Sunset in Playa de las Tejitas

I just love sunsets, I can't get enough of them. At the moment I am sitting in the cockpit of Cantare philosophizing on life while I am watching the sun disappear behind a mountain making the sky look orange. It is very relaxing and I am almost starting to get tired even though this has been one of the most relaxed days in ages. We are at anchor outside Playa de las Tejitas and we haven't done many knots today. Oh, I forgot, we have actually been working for one hour, we have started polishing all non-corrosive parts of the boat: Cantare is going to shine before we leave Las Palmas for the Caribbean! The evening is going to continue in a relaxed way, dinner and a movie onboard. (However, there is a full moon party in Las Galletas tonight and I, a true party girl, have to admit that is little tempting going there…=)) Have a nice weekend all of you! /First Mate

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Time to leave Las Galletas

Our plan was to sail over to Tenerife, spend a last evening with Marcus, and then leave Tenerife the next day. But plans tend to change, and so they did. We are still here, in Las Galletas on Tenerife. We like this little slow village, not that it’s particularly beautiful or interesting. I think the fact that we don’t feel like exploring this island is the reason we have stayed. Here we have had time to relax, hang out with boat friends and think about the things we need to do before the crossing. Most people here in Las Galletas speak some English, but not at all that much as I am used to on the Canaries. Marcus speaks quite good Spanish and made some friends during his last night here. It’s fantastic how much warmer people get if you speak their language. I tried it myself in the fruit store, although my Spanish is very bad I managed to ask the assistant what the song they played at the moment was called. It’s a song we have heard a lot on the radio lately and a few verses starts with the word Cantare, so we have kind of adopted it as our new boat song. The artist is named Amaia Montero and the song is called Te voy a decir una cosa. Anyway, she started to ask me a few things back and I also found out that she had been at the same place as us on Marcus last night here. Now I’m really keen to learn better Spanish, one way to do it is taking Spanish classes in Cuba. Sofia and my sister seems to think that’s a good idea so I think we will stay on Cuba for more than a month. But plans can change! As days have passed by we have come to the decision that La Gomera is too far away, in the wrong direction, so today (I think) we will leave Las Galletas for the bay called Playa de la Terjita on the south-eastern tip of Tenerife.

The movies are from Marcus last night here, we found a bar that was about to close but let us in and locked the door. Marcus talked with the locals and after a while they started to play for us. It was magical! /The Captain

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Las Galletas, Tenerife

Accompanied by pilot whales we arrived in the little, but very charming fishing village, Las Galletas, the day before yesterday. Our dear Norwegian friends were already here and to our delight also two Swedish boats, whom we have had contact with before, S/Y Mare and Bonnie of Stockholm. Saturday evening we had a little goodbye party for Marcus who left yesterday morning. Little sad to say goodbye to our dear Boat Bunny, however, it was just a little visit, it is still a girl's sailing and now Maria and I need to prepare ourselves and the boat for the big crossing. We are planning on staying here in Las Galletas at least until Wednesday, it is a nice harbor, the sun is shining, the beach is close, our friends are here and the mojitos are cheap. Consequently, there is no reason to leave early! /First Mate

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Exploring La Palma

Exploring La Palma, the most northwesterly island of the Canary Islands, is best done by car so yesterday we rented a car and drove around the island. The volcanic island has plenty to offer. We started the day by driving up the highest mountain, Los Muchachos, 2,423 m. Our rental car, a little citroen had a little hard time getting there but finally, after almost having run out of fuel we arrived above the clouds. It is an amazing feeling walking in mountains in total silence. After lunch at a local restaurant where Marcus and I dared to try the rabbit (which tasted ok, but we think it could have been made little better and then more tasty), we had enough energy to go for a hiking tour in Caldera de Taburienta, a national park in the middle of the island. I am a true hiking fan, I have been hiking a lot back in the days, especially with the Swedish Guide and Scout Association, so hiking in the national park was totally in my taste! The volcanic island La Palma certainly has much to offer, I can gladly recommend you a visit if you are planning a vacction to the Canary Islands. However, it is time for us to leave, our Boat Bunny has got a plane catch. In an hour we are off to the southern parts of Tenerife, namely the little village Las Galletas where we will leave our dear Boat Bunny who is going back home on Sunday. /First Mate

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Santa Cruz de La Palma

We could see the island, La Palma, many hours before we arrived, the highest top is about 2500 m. We prepared ourselves for the acceleration zone that is a known phenomena around the Canaries. The wind can increase with up to 15 knots in a few minutes, therefore we took a reef in the mainsail. But as it got darker around us the wind died away and in the end we had to start the engine when we had about 5 nm left. Inside the breakwater we found a ferry harbour and felt a bit lost. We continued into the inner corner where it according to our pilot book was supposed to be a newly built marina. When we got closer we could make out the gap and the lights showing us the way in. The marina was ghostlike, almost no yachts in a very new and rather big marina surrounded by construction sites. We moored along a reception pontoon and had a cup of tea before we went to bed around 01.00 am. Before breakfast today we went to the marina office, housed in a barrack, and checked in. No problem at all, they didn't say anything about our arrival outside office hours. The price here is alright (14 euros), water, electricity and Wifi is included. This afternoon Marcus and I have been strolling around in the picturesque city centre, of course with a beer stop, while Sofia has been doing some power walking. Santa Cruz de La Palma seems to be a very nice and quiet city without the massive tourist invasion typical for the Canaries. So far no one has tried to speak Swedish with me to lure me into a restaurant and that's a very good sign. / The Captain

New pictures from Madeira and Ilhas Selvagens uploaded, you find them here.

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Sailing again

Position: N 029° 16' W 017° 10'

I love to turn off the engine and hear the sound of the wind and the waves as Cantare starts to move forward due to the pressure in the sails. It's a great feeling, and it's even better when the sun is shining and the water is deep blue. Yesterday the wind was excellent, about 7 m/s from the north. This morning it was a bit weak but we kept the sails up, settled not to use the engine, it paid off, the wind has now increased again and we are doing good speed towards Santa Cruz, capital of La Palma. We will probably be there sometime tonight or early tomorrow. The harbour should be easy to enter during the night so we will go in whatever time it is. Might get some disapproval from the authorities though, they like yachts to enter during office time, at least according to the pilot book. Let's see what it's like in reality. Yesterday evening we caught another mini tuna, he was beautiful, he's in the fridge right now and I have been planning what do with him the whole morning. But I would like to get one more before I start making dinner, one is not enough for the three of us. Sadly my fishing rod's reel is not working correctly, but I have solved the problem temporarily. Maybe I'll send the reel to Sweden with Marcus to get it fixed, it was a birthday present from my sister and her boyfriend so it's almost new and should be working. When we get to the Canaries it's time to fix all those small things that's not working. On Thursday it's no more than a month left until we depart Las Palmas for the big Atlantic crossing. Exciting and a bit frightening! It will be great to get our third crew member Emelie aboard in Las Palmas, she will join us on the 11th of November. Marcus is about to leave us soon, he has booked a flight from Tenerife next Sunday. It will be sad to loose his company. But it's time to relax and prepare before the ARC parties start, and that will probably be done better with only the two of us aboard. We will cruise the western islands while our Norwegian and Danish friends cruise the eastern, then we will reunite in Las Palmas for a big party. / The Captain

P.S We caught another fish a few minutes ago, a Dourado!, bright yellow and bigger than our mini tunas, but when we tried to lift him aboard he got loose and swam away, lucky him. D.S

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Sweden against Norway: 3-3

On our way to Ihlas Selvagens we started wondering whether the dolphins had left us forever since we hadn't seen any for a very long time. Suddenly, as if they could hear our complaints, a playful herd of 15-20 dolphins appeared in the sunset. The dolphins were swimming around the boat, jumping and making different tricks to our great delight. We got wonderful pictures and movies of the spectacular dolphin show, which we promise to upload as soon as we have proper internet access. Not only did the dolphins bring joy, they also brought little more wind and during the night we made 3-4 knots and yesterday morning around 10 o'clock we arrived in the area open for anchoring outside the nature reserve Ihla Selvagem Grande. In the little bay with room for about five yachts, Escape, Johanna and Time Out were already anchored and joining them did two other yachts, two Swedish yachts! When arriving we couldn't resist laughing little at the fact that here we where, thousands of miles from home outside a little desert island together with Swedish and Norwegian yachts. I mean, what are the odds?! Apparently, we Scandinavian sailors tend to stick to each other. Most funny was the fact that we finally got a draw in the competition, "number of fellow yachts". Sweden against Norway 3-3.

Yesterday afternoon was spent diving and snorkeling. Both Escape and Johanna have dive equipments onboard. While Tom and Kenneth were diving the rest of us were snorkeling and tried to dive as much as we could without the tanks. I borrowed a lead belt of 3 kg to be able to get further down when diving. It didn't only made me see the fishes better, I also got a good exercise. Under the surface of the water there is a magnificent world I am looking forward to discover more during this trip. I have done two discover scuba diving dives in Egypt and I cannot wait to get the license somewhere on the trip, most truly in the Caribbean. In the evening the inseparable boats (Cantare, Time Out, Johanna and Escape) had a nice dinner at Escape´s. cockpit. Having a big boat certainly has its advantages, especially when it comes to hosting many guests.

This morning we were left alone in the windy bay, the Swedish yachts and our friends left early. We were planning on staying longer but swells are making the anchoring little inconvenient and unsafe, so after a little visit on the island we are heading south as well. Next stop will be the Canarian archipelago and more precisely the island La Palma, an island hopefully still unspoilt by the tourists. /First Mate

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Under sail to Ihlas Selvagens

Position: N 031° 11' W 016° 20'

Last night, after we had left Madeira, we could se very dark clouds rolling in over the island. For a while we thought we were going to have a rainy evening but the clouds stayed over land so we got a nice and bright night with no wind and no clouds just a lot of stars. This morning we got a nice northern breeze, just strong enough for sailing. We put up two jib sails and after some adjustments we managed to get our Monitor to steer for us. We have had problems to get the Monitor working down winds before but after some practice it works just fine fore us now. God news for the Atlantic crossing. We are making 2-3 knots and have about another 24 hours to go before we reach Ihlas Selvagens.


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Leaving Funchal and Madeira

In a few minutes we will leave our berth in the marina, when we have filled our diesel tanks we are off to Ilhas Selvagens, about 160 nm south. The wind is very weak, therefore it will probably take about two days to get there. Then we are staying at the islands for 48 hours, that's as long as our permit is valid. The islands are a nature reserve and bird sanctuary that's way you have to obtain a permit here in Funchal.

The levada walk yesterday was great, pictures will come later. We managed to squeeze in a visit to a Madeira wine cellar after the walk. It was interesting getting the story of how the wine originally got it's taste while traveling back and forth over the Atlantic in the very warm interior of the ships as ballast. The guide told us that the wines can be stored for up to 150 years without loosing it's taste. But after 25 years one should exchange the cork. That gave me an idea, I can store a bottle for 25 years without having to do anything, since I am 25 years old now, it will be perfect for my 50th birthday. I bought two bottles to bring over the Atlantic, like in the old days. / The Captain

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Driving around Madeira

Yesterday we hired a car and drove around the island. It was fantastic! The sceneries here are dramatic and varying. We visited Porto Moniz on the northwestern corner of the island, there we had lunch and tried swimming in the natural rock pools. After driving around on curving roads the whole day we ended our tour with a visit to Pico do Areeiro. The top is 1818 meters above the sea level. We had to pass through the clouds, which on a closer look weren't as fluffy and soft as one thinks, but rather looked like ordinary mist. When we got above them the sun was shining and the sky was blue, but it was cold! Only 12 degrees, compared to 26 degrees in Funchal. The view of the mountains rising up through the clouds and the setting sun was amazing! We stayed there until the sun had vanished, then we slowly drove down towards Funchal. In Monte we found a nice restaurant and tried the local drink "poncha", made of brandy, lemon juice, orange juice and honey, it wasn't that good. Today we are off on a levada walk on one of the oldest levadas. Levadas are "water highways" that carries water from the mountains to the fields. There are a lot of them here and it's possible to walk along most of them. /The Captain

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Scandinavian gathering on Madeira

We left Porto Santo the day before yesterday and our plan was to reach Funchal on Madeira. However, as you all know by now, sailing plans tend to change. We didn’t make it all the way to Funchal that day but got a nice little stop over at Baia de Abra (but since the name is little hard to remember one of the Norwegian kids have come up with a new name, “Abrakadabra”). We anchored outside the “Abrakadabra” bay and yesterday we had a relaxing morning and afternoon in the beautiful bay before we set sail towards Funchal. We arrived yesterday evening and met our old friends from Johanna and Time Out. Now five Scandinavian boats are lying next to each other in the marina: Time Out, Johanna, Escape, Cantare and Ing, so much fun! Today I have been on the beach playing Frisbee while Maria and Marcus have been on a sledding tour. After a day on the beach you tend to bring most of the sand with you and getting sand onboard is not fun. So afterwards we all used the water hose on the pontoon and got freshen up. Madeira has lots to offer so we will stay at least until this coming weekend. Tomorrow we are going to rent a car and travel around the island, and I promise you all to be very careful when driving…:-)

PS. I have written a little summary of our last month’s adventure on the insurance company Europeiska’s blog, you find the story here. DS /First Mate

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Time to leave Porto Santo

We have stayed here in Porto Santo way longer than we had planed. Probably because we got into the slow pace of a sailor’s harbour life. One day to meet old friends, one day to clean the yacht, one day to shop for groceries and then a few days to look at and explore the new surroundings. Anyway we are almost done here. One more thing to do though, here in Porto Santo we have met Milo Dahlmann. The first Swedish woman to cross the Atlantic single handed. She’s really cool and I was very happy when I noticed her yacht moored outside the marina. We invited her to Cantare for coffee and cake a few days ago and had a nice afternoon talking about life as a sailor. Today we are going to check out her new steel yacht, Artemisia II. Then it is time to head over to Madeira, we will probably sail to Funchal, which is 40 nm away. / The Captain

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Pictures from Porto Santo

New pictures uploaded. /The Captain

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Crashing a Four-Wheeler

Today we have had lots of cross-country fun on Porto Santo! We rented four-wheelers this morning and have been driving around the beautiful island all day long together with the family on the Norwegian boat Escape. Driving four-wheelers is so much fun, however, it can be quite dangerous, something I experienced when I crashed one of the wheelers and fell head over heels. What could have been much more serious luckily just ended up in some small scratches on me and some adjustments of the front wheels. I could easily have hurt myself pretty bad in the crash and the four-wheel reparation costs could have cost me a fortune so I am more than happy being fully insured by the insurance company Europeiska. After the crash I was little shaky, but the best medicine is to jump up on the vehicle again and respect it but not be afraid of it and so I did. The six of us rented three four-wheelers and took turns in driving. Up one mountain we drove and down another and when the cross-country wheelers couldn’t take us any further up we climbed the rest and got wonderful views over the island and its surroundings. When you see the picture of Maria and Tom waving on one of the tops you might get a feeling of how high up we actually were. When climbing down we kept asking ourselves why climbing uphill always tend to be so much easier than getting down. /First Mate

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Pictures from the crossing

I have uploaded pictures from Cascais, Sines and our crossing to Porto Santo. /The Captain

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Porto Santo

We have had some different weathers and wind conditions for the last few days and yesterday was no exception. We had no rain but the wind shifted a lot, from almost nothing up to 20 m/s. As we got closer to Porto Santo the waves built up and from looking at the sea chart we were not sure if we would be able to make an safe approach to the relative shallow harbour since we were afraid of braking waves. The other alternative would had been to look for lee on the north side of the island but after 6 days at sea we were all looking for getting ashore so when we heard from a Norwegian boat in the harbour that the approach would be no problem we were all happy. The sea outside the harbour was really not as bad as we thought so it was no problem and when we got inside the piers we were warmly welcomed with flags and waving’s from persons that Maria and Sofia have met in earlier harbours.
So we have now safely arrived to Porto Santo where we will stay for a few days before continuing to Madeira. /Boat Bunny

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Thunder at the Atlantic

It has been a long night. The wind picked up and so did the rough waves, we had to close all vents, to not get water inside the boat, which resulted in a very hot saloon and an almost non existing night sleep for all of us. During my watch, close to 6 am, the sky lit up, it took me a while to understand that it was distant flashes of lightning. Then I had to awake my dozing crew, time to lay out the lightning conductors. We were lucky, the thundersquall never past right above us, but we came close enough to get the wind and the rain. It's easy to feel exposed when you're surrounded by nothing but waves and you have a mast of 12 meters, but on the other hand there's nothing to do about it. Therefore I didn't feel scared, it's all about handling the situation your in in the best possible way. The good thing about this night and morning is the fact that Monitor has steered continuously, even though there has been a lot of changes in the wind speed, we have had winds from 5 m/s to 23 m/s. We were sailing with a double-reefed mainsail and a small furled headsail and still did good speed. Now we have about 80 nm left to Porto Santo, the wind has died and we are running the engine again. I'm going to download a weather file to see how the forthcoming two days will be. We will probably have to slow down a bit not to reach the harbour in the middle of the night. / The Captain

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Sailing with good Fishing Luck

Position: N 33° 04' W 13° 46'

Tjooohooooooo! Today we have finally been able to set sail and not being forced to lower the them the next minute. Not having to listen to old engine Yanmar is absolutely great! But the very best part of the sailing story is the fact that it is our wind vane that is doing the steering, we are released from the wheel at last, wonderful! When you do not need to be physically bounded to the wheel, you can do other things on your watch, like baking for example. After all, today it is the day of the cinnamon bun and I wanted o celebrate it a little bit. However, the baking did not result in cinnamon buns, but in a fruit pie containing cinnamon. Sometimes you have to make compromises! Then there is another story of the day, the fishing story. Recently, we have had such a bad luck in fishing but today the fishes realised the beauty of our new hook and swallowed it, not only one fish but 3 similar fishes! Due to lack of true Atlantic fishing experience and lack of a good book about fish species, we have not really been able to make up our minds about what kind of fishes we have caught. However, one thing is for sure, we are going to have a nice fish dinner tomorrow! /First Mate

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Champagne , half-way!

Position: N 34° 03' W 11° 32'

It's time to celebrate, we have made it half-way to Porto Santo. A small bottle of champagne has been cooled in the fridge for the occasion. Today, our third day at sea, we have been able to sail. Turning of the engine is nice, and the silence (except for the sound of waves and sails) is fantastic. Sadly the wind died after a while, and old Yanmar is doing his job again. If you have checked our positions you might have noticed that we are heading a bit more south than a direct course would take us. That's because there are southerly winds west of us. In an attempt to avoid having them against us we are going on a course of 210 degrees. When we get further down, about 40 nm left now, we will change course and go westwards towards Porto Santo. Hopefully this decision will make it possible for us to sail the last two days, without having to beat up. It makes the journey about 75 nm longer, but what does that matter when the sun is shining and the water has a temperature of 25 degrees? Life is good! /The Captain

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Hello, my name is Boat Bunny

Position: N 35° 32' W 10° 35'

It´s always nice to make plans and have dreams come true. This is one of them, crossing a big sea in a sailing boat. Me and Maria were talking and dreaming about longer sailing trips in an own boat already in high school. When I first heard about Maria and Sofia's planed trip I got both happy for them and jealous. Therefore it feels nice to be able to at least take part of one or maybe two legs of their around the Atlantic journey. It has been two days since I got onboard and even if it's a new boat and new routines for me everything works just fine. I have been very nice taken care of and introduced to everything between the safety round to were to find the rice aboard. I have crossed the Atlantic ocean four times before on a bigger vessel and every time I have asked my self how it would be to do the same thing in a small sailing boat. We have not yet crossed all the way over to the Caribbean but some answers I've got all ready. Being on a small boat gives you a total different view of the sea. You are closer to everything, the dolphins that came playing last night even scared me a little when they started playing just beside me. The biggest different I experienced just a few moments ago when we saw a big group of whales not to far away from the boat. Maria steered closer to them and turned of the engine. To sit there in total silence and listening to the whales breathing felt unreal, one of the more beautiful thing I've ever experienced. This feeling of nature I guess is the different.

We are proceeding towards Porto Santo and hopefully we will have some wind soon so we can set sails. /Boat Bunny

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Foggy take off with the Boat Bunny

Position: N 37° 14' W 09° 29'

I just got up on the boat again after a refreshing bath in the Atlantic ocean, the water temperature is 23° C, that is the highest temperature we have experienced so far! Since it is light air today and we are forced to use the engine, which made a little quick stop-over for bathing easy. As you saw on the picture from yesterday our what-to-do-list before take off to Madeira was rather long, as the work kept us busy pretty much all day and it was getting dark before we where ready to go, we decided to postpone the take off until this morning… Actually, that is not the whole story… Before leaving we had to wait for our new "boat bunny" to arrive. Boat Bunny, whose real name is Marcus, got tired of the tanker he has been travelling on for a while and we promised to take care of him a little while onboard Cantare. And we wont complain about little male company, having a man onboard can, from time to time, be very pleasant. However, our boat bunny has been well introduced to the rules onboard and aware of the fact that Captain Maria is in charge of the boat and First Mate Sofia is her ally. So far, so good, our Boat Bunny has accepted the ranking list, and moreover he has even shown some qualities in the kitchen by cooking tasty dinner today, to our great delight! Boat Bunny is also helping us try out the watch-keeping for the Atlantic crossing, when Deck Hand Emelie will join us. Both me and Maria got a strange feeling this morning when Boat Bunny had the first watch and we where able to get a little nap at the same time. Normally there is always on of us at the wheel, but now we will have a great deal of off-watch, lovely!

Before I will do some baking (better take the good opportunity now when Cantare is not rocking), I will give you some details. We left Sines when it was getting light this morning, around 8 am. Due to fog visibility was poor the first couple of hours, however the fog cleared up. We are heading for Porto Santo, a little island about 30 M north of Madeira. From Sines we had 553 M to Porto Santo, resulting in an ETA on Monday/Tuesday, all depending on how the low outside Madeira develops. /First Mate

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