We motor sailed the 180 miles from Lisbon to the Guadiana River, forming the border between Portugal and Spain, with flat seas. Although we didn't have the best sailing conditions most of the time, we did have a fantastic night sail. A November meteorite shower lit the cloudless sky up, making the night watch very pleasant. On our previous cruise (14 years ago) Mike and I did a two hour on, two off, watch schedule. It was a brutal getting up several times a night to go on watch, but without the modern stimuli we have now, two hours was about as much as we could handle. Now we do 4 hour watches and with pod casts, music, electronic reading and the occasional movie on a calm night, the night watches are much easier this time around. Now one of us stays up until about 11pm, a pretty easy shift, we each get one tough middle of the night watch; 11pm - 3am or 3am to 7am, and then the last watch includes a lovely sunrise and a couple of daylight hours before everyone else gets up, while the person off watch can sleep as long as they need to, to catch up (or at least until the kids wake them up). It seems to work well for us. The kids seem to need more sleep at sea, so that is helpful having them sleep in. What makes up a watch you may ask? It is pretty easy. We have either an autopilot of a self steering wind vane, so we don't usually need to steer with the wheel. Most importantly we keep a look out for other traffic, monitor the radar if is foggy, watch for wind shifts and tweak sails if needed. The toughest part is keeping awake and warm. Anyway, we are happy to be back in the land of clear night watches. Having the stars for company and not having to stare at the radar makes for a much more enjoyable night watch.
We anchored about 20 river miles up the Guadiana River, half way between the two countries. We hiked up to an old castle on the Spanish side and then had ice cream over in Portugal. There is a Portuguese village on one side of the river and a Spanish town on the other. You can literally throw a rock between the two, but there is a time change and language that divides the two from each other. The second night we were in the river there was a festival on the Portuguese side that included American music, roasted chestnuts and homemade wine. It was pretty fun and most importantly we have found our first kid boat in months. Ana is in heaven with a 5 and 6 year old girl to play with. Interestingly enough we have not seen another American boat since we left Canada. We are very much enjoying the aridness of this area and it is a refreshing change from up north. The skies are clear, the air is dry, and it smells of wild rosemary and Eucalyptus.
We left the boat for one night in Ayamonte, near the mouth of the Guadiana River, to take an overnight trip to Seville. The highlight of which was probably Mike and Zander watching Seville beat Real Madrid in a 3-2 victory. We all wanted to go, but since Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably the best soccer player in the world, plays for Madrid, you almost need to take a personal loan out to watch Madrid play. Zander pooled his birthday money and Mike and I drew straws to see who would be the lucky one to take him. Considering riots can break out at these events and fans are diehard, they cheered very quietly and discretely for Madrid. No bleachers were set on fire, no fans trampled, it was a very civilized soccer game and Mike said the security was pretty efficient at keeping a buffer zone between the rivaling spectator sections. Oh yeah, and there is some culture to be seen in Madrid as well. Although, the kids are getting a little tired of culture. Another amazing cathedral, another palace another tomb. This time it was the largest church in the world; Santa Maria de la Sede, which houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus. There are some doubts as to the authenticity of the claim of holding the remains of the great explorer ("great" depending on your perspective)and there are two other churches in the world that make a similar claim. Mike continues to attempts to light the fire of interest in art and architecture of the middle ages in the boys, but I'm not sure how much sinks in. They are more interested in the sword shops, the military museums and the battle sites. My personal favorite was seeing every street in Seville lined with orange trees. This Alaska girl will never tire of fruit trees!
The following pages chronicle the journey of the sailing vessel Pelagic and her crew. We are a family of 5; Michael, Amy, Zander, Porter and Anakena, taking our 42' Hallberg Rassy as far as we can comfortably go in three years. We left Oregon in September 2014, participated in the 2014 Baja Haha, continued on through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, up the coast of the US to Maritime Canada and from there crossed the Atlantic. After an arrival in Ireland we toured Scotland, then sailed down to France, Portugal and on to Morocco. In January of 2016 we slowed down considerably and enrolled the kids in a local Spanish school in Sanlucar de Guadiana for a few months. In the spring of 2016 we crossed the Atlantic towards the Caribbean. We are now in the Pacific, officially on our way home, albeit via a very circuitous path. We are currently in French Polynesia and looking at weather windows to Hawaii before finally making landfall back in the Pacific Northwest.
Currently our exact location is not available. Our spot coverage will pick us back up in Hawaii towards the end of May, 2017.
Our favorite sailing quote:
"If anythings gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there boss!" Captain Ron