’!

 

 

Lanzarote – popular training base for Volvo Ocean Race teams

team brunel comp

This winter we have become used to seeing the pink boats of SCA and the all girls team training here in Lanzarote.  They are based in Puerto Calero and we have watched them go out training whenever we have been in that marina for a night. Yesterday another Volvo Ocean Race entry arrived in Marina Rubicon, the Dutch team Brunei, and have started training for the race which is due to start in Alicante in October.  We look forward to seeing them on the water next week.

sca sailing

We come here every year because Lanzarote is an easy flight from UK and provides the opportunity to experience proper ‘ocean sailing’ for short periods of time.   It is usually warm and sunny, with nearly guaranteed wind, although there is always a ground swell.  Unlike these hardened sailors on the Volvo Ocean Race who are used to being at sea for a long time, we  find that 4 or 5 hours out on the water is enough.  This fits perfectly with our route which is to sail from Marina Rubicon to Puerto Calero to Arrecife (and the new marina) Graciosa and back to Papagayo.  We beat up the east side of the island and reach down the west side later in the week.

Our guests arrive tomorrow for our last Lanzarote week of the spring season.  Next week  we start following the sun north to Norway for the summer but we will be returning to Lanzarote for Christmas 2014,  New Year 2014/15 and then Spring 2015.  The dates are not on our website yet but will be shortly.  Why not sign up for our newsletter if you would like these dates as soon as they are available.

Last week there was plenty of wind for us to deal with here in Lanzarote and this is what our guests had to say:

All of the fun and none of the responsibility.  So very enjoyable and an experience I have always wanted.  The Atlantic swell was soemwhat of a surprise having always sailed in sheltered waters but with it came dolphins, a turtle and a pilot whale. 

Definitely the best way to see Lanzarote, we both loved it.

An excellent opportunity to experience bigger boat sailing in bigger seas