Passage Gibraltar to Lanzarote
Day 1- 1st October 2006
We left our mooring at 11 am , after saying our goodbyes to Noel and Natalie. Getting out of the Straits of Gibraltar was hard work. Although all the necessary calculations were made to find the optimum time to exit the Straits, there was a strong current against us, sometimes up to 3 knots. Staying clear from the busy shipping lanes was another important factor. Finally we were in safe waters after Cabo Espartel just before sunset. Ahead of us by a few miles were Checkmate and Astreaus, all heading to Isla Graciosa in a convoy. We kept contact on radio VHF channel 72 at 1800hrs. Just before sunset we heard on the radio that Checkmate caught a fish -"only a little one". Not long after Astreaus also announced "Catch 2 of the day". We unbelievable caught 4 fishes and lost all of them while hauling in.
Day 2- 2nd October 2006
Calm seas and no winds, so the engine has been on for most of the way so far. It was the perfect weather for the cruising chute which we have never used before. It has blue with yellow stripes, Judit though that looked like a Swedish flag. Just as we were getting our dinner ready which was pasta the fishing rod started clicking.
We caught the 5th fish of the day. Graham fought with the fish for a good 10 minutes as it was a big one! We managed to haul it in, and it was a beautiful fish with greeny bluish skin about 3kg, later we found out that it was a Dorado. Even feeling sorry for it Judit whacked it on the head with a winch handle. That didn't kill it. Then we poured brandy on its gills which did the job. From the sea the fish went straight to oven and then to our plate in 1hr.
Day 3/4 - 3rd October
Another calm day with the engine on, but it all changed in the afternoon with a light breeze. Gradually the wind increased through the night and continued increasing during the next day. At that point we lost contact with Checkmate whom headed East towards Morocco. At that point we were alone in the middle of a big storm with seas swelling. We have not slept in the last 24 hours. Tired as we were, sleep was impossible because Nomad Life was being thrown every direction. Movement on the boat was quite a challenge.
Day 5 - 5th October
The critical point came in the early hours of the morning. Both of us were complete exhausted, the sea state was confused and the boat was being knocked about. When day light came, we saw the size of the waves coming from behind. From there on we just kept looking forward until we saw land. That was a relief, but we still had some hours ahead of us and massive waves of about 5 metres. It was scary. We arrived at Caleta del Sebo at 3pm. Whilst entering the marina the wheel locked. Quickly Graham disconnected the Autohelm linear drive unit. Then we were told that the marina was completely full. Laying the anchor was the hardest job of the whole trip because we were so tired. Astreaus has already arrived but no sign of Checkmate until we went to bed, at 8pm. They came in at 1 am. Thank you to Tony, John and Jan on Checkmate for looking after us during the trip. Also for all the fun during the following days .
This was our first bad weather trip. They would get worse, but at least we learnt what the boat could handle.