Dienstag, 1. Oktober 2013

After a short sailing season back in Madeira

As already hinted in the last post, back in June, we were not able to continue our annual tour of the azores, and our friends had to eventually continue on their own.

After spending several weeks in Ponta Delgada, the Taniwani crew had to leave and head home for some more serious medical treatments. Taniwani remained in the marina in Ponta Delgada, guarded by Thomas Dargel of Boat & Sail Service.

The changed plan for both, Beate and Harald to return to Taniwani in early September and sail back to Madeira also didn't work out quite as planned, so that in the end Harald and son Markus sailed, well mostly dieseled, Taniwani home to Madeira.

Just one day after arrival, Taniwani was lifted out and again berthed on the dry under the runway.

We are hopeful, that we will be able to report new sailing adventures in the next season, with a complete and healthy crew.

Dienstag, 16. Juli 2013

Sao Miguel

Our second stop in the Azores this year was in Ponta Delgada the capital of the biggest island in the group.  The strong Northeasterlies were abating when we left Santa Maria for a 55 miles day sail to the much bigger island of Sao Miguel. Apparently the swell was still going on, as it was quite rough in  the marina, where one had to watch out not to fall on the wobbly pontoons. Actually it felt worse than out at sea. But the Marina is very big and there is usually plenty of space to run a line across to the next finger, this way keeping the boat off the own finger and preventing it from jamming heavily into the fenders once and so often. Already the next day the conditions were much smoother and for the next two and a half weeks that we ended up spending here it remained like this.

We had to look after Beate's medical problems and found nice and very helpful doctors in Ponta Delgada. This caused us to settle in here and day by day the town grew on us. In the past we used to only stop here for a few days and soon move on to the next island. We thought it was just ok to tour island with it's many attractions and that the town was just a town without much character. We changed our view on this and found that with Taniwani as a nice apartment right inside the bustling town, this wasn't all that bad a situation.

It does seem though that in oder to get a long term handle on Beate's medical problem, we will soon have to head back to Madeira with Taniwani and home from there and cut this summer's cruise a bit short. Up to here we had sailed in the pleasant company of our old friends, Henry and Kikki on Endelig, and our plans to continue on through the Azores have ended here, with Henry and Kikki having to return home for a family emergency and us soon returning back to Madeira. Henry and Kikki however plans to soon return to their boat and continue on a reduced schedule. You may want to check on their whereabouts once in a while at:  http://www.yacht-endelig.blogspot.pt

While mainly enjoying Ponata Delgada, Harald did have a car trip with Henry and Kikki to the eastern part of Sao Miguel, with its twin lakes. So, again there are some photos from that lovely part. For Harold it was the fourth visit to that area and you may find quite similar photos in older blogs. In Ponta Delgada we discovered a number of new things among then the old Fort in the harbor that is partly used by the military, partly a military museum - quite interesting and extremely moist. There is also a bell tower, flat topped without a roof, that offers a very nice view al across the town and harbor.

Dienstag, 9. Juli 2013

Santa Maria

Even in a strong easterly swell, the marina in Vila do Porto on Santa Maria remains a tranquil and pleasant place. It is probably the best sheltered marina in the Azores. We definitely like the somewhat remote and sleepy place. Sleepy except for the busy fishing boats that kept coming in to unload and just turn around to head out again for another big load of tuna. Seems fishing is good this season. We spend a lazy week in the familiar place and as always carefully looked what had changed since last year, as we see a steady progress on the island. The economy is so small and the crisis so far away. In the past years the main project was the gigantic sea front at the eastern village of Sao Lorenzo and now, that this is finished, some magnificent old buildings that have been decaying over the years in Vila do Porto, are now being renovated. Also new is that the big travel-lift has started to operate and they now have a few boats on the hard there. It seems also a great place if need to get out of the water for a quick repair, as craning with the new 85 ton travel-lift is a steal at 90€ for a boat our size.

Harald had the usual land tour per rental car with Henry and Kikki of Endelig, but Beate preferred to stay on Taniwani not feeling too great. The pictures give some impressions around the island. For this time in the year the steady NE winds were a bit unusual, while the had brought us here quite swiftly if a bit rough, they caused a rather hazy weather around the islands. So, the pictures are lacking a bit of sun.

Mittwoch, 26. Juni 2013

La Palma

By the time we were ready to leave Gomera for La Palma, we had entered a phase of stronger trade winds and so we had a boisterous ride through the acceleration zone north of Gomera. Add to this that we forgot to fully close the hatch in the forward bathroom, which then received some serious salt water shower. Still, we had a good, if rough sail to Santa Cruz de La Palma. We really like the little town and the fact that you just have to step of the boat to be in its middle. For Taniwani this was the fourth visit and it doesn't get boring. Together with our friends from Endelig we again enjoyed touring the island, up to its top at almost 2500 meters, where the clear air and quiet atmosphere provide for a very special way of relaxation. In the south, the relatively new volcanos remind one that the island is still volcanically rather active. The latest eruptions occurred less than fifty years ago and enlarged the southern tip, but luckily spared the lighthouse and the salt pans.

La Palma was the last island in the Canaries and we planned to leave from there for the Azores. After a week in La Palma there was still no easing of the strong trades in sight and so we eventually left prepared to sail modestly close hauled in 25 knots of wind and 3 meter waves for the first two days. Well, we thought we were prepared, but this time none of us checked the main hatch in the saloon and when the first massive wave travelled over the deck, it pushed it open and delivered a huge waterfall down into the cabin.  A shocking sight, water wobbling around on the saloon table, the floor and all the upholstery. Not a good start. Nevertheless we had a swift trip and it just took us 3 1/2 days to Santa Maria, averaging about 180 miles a day.

Sonntag, 16. Juni 2013


As expected, the wind around Tenerife varied from almost calm to quite a fierce blow. Yet, the two boats had a nice Sunday trip, the 75 miles around Tenerife and across to the west of Gomera.
And in the more quiet zones we were even able to sail close by a relaxed group of pilot whales. The anchorage at the west side of Gomera lies below towering cliffs and is quite calm in the prevailing NE-trades. It is one of our favorite anchorages and so we decide to skip the main town of San Sebastian with its marina and rather rent a car in the little fishing town near the anchorage. The impressive and beautiful Valle Gran Rey which ends right at our anchorage, is probably the most impressive sight on this island. There are fantastic views down and across, from the street that winds up the steep wall on the north side of the valley. On Gomera, the north is green and very scenic with nice views onto Tenerife with its majestic volcano. The main town of San Sebastian is exactly opposite our anchorage, and as usual the place was quite windy. We toured back via the dry south including a visit to the little harbor of Santiago where we had a nice meal before returning back to our boats. The plan for the next day was to move on to La Palma.