Hindsight & Foresight

I love Atlantic Europe.  The people, the cultures, the food, everything.  The fact that these are all very old boating

My approximate route. Most of the little black dots are stops

communities, ties them together even more than language, though all of them do have Celtic ties and culture.

For a fascinating discussion of genetics and human migrations in Europe and western Asia for the last 50, 000 years, check out:

http://www.eupedia.com/europe/maps_Y-DNA_haplogroups.shtml

So, my thoughts return to two issues:

  • Should I have stayed in northern Europe for another year?
  • The route I ended up taking between Galicia in the Northwest corner of Spain and the Canaries.

First the additional year. I love Ireland, the people, even the weather (you never got bored). But Ireland itself is not really cruising country. Getting up and down the coasts can be a bitch, at best.  I did love A Coruna though. Why not there?  That was Plan B after all.

Then Schengen reared its ugly head.  For those of you who still don’t know what “Schengen” is, it was the city in Luxembourg in which almost all the countries of Europe (nothing to do with E.U.) decided to have open borders in 1989.  Open borders meant just that. Prior to 1991 or whenever it went into effect, one had to stop at each and every frontier and show passport. On my many drives from the Netherlands to Italy, that meant 3 border crossings. But they were pretty quick (nothing like the USA-Canada boondoggle). They never even stamped your passport.  While the rule was, you were allowed in 90 days in each country, no one cared and as I said, no one stamped passports other than at airports and not even then many times.

But with Schengen and the open borders, they decided they still had to control immigration.  Therefore non E.U. people could only stay 90 days out of every 180 days.  So, before you could move from country to country every 90 days a stay within the rules, now, you had to leave the continent or go to the U.K. or Ireland.  That’s why Dauntless was in Waterford.

Ultimately, I realized that to keep Dauntless in A Coruna for the winter would not be feasible, since I could no longer go to NYC for 3 months and then return.

By the way. So, Schengen was written to keep people from overstaying, yet today the E.U. gets about 200,000 people a month from Africa and the Middle East.

But they got Dauntless out so all is OOOKKK.

And another aside.  While those morons in Washington debate who to let in.  NO ONE, Dems or Republicans, talks about we have no system to track who leaves.  Wouldn’t you think if we really cared, the first thing would be using one of the billion computers the government has to track people as they leave and compare that list to who came in.   What a clown show!

Now, sorry for the diatribe.  My route which took me down the coast of Portugal and around the corner to Gibraltar.  I didn’t even see the Gibraltar Apes.

I suppose the real issue here is that we were really beaten up almost the entire trip from Porto, Portugal all the way to the Canaries.  By stopping in Gibraltar, I added about another 360 miles to our trip.

I actually had a sailor in France tell me that I should go direct to the Canaries from Vigo in NW Spain. But I wanted to see Portugal and I am glad I did.

The route I should have taken

But southern Spain and Morocco, ended up being exactly what I expected, hot, dry and dry and hot.

I could have spent those weeks in the Canaries.  The Canaries reminded me of everything I liked about Galicia. Great people, food and a boating culture.

Oh well, I’ll have to go back.

 

 

2016 Retrospective

Looking for something else, I came across my 2015 Post Mortem of my First Atlantic Passage.  It’s fascinating.  Makes me feel I should write another one for this passage.  I will, but also think I would like to do a compare & contrast, a great teacher’s tool.

But this is not that.  This is more about the how and why I went the way we went.  In thinking about this post, I’ve been thinking a lot about this in the past couple weeks.  But even now, I go back and forth, would I or would I? That is the question.

Rainbow of Ho Chi Minh City

Not my usual rainbow and sunset picture, but appropriate none the less.  Being in Saigon gives me the opportunity to think, reflect and plan for the future.

Being away from Dauntless, longer than originally planned, but in fact, it’s worked out for the best.  When I am on Dauntless, short term takes precedence.

As I have reflected on the events of 2016.  I found myself racing through some places I really loved, like Galicia; while staying months in places I really didn’t, like Southern Spain, Morocco.

It was a tumultuous year, in every aspect.  The year started with Dauntless was in the capable hands of the Kehoe Boys in New Ross, Ireland, another place I miss very much.  I, in the meantime, was in NY and then Julie and I took a trip to Galicia in mid-February to see if we could keep Dauntless in A Coruna or Vigo, for the winter 2016-17.  We both loved Galicia as much as we thought we would.  Thus, Plan A to return to North America became Plan B.

Plan B: Ireland, Scotland for the summer, then France in August and Galicia by mid-September for the winter. Now, the Schengen three-month rule really puts a crimp on spending time (and money) in Europe for non-E.U. cruisers, but I’d spend the off times in NY and USA.

Then Life Happened and the Plan Changed, again.

Even before leaving NYC at the end of March I found myself going back to Plan A, getting Dauntless back to the New World.

So far, so good.  Plan A would get me to Asia sooner rather than later.  But I did not think about how much I liked the cruising in Ireland, Scotland, Atlantic France (Brittany) and Spain (Galicia).

The route from Ireland to Panama is dictated by climate and currents.  Not a lot of options, but I’m not sure I really thought about the choices I did have well enough.

And that will be the topic of my next post.

 

 

Q & A After the Atlantic Crossing

My Friend Alfa Mike asked the following, so I thought I would share with everyone:

Richard on Dauntless in Martinique, La Marin
Richard on Dauntless in Martinique, La Marin

>Do they speak a lot of English Language in Martinique or is it all French?

The Moon & Venus watch over us on our last nights
The Moon & Venus watch over us on our last nights
Until the very end, a story sea
Until the very end, a story sea
A little mishap while changing the oil just after arrival
A little mishap while changing the oil just after arrival
Mountain on Martinique
Mountain on Martinique
Driving thru the forest
Driving thru the forest
More Rainforest
More Rainforest
Even made it to the Kadey Krogen page
Even made it to the Kadey Krogen page
La Marin Marina
La Marin Marina
  • some English, once in a while, you need to know some basic French.

> What have you seen & experienced there?
This past weekend, we drove up north to see rain forest and volcano.  Inactive of course, so not much to see.
> What have you done in the boat while there.?  Repairs, upgrades?

at this point, there is still much to do.  Not helped that yesterday I spent all day to do a 1 hour job.  I hate working with wood, like the interior.

  • Working on electric in fwd bilge, adding small bilge pump.
  • Rewiring holding tank switch so that it can’t get turned on accidentally.
  • Micah patched dingy.
  • Rerigged paravane pole.
    • One pole needs to be replaced. Probably do that in Mexico or So Cal.
    • Also, rigged a preventer so windward pole will not go vertical when boat rolls heavily to lee side.
  • Finally finished 3rd 20# bottle of propane yesterday.  Those 3 bottles were filled in Tallinn in July 2015. That’s 7000 miles ago.  Luckily have two extra bottles that a sailboat boat gave me in northern France last summer as he was not going back to USA. I have not been able to get propane since Estonia last year, but am told I can in St Lucia.  But I can wait till So Cal possibly.
  • Must still replace 2 hydraulic hoses and bleed system for AP and helm steering.
  • Complete oil change, i.e. fill engine with oil.
  • We’ll fuel again in St. Lucia, only to half full about 250 gal
  • Repair bracket for wx instruments on mast, the following winds (when we were stopped for Hydraulic line) managed to wrap paravane line around it and mangled it, because I was so happy to get one problems solved, I created another one.
  • Winds also broke stern flag pole. Same happened to Sweden sailboat docked next to us.
  • All 5 fuel filters are changed (2 Racors, 2 engine mounted and fuel polish)
  • Replacing all screws in rub rail is proving to be a real PIA. As they are rusted and not coming out. These are Inox screws I bought in Ireland and again in Portugal. Big f…ing mistake.
  • General clean up, still finding flying fish on fly bridge (where else would they be 🙂
  • Spent $200 on stainless steel screws.
  • Another $200 on oil and ATF for rudder steering
  • $200 on rental car for 3 days
    Yes, everything is in increments of $200.
  • Finally took Icom VHF radio to shop, as my friend Pat in Waterford told me to do last year. It’s unfixable it seems. So, will take VHF radio from fly bridge and install in pilot house.
  • Need to still upload a billion pictures to http://dauntless.smugmug.com/

> How has the weather been?

  • Is it Humid? Hot, a bit muggy, yesterday was first day without wind, so then the boat really heats up.Did I tell you I don’t like hot weather?  Thus the 12 years in Alaska and two years with Dauntless in Northern Europe and now returning to first Southeast Alaska and then Japan & S. Korea.

>Now after all is said and done, In hindsight what would I have done differently?

  • In terms of places to go or not, it’s hard to say. Only having spent time in southern Spain and Morocco can I say that I would not have missed it.  But had I not gone, how would I know that?  It would have better financially and sailing wise to go direct from the bottom of Portugal to Las Palmas on Grand Canaria.
  • Should have spent some hard-earned money 3 years ago, to be able to use 230v, 50hz shore power to run ACs. I did try to get them to run off inverter, but the inverter produces a square sine wave and both the Splendid washer/dryer and the AC’s will not run on that.

I could have tried the transformer I use not for the water heater.  It would supply 120v, but 50hz to AC.  That swill probably work. But at this point, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort.  Back in Southern Spain and Portugal when I was dying of the heat, I should have thought of that.

Yes, I could always run generator, by the 1 gal/hour at $5/gal fuel. Now, 8 hours is only $40 per day, but adding that to expensive marina at $55/day, that’s close to my desired cap of $100 per day.

  • Speaking of money. My average daily cost for all living and boat expenses is about $109 per day.  Though I still have yet to update the last month, I do not think it will change significantly.  This is also a few dollars below the previous year.  So, all in all, the expenses are about what I expect.  The proportion is also the same, 25% for each:
    • Fuel & oils
    • Marinas & docks
    • Food, groceries & eating out
    • , like cell phone, transportation, cars, trains, planes and automobiles.

> How do you like it in Martinique?

  • Love it. People, food could not be better. I am so lucky that I was told to head here when it became clear that I could m=not make the southing I needed to get to Barbados.  It was only a 20° more southerly course, but with the large seas we had, it was not worth being beaten up.
  • In hindsight, Martinique is a much nicer place to clear in, eat and drink than probably anyplace in the Caribbean. Martinique is a Department (like a State) of France.  Thus, it feels like France because it is France.  It’s not the bureaucratic mess that Portugal, southern Spain and Morocco are.
  • FYI in terms of how they treat boaters:
    • Northern Spain, Galicia is just like northern Europe and France, as are the Cana.ries.
    • Southern Spain and Portugal were totally different, and not in a positive way.
    • I was told that it’s because of the Arab penchant for bureaucracy.

> How long do you plan to stay?

  • until sometime next week. Then heading south, a bit before heading west to the ABC’s

> Any comments you would like to make about the trip you just completed now that your more rested up?

  • Very glad I don’t have to do it again for another 18 months

 

 

What Happened to Me?

Yikes, looking at this Blog, I’m still in Rota, Spain.

Like New -  Again
Like New – Again
wp-1478112500548.jpg
Like New- Again

That seems like eons ago!

So, while Micah and my friend Larry explore Morocco, I will take this opportunity get caught up.

Bouncing around at anchor
Bouncing around at anchor

Maybe my lack of writing has been a function of the cruising conditions.

Getting back to Dauntless after a month the sigh of relief was probably audible across the Atlantic. Her month on the hard went perfectly.  She had shore power with no interruptions the entire time (I have thermometers for fridge and freezer, which records max and min temps).

The gouge I had put into the side had been repaired

Our first spot to anchor heading into the Strait.
Our first spot to anchor heading into the Strait.

and painted.  The anti-foul undercoat was re-applied over those sections that the straps of the travel lift had lifted off when being splashed in Ireland.

So, for less than $200 she was back in the water looking like new again.

All in all, a great relief.

But now, it was time to get underway and make some miles.

Second Anchorage.  Easily found thanks to Active Captain
Second Anchorage. Easily found thanks to Active Captain
wp-1479366484200.jpg
Busy avoiding ships

And they turned out to be tough miles. The 87 miles from Rota to Gibraltar had to be broken into three different segments. Each time the winds picked up on our bow and once they reach 15+ knots, it makes the situation pretty crappy.

Nautical miles Time Hr:Min Average Speed (KTS) Reason for Stop
37 7:35 5.5 Winds on the nose, continued to increase
29 5:05 5.6 Same as above
18 3:30 5.0 Finally, in Gib

 

Our first stop, was a bit of desperation.  Just NW of the lighthouse off Cape Trafalgar, it was not that well protected from the easterly winds, but it was better than burning fuel to go mostly up and down.  We only stayed about 4 hours, but this was enough time for the winds to die down and we got underway again.

This stop also provided another example of how the “police” are about helping, not enforcing. After we were anchored about an hour, a Spanish Civil Guarda (national police) boat sidestepped themselves to within about 100 feet of Dauntless.  I came out to the pilot house door, two guys came out of their boat and yelled over the wind whether I spoke Spanish.  I replied only a little.

They asked, “problem”. I responded, “no, I wait for wind” They waved, said OK Adios and slowly motored off, until their wake would not rock us any more than we are already rocking.

In the more than two years of cruising in Europe. I have always found the maritime authorities were always about help if needed, but not enforcement.

Our next stop, west of the causeway at Tarifa was much better, as the Active Captain description explains.  We were well out of the wave action, so the boat was pretty quiet.  We stopped here at 02:00 and had a much-needed sleep.  Then though I was up by 08:00, the winds were up to, so we just sat and waited.  Finally, by early afternoon, the winds died down and we took off, now only 18 miles from The Rock.

The Rock from across the Bay
The Rock from across the Bay

The last of our challenges, the 6 miles crossing the Gibraltar Bay.  There are two areas for large ships to anchor on the west and east sides of the bay.  We went through these areas pretty close to the anchored behemoths because it reduced our exposure to the super-fast ferries from the Ceuta on the African coast to Algeciras, the Spanish port just north of Gibraltar.

Those ferries, once spotted would be 3 or 4 miles away, but right on you within minutes.  When we left Gibraltar a few days later, they would give us quite a thrill as three of them raced across the Straits seemingly aimed right at us.

Dauntless in Gibralter
Dauntless in Gibralter

Getting My Head Back in the Game

is easier said than done.  These past three weeks has been a nice respite from the duty and responsibilities of Master and Commander of Dauntless.nettlesboxes

The last 10 days in Italy, at the house of my friends for 40 years, eating, drinking, sleeping, eating, drinking, sleeping, ad infinitum, lulls one in into a stupor sweeter than any chemically induced experiment.

It’s a good life and it’s obvious why it has attracted me all these years.  But it’s also just as obvious, even more so, that I have structured my life in such a way that when I am in Italy, I am truly on vacation.  Sure I am still like the oldest son of the family, but other than some chauffeuring duties, which I enjoy immensely, it’s just eat, drink Prosecco, nap, from morning to late night.

But all good things must come to an and, so I find myself stealing glances at the Atlantic charts.  And in that incessant way that can be both annoying and gratifying, clicking on strange links.

Thus, I found this link: http://www.opc.ncep.noaa.gov/Loops/SeaNettles/prob/SeaNettles.shtml

Indirectly it also answers my questions that I had asked so many in Europe, about the seemingly overabundance of jelly fish in both the eastern Baltic and now also this year in the rivers of Lisbon in particular.  Seems to be related to salinity.  Oh, now I remember that the Baltic is only half as salty as the ocean.  Probably much like the Chesapeake.

In 7 days, we push off from the European Continent and head for darkest Africa, OK, only Morocco, not so dark, in fact, pretty f…ing bright, but allow me some editorial license.

In less than 30 days, we then push off of Africa for the Caribbean. No embellishment needed here.

Ok, got to go, I have a delicacy or two to snack on.

A Cornucopia of delicacies
A Cornucopia of delicacies
dessert
dessert – Chestnuts
A Favorite Spot
A Favorite Spot
A Great Spot of Italian snacks
A Great Spot of Italian Snacks at Affordable Prices
Crostini di Prosuito
Crostini di Prosciutto
Crostini di Lardo
Crostini di Lardo
My Morning Snack
A Morning Snack

 

Go West, Young Man, Go West

OK, I’m not so young anymore; well at least not physically.

The Atlantic Analysis for 26 September 2016
The Atlantic Analysis for 26 September 2016

Yesterday, I decided to tackle the laundry basket of papers, books, magazines and miscellaneous stuff that should have been thrown away last year.  OK, actually two laundry baskets, plus a few smaller bins.

My bicycle was also part of the melee, the last time I rode it was in Sweden, last September.  I really liked Sweden.  If I get back to Northern Europe, it will certainly be because Sweden has much of the best cruising grounds in Northern Europe.

Poland intrigues me also, but not for the cruising, but for the people and food. Both wonderfully warm and tasty.

But, now my vision is looking west. And there will be a westward component for a long time to come. So while Sweden is only 2,000 miles away, I’ll probably put 20 times those miles before I get back there.

One of my current homepages is the Atlantic Analysis from NOAA’s Ocean Prediction Center. I don’t spend a lot of time with it, but I do like to check it out every time I am connected to the WWW.

The current map shows the large high pressure area that pretty much lives over the eastern Atlantic. That observation at 29N, 16W is the Canaries.  There will be a similar pattern when we finally leave in late November and I should be able to follow that 1020mb isobar for much of the way all the way to Barbados. The Kadey Krogen was born for following seas.  She must like her behind being pushed along.

Well the bicycle is attached to the wall as it was two years ago on the east bound passage.  Many of the papers have been sorted and put or thrown away.

I’m doing this now because I’ll be Missing in Action (MIA) for the month of October. I’ll be in the USA and Italy, so Dauntless needs to be ready in early November.  Leaving the boat for a month in southern Spain is not inexpensive.  At this point it looks like my best option is to pull her out of the water and let her be on the hard for 30 days.  I had previously not considered this option, but a little mishap in docking a couple weeks ago, made this option very attractive.

Yes, I have a 5-foot scar down the side of the new painted hull.  F…ing annoying.

Dauntless is Wounded
Dauntless is Wounded

I hardly spoke to myself for days!

Just writing about it is annoying so, that’s all for now folks.

 

 

 

Cruising Costs for the First 112 Days

It’s the 112th day since our cruise started May 29th.

The Full Moon Rises Behind Dauntless
The Full Moon Rises Behind Dauntless

Dauntless now sits easily in the Puerto Deportivo de Rota. Her new grey paint scheme fits in well being only a mile SE of the big naval base in Rota, Spain.

Rota Lighthouse
Rota Lighthouse

We’ll be in this area, between Rota and Gibraltar for the next month, so this is a good opportunity to get my data updated and I’d thought I’d share with you our cruising costs so far this season.

So far, compared to last year, I’m spending about $20 less per day.  Overall costs have been about $107 per day, that’s $27 less than last year and almost all of that savings are due to the lower fuel costs. I was able to fill Dauntless with fuel in Ireland at $2.30 per gallon.  Upon my return from Scotland in June, I was able to top up the tanks again.

I should be able to get reasonably priced fuel in Gibraltar, but when I top up the tanks in the Canaries, it will be $5 per gallon fuel.  I should only need a few hundred gallons; however, the Caribbean won’t be cheap either.

Total guest contributions to expenses have been about 11%; that’s less than last year.

Overall, I am pleased that expenses are staying just below my planned budget.  I need to get more proactive about Sponsorships; but that’s another story.

Dauntless will be pretty much stationary until the end of October, as I am going to NY during the first two weeks.  Since it will be my last opportunity until spring to visit some friends in Europe, I will go to Italy during the last two weeks of October before returning to D.

 

 

 

 

Vila Franca de Xira

Dauntless Finds a Real Town

A Real Anchor
A Real Anchor

Portugal has been a mixed bag so far.  Wonderful, warm people, always trying to help, who sound like they are speaking Russian to my English ear.

The Market
The Market

But the two largest cities, Lisbon and Porto, coupled with the location of the marinas in those cities has been a disappointment.  I know I should know better.  My mantra over the years to anyone who will listen is to always avoid the large cities of Europe if your goal is to really see the culture and people of any given country.

Doesn’t matter if you are in Ireland or Italy,

The Market
The Market

Dublin and Rome are more about the tourists and their expectations than the locals.  This became even more evident last year in the Baltic.  I saw the same tourists in Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Tallinn.  Between Ryan Air and the high speed ferries, they transport the same group from city to city.  And the effect is that the food and expectations in those places start to look more and more the same.wp-1472724194208.jpg

Much like the street fairs of NYC.  They used to be a celebration of the neighborhood in which they were located: Italian in Little Italy, Greek in Astoria, Polish in Greenpoint, etc.   But about 20 years ago, the City in a move to further commercialize, tax and regulate, increased the number.

Looked good on paper to the politician’s, wp-1472724195010.jpgprobably even looked good to the clueless who just arrived in the City from the hinterland, but to New Yorker’s, the damage was done.  We now have the exact same vendors every week in different parts of the City.  New York, known as a city of neighborhoods, is becoming a city of Blahness.  Every place you look looks the same.

OK, moving on.

The Park next to Dauntless
The Park next to Dauntless

The above is why I have not written a blog post in the last week.  Oh, I’ve written plenty of drafts, I’ve started at least four.  But they have all digressed to a point in which even I don’t see the point.

So, ignoring my own advice, since getting to Portugal, Dauntless and I have spent 90% of our time in Porto and Lisbon.  And both marinas have been relatively expensive ($45 per day) and a half dozen miles from the

The train station of Vila Franca de Xira
The train station of Vila Franca de Xira

town’s center. People have been wonderful, especially in Porto, where the marina people made me really feel at home and we managed to make a number of new friends.

Now Porto does have different feel than Lisbon, but still.wp-1472900790670.jpg

So, when I found out about a little marina about 20 miles upriver from Lisbon, I jumped at the chance.  The home of my new found friend Diogo (the star of another blog that’s yet to be published), Vila Franca de Xira, has been a wonderful little spot.

On the river, attached to a little park and only minutes away from town, it’s like being home; and I just got here.

The park
The park
Next to D
Next to D

Numerous cafes, European bars, simple restaurants and an indoor market, full of fish, meat, poultry, vegetables and fruit stalls, it’s the kind of place that makes Europe, Europe.

Very few people speak English, I get by with my few words of Portuguese, a little more Spanish and when desperate some Italian.  The other day, for my main meal, which is early afternoon, when the waiter asked my desire, I just pointed to a nearby table and made the international sign for “everything he is eating and drinking”.  That sign by the way is waving one hand in a big circle, while smiling foolishly and saying, “Si” (yes).

It worked and ended up with my normal 375 ml white wine, a mixed salad (tomatoes, onion and some lettuce, salt, pepper, oil and vinegar) and a half dozen little flat fishes.

I ended with a café and a grappa like drink.

It’s great to finally be in Portugal.

 

.

 

Smoked Out; It’s Time to Get Out of Dodge

Summer weather in western Spain and Portugal has the large high pressure area centered west of the Iberian Peninsula over the Azores. It’s called the Azores High.

A smoke filled Sky
A smoke filled sky

The fair weather allows a lot of sun, heating up the interior of the peninsula and causing the formation of a so called “heat Low”. That is an area of low pressure caused my intense heating of the ground. Hot air rises, air must flow into this area on the surface to replace the air that is rising.  Thus the typical pattern of converging air at the surface, a low [pressure area.

Now, with a Low to the East and a High to the west, we in between are caught in the winds caused by this pressure gradient.  Thus as the day gets hotter, the low gets stronger and the winds therefore must increase.

Baiona, where the Pinto had landfall returning from the New World.
Baiona, where the Pinto had landfall returning from the New World.

These afternoon winds, hot and dry, then make the numerous forest fires now burning pretty much unmanageable.  Last night was the worst here in the last three days since we have been in Baiona.  The winds stayed strong all night, keeping the fires going, thus it was smoky all night.

Rinsed Dauntless off this morning, ash is everywhere.

Now this problem is exacerbated by the fact as told to me in broken Spanish and English that the problem in Spain is most of the fires are purposely set and the fire fighters are on strike.  Thus the government plan seems to be to wait until winter and the rainy season.

Everyone wants to have their picture taken with the Bandera Americana.
A Polish friend in Baiona. Everyone wants to have their picture taken with the Bandera Americana

That works.

So later this afternoon we will pull out and head south to Portugal.  There they have even more fires burning, but I think they are at least trying to put them out.

Winds died down again, so after a few hours we decided to anchor in the harbor of A Guarda. A very small harbor just north of the border.

As we pulled into he very small harbor, a Spanish flagged catamaran suggested we anchor a few hundred feet ahead of him and we did do with less drama than usual.

Of course, the best part of anchoring is being in your cabin, half asleep, when you feel the boat starting to move as the winds picked up. So at midnight, up again, check everything, we have turned around, but had not dragged anchor.

In fact, we’ve never dragged anchor since I got rid of the CQR and replaced it with a 55# Delta.   That’s thanks to Parks (or was it the cat) at Hopkins-Carter in Miami, who convinced me the Delta was as good as any more modern anchor.

We anchored in this small harbor just north of this Catamaran and trawler.
We anchored in this small harbor, A Guarda, just north of this catamaran and trawler.

But being in a dark cabin, felling the boat movement, if even at anchor, it is easy to convince oneself that the boat is heading out to sea or to land at 20 knots.

A Smokey Sunrise
A Smokey Sunrise

Doesn’t matter that Dauntless couldn’t go 20 knots over Niagara Falls.

No, your mind can convince you of anything.

So, seeing all was in order, I went back to bed.

That lasted 10 minutes, until I heard another thump.

Up again, now, I released I had to put the snubber on (when we had anchored the winds were calm).

Though the winds stayed up, the snubber sis it’s job and we pretty much stayed still other than the usual rocking and rolling.  By early morning though the smoke was again obvious, so we pulled out into a very hazy, smoky landscape.

As we turned south to Porto, the Atlantic became almost flat, as the winds once again died down and went northerly at 6 knots.

Tonight, I will tie to a dock; Porto or is it Oporto?

 

 

A Change of Plans Redux

Crossing the Bay of Biscay
Crossing the Bay of Biscay to A Coruna

Eons ago, back in February, when we first visited Galicia, the plan was to stay the winter. Off the beaten track, inexpensive, cool in summer and winter: Ideal.

Then, life happens and the best laid plans of mice and men go astray.

So, plan B was formulated.  For those of you keeping score at home, it was really the original Plan A, but then who’s counting.

Then less than two weeks ago, while in France, an English sailor on a very big, beautiful sailboat, convinced me that to linger too long in the Bay of Biscay or even in Galicia or Northern Portugal, was cruising for a bruising.

Now, I may not heed, but I always listen.  And now, having heard the same warnings yet again, I decided this needed to be one of those times I also heeded.

Thus, just last week, I bit the bullet and had to tell my three sets of friends who are coming to meet Dauntless and I over the next two months, and only weeks earlier had bought plane tickets to Spain, that they would have to change those recently bought tickets as Portugal was now the meeting point.

Galicia is out, Portugal is in.

And like most decisions, once made, it was clear to me, it was the right thing to do.

A Coruña is a wonderful town, wonderful food, beautiful people and fantastic wine.

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Vermuteria Martinez in A Coruna

We had two dinners in an absolutely great small restaurant, Vermuteria Martinez, that we had found in February.  A must stop for anyone visiting Galicia.

But I also realized it was time for me to move on.

Now, even the extra stops I had planned over the next week have been nixed.

Sometimes the past is like an anchor.

One of those real expensive anchors with the hoop, plated in gold or platinum (or certainly priced as if they are) and while you hate to part with, having cost a small fortune plus your two middle children, you come to realize that it’s time to get the fire ax and cut that chain before you are dragged down.

Galicia and Spain, so many wonderful memories, in fact, nary a bad one, but now moving to the past. It’s time to move on.

It’s time to get to Portugal.

New places, faces and spaces.

But one cannot leave A Coruña, Galicia and Spain without a bit of melancholy or even “triste”

Thus a little Charles Aznavour seems appropriate at this time.

Charles Aznavour, “Come è Triste Venezia”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dauntless Cruise Plan 2016-17 Europe to Asia

Make the Plan, Do the Plan.

So here is the plan.  The first four months show little change, but after I get back from the USA in mid-October it will be a lot of cruising.

Previously I had decided to stay in Europe this coming year, but life happens and circumstances change. Therefore, In November Dauntless and I will start to head west not to return for many years.

The good news is that while it is a lot of miles, over 17,000, those miles are spread over 17 months.  Since almost 10,000 miles are passage miles, in which we do about 150 miles per day, it means that over 300 days of the 500 we only have to average about 35 miles per day.  Much less than last summer.

So, while nothing is in stone, this is the tentative plan and you know me: Make the Plan, Do the Plan.

The dates are somewhat firm in that to get to Korea in the fall of 2017, I must be able to get to Japan in early August, as I want to cross the Bering and North Pacific in July and early August.

This is a plan that is based on the weather, meaning it’s doable with “normal” weather.  But there are a number of things that must happen:

  • Leaving the Canaries for the Caribbean needs to happen by early December.
  • Arriving in Kodiak, Alaska needs to happen by early July 2017.

Now of course, this depends on a few factors besides just the weather.  I could be kidnapped by some Greek and decide to spend a year in Lesbos with the rest of the refugees.  Some other mechanical or personal issue could overtake plans.  But most likely, the weather does not cooperate.  For this plan to work, I must have favorable weather during the winter and spring along the west coast of Central and North America.

If the winds do not cooperate, then we’ll spend the winter and spring in Central America and Mexico, then come up the west coast to B.C. and S.E. Alaska for the summer and winter over in S.E. Alaska, a fantastically beautiful destination all in itself.

This Plan B is not a terrible outcome and I’m sure many will think it should be Plan A, but I’ll let Fate and the wx gods decide.  At best it’s a 50-50 proposition, or maybe better yet, 49-49-02, the 02% being something unforeseen like the Greeks or something.

Want to join me at any part?  I can always use help, extra hands and advice, and most of all, the company.  We will be doing a lot of miles, over 17,000 but who’s counting!  There will be many opportunities in the next 17 months, but the better times (summer vacation) and destinations, (Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Alaska) will fill before the more tedious parts.

Oh, wait, there are no longer any tedious parts.

In any case, drop me a line and let me know your thoughts, no matter how tenuous.

Richard on Dauntless

I expect to be in the place or nearby by the date in the column to the left.

.E.g. I expect to arrive in the Lesser Antilles on 22 December.

25-May-16 Ireland, Feet Wet
02-Jun-16 Scotland
18-Jun-16 Ireland, Waterford
02-Jul-16 Ireland, Waterford
07-Jul-16 France, Brest
05-Aug-16 Spain, San Sabastian
25-Aug-16 Spain, A Coruna
15-Oct-16 Spain, A Coruna
20-Oct-16 Portugal, North
10-Nov-16 Portugal, Algarve
16-Nov-16 Gibralter
22-Nov-16 Morocco (maybe)
28-Nov-16 Canaries
05-Dec-16 Canaries
22-Dec-16 Lesser Antilles
12-Jan-17 Panama Canal
01-Apr-17 Baja Calif
02-May-17 Southern Cal
20-May-17 Pac NW, Seattle
15-Jun-17 SE Alaska
01-Jul-17 Kodiak
08-Jul-17 Dutch Harbor
16-Jul-17 Attu
25-Jul-17 Japan, Hokkaido
21-Sep-17 Japan, South
12-Oct-17 Japan, South
14-Oct-17 Busan, South Korea
01-Nov-17 Yeosu, S. Korea

Turning the Page

Tonight I turn the page; ending one long chapter and starting a new one.

Spring Comes to the Bronx as I Leave
Spring Comes to the Bronx as I Leave

Spring in Ireland, getting Dauntless ready and her first significant haul out in the last 3 years and 15,000 miles.  In May, she’ll be back in the water, looking like she’s ready for business.

That business will start in Scotland, doing our last exploration in the “north”, before heading south for the rest of the summer.  We’ll have a few weeks in France in time for Bastille Day.

The rest of the summer and they year will be in Spain, Galicia.  Sometime in the new year, 2017, I’ll head further south along Portugal and the south coasts of the Iberian Peninsula.  This will put D and me in the Mediterranean for the first time ever.

I’ll clearly have a lot of time on my hands.  I will be doing far less cruising then in the past, but it will allow me to enjoy the life in Spain, sometime in Portugal and maybe even a few weeks in Morocco.

Spain is one of the most affordable countries in the E.U. and certainly in the Eurozone.  If I am anyplace, it’s probably the ideal place to be for an extended time.

I hope to be in San Sebastian in August, then heading west during the fall to A Coruna for a couple months and Vigo for a few more.

I’m still planning on leaving Europe in October 2017, which will begin a busy extended cruise westward, not finishing until we cross the North Pacific to Japan and Korea.

Want to join me at any part?  I can always use help, extra hands and advice, and most of all, the company.  This year, summer 2016 through fall 2017, it’s less cruising and more just joining Dauntless and I while we stay in some wonderful town, eat some of the best food in Europe and wash it down with some wonderful wine; all at a cost that will make me never want to leaveJ

The best way to contact me is the email link under “contact”.