17. October 2012 · 2 comments · Categories: Posts

Well we made it….safe and sound.

Only one things broke..the bulge pump, but we had a manual pump to back it up.  Just had to remember to pump it for a bit each day.  Opps.


And the self steering started to make funny noises.  One night shift I was sure that whales were calling out in the dark.  Then I realised that it was the steering system.  All the cables run through the bulk heads (walls).  I will need to get in there, lubricate it and check for wear and loose fittings.


After I did the blog the winds we prayed for kicked in.  Only problem was I forgot to ask for it to be ‘in a favourable direction’.  Right on the nose, like the winds were coming straight from Porto Santo.  So we had to tack (move the sails to either side) all the way in.


Despite this we made great headway through the night and entered the harbour at 12:30 in the afternoon.  We have tied off a buoy between the tiny Marina and the ferry mooring.


It was surprising how long we saw the island coming.  I could make out it’s outline at about 1 am against the night sky.  The flat coast of France and the mist covered cliffs of Spain all only appeared to us in the last few miles.  But not the Madeiran Archipelago.  Ancient volcanoes the islands suddenly rise up into the clouds with steep eroding banks.



The harbour is on the south coast which is one enormous long beach.  I went for a run on it when we arrived, after checking in with port authorities first.   I need to slip this in here…do not attempt to make a port authority representative smile….just take my word for it.


We tried to find out about all the different charges and if you could anchor outside the harbour for free.  So far it seems that it is 40 euros to tie to the pontoon and 21 euros to take a buoy in the harbour or anchor outside the harbour.  None are cheap.  50 euros return to take the ferry to the main island, Madeira, and there are no spaces free in the main city marina.


We are just going to take it easy for the rest of today and make plans tomorrow.

For now I think I will watch the humans have a beer and the water proofs airing in the wind.


0 nm to go!

15. October 2012 · 1 comment · Categories: Posts

That is it!

I want off this boat! Last night the humans destroyed the trip for me.

I have put up with stormy seas, having to relieve myself on the boat. Only a 44 foot boat to run down and no place to get comfortable when it really gets rolly. But last night was the last straw. They throw my favorite doughnut tuggy toy over board. That is right. They have no respect for my positions and just carelessly throw it over the side of the boat. I heard that, at sea, personality conflicts can arise, but this is just disrespect. I get no respect, no respect.

It is day 5 with these two humans. They did warn me that if the winds were light we were going to go no where fast, but I did not expect it to take this long. We are about 50 nm out from Porto Santo. They are too cheap to turn the engine on so we waddle along at 2-4 nm towards are destination. Besides the ‘toy gate’ incident last night, I guess it has not been so bad today.

In fact last night, once I had settled down to the idea that my toy was actually gone, it was a beautiful starry night. There was no moon so the stars appeared even brighter and made light streaks across the flat rolls of the ocean swell. The milky way was the brightest. It was like a heavenly ‘yellow brick road’ that ran from main land Portugal over our heads and ended in Madeira.

No improvement in the winds in the morning.



The humans just sun bathed and read their books. With the lighter winds the waves finally settled. The boat now gently rose up and down with the long ocean swell. A movement that was easier to live and work with on the boat.

As evening and sun set approaches it does not look like the winds will improve, so it will be tomorrow before we see land. That is fine with us, as we would rather make a day light approach to the small island, off the north east of Madeira, called Porto Santo.

We feel we have finally done an ‘Ocean Passage’ even though it was only 6 days. We have left the mainland behind and will only be making land fall at islands for the next year or two. It is really starting to sink in that we are going to make it across the Atlantic eventually.

Bye for now. 51.2 nm to go before I get a run on the beach!

15. October 2012 · Comments Off on Passage Day 4: Cascais (Portugal) to Porto Santo (Arquipelago de Madeira) · Categories: Posts

Well we go our wish for winds in spades last night.

Just as the sun was setting the sky filled with dark clouds and the winds started to build. We decided to drop the main sail and ride it out on just the fore sail poled out. It was a wise decision for the night.

The winds built and we were soon flying along at a respectable, but stable, speed. Too bad that the waves came with it. They were breaking on our stern quarter and tossing our little ship about.

I could not get settled, as the rolling motion was tossing me about. I am thinking of having Velcro surgically implanted on my sides so I can stay stuck in place on the cockpit seats. I could not decide wether to be tossed about with the crashing waves in the cockpit or with the crashing pots and pans down below with the human on the sea berth. Between the noise and me not settling, they may have had a bad nights sleep.

The winds died in the morning light and the waves settled enough for me to have a stable deck for my ‘morning constitution’. Luckly I had my ‘evening constitution’ just before the wind and waves came last night. I become grouchy and frustrated if I am not regular! The rolling calmed down enough for the humans to have a shower and dry off in the afternoon sun light.

They found baby squid had washed up on the deck with the waves last night. No wonder they are so effective as lures. We did not do any fishing today as the humans were tired and wanted to have some naps undisturbed. Besides the freezer is getting full. Not that I do not mind helping them eat the leftovers. We all had tuna tar tar today, although the humans had theirs with salad….the one thing I don’t like.

The winds are meant to be light for the next two days, but they have improved this evening and we are back up to 4-5 knots, but with the winds comes the waves. I suspect it will be a rolly night again.

134 nm to go! Looking forward to seeing Porto Santo and a beach to run along.

15. October 2012 · Comments Off on Passage Day 3: Cascais (Portugal) to Porto Santo (Arquipelago de Madeira) · Categories: Posts

Well things have improved since the last we spoke.

The waves calmed down and the winds finally kicked in. Light winds though. We have spent the day traveling not much faster then 2-3 knots. If we could walk on water, we might have travelled faster then the boat!

It gave me a chance to have a good long afternoon nap and a calm platform to ‘relieve myself’ comfortably. It is also calm enough for me to have a really good game of fetch.

Last night the cloud cover broke to reval all the stars in their illustrious glory. It was a lonely back ground to Bramstokers Dracula. It is the only book recording the humans brought and they are regretting they did not bring more to keep them awake on the lonely night shifts.

This morning was a beautiful sun set that lead into a sunny day. It is remarkable how blue the water appears now. I had always thought that the brighter blue colours where a reflection of light off the sandy bottom. But with the bottom more then 4000 meters below, I am obviously mistaken.

In the calmer weather the humans got the fuel tanks topped up with the reserve fuel they brought and made some drinking water with their little water maker. The winds are meant really increase through the night and we are already feeling an increase in the swell

This has not effected our fishing luck. The humans made another ‘lucky lure’ from the pattern discussed on the earlier blog and now that one has caught a tuna. The little 2 pounder is weighting to be filleted.

We have everything set for a few days of higher winds. Hopefully it will help us move further to our destination. 246 nm to go.

12. October 2012 · Comments Off on Passage Day 2: Cascais (Portugal) to Porto Santo ( Aquipelago de Madeira) · Categories: Posts

Well, there are good days and bad days.

Today started well. The winds really picked up in the ‘wee hours’ hours in the morning and we were racing along. We got some rain showers, but they cleared with dawn.

The winds eased a bit and the sun came out to shine. The humans got the rods back out and caught a juvenile Dorado fish. At 2lbs’ the little fish was our first ‘tropical’ fish. It was a lovely irracadescent silver with yellow stripes and frilly long black dorsal fin. I wait patiently for sushimi during the filleting phase.

No fish for dinner tonight though. The winds died down and the waves started batting the boat about. One pot wonder time! We are all adjusting to sleeping in short shifts, which leave us a little tired at the moment.

I doubt that the heavy waves on the beam (that’s the side) are going to decrease. I think they are known to be like this in the area of sea, so all we can hope is that the winds kick back in so we can start sailing better through it. At the moment we are ‘wallowing’ and the sails are backing in the light airs. Not fun.

Now I know why other peoples blogs always list the number of miles left to travel. 334 miles to go!