Faro to Porto Santo

We left Faro at about 6pm on the 1st of September. The weather looked as near to perfect as we could hope for, having waited for quite some time looking at it so we took our chance whilst we had it. What follows is a bit of a diary for each day.

1st Sept (evening)
Once out of the entrance to Faro we were surprised to see it was fairly rough out. Nothing too much to worry about but a bit of a culture shock after spending a month on flat water in the harbour and our bodies were obviously not too used to it. The magic of our faithful Biodramina seemed less than magical for me for the as I was frustrated to find myself battling with seasickness from the moment I tried to get to sleep…Great! Thought we’d got over that. Pete wasn’t too far behind either 😦 Me and the bucket were never far from each other unfortunately and I began to wonder why on earth I was even trying to sail for what would probably be the best part of a week. Despite this, we had split the night up into 3 hour shifts so we would just have to get on with it and hope that things would get better.

The good thing about being a crew of three is that after your 3 hour shift you then get the luxury of six hours sleeping (or trying to in some cases) so the night goes fairly quickly. I took the 10-1am shift, Pete did 1am – 4am followed by Chris doing 4am ’til 7am.

Leaving Faro

2nd Sept
By 7am I was ready to get back out and we began our day watch system of two and a half hours on and a ‘blissful’ five hours off. To start with the thought of spending five hours inside the cabin was a bit of a nightmare. All three of us struggled with feeling varying degrees of ill so in some ways during that time, being outside looking at the horizon was better than being off watch. Chris did much of the cooking to start with as Pete (much to his annoyance and our surprise) did not seem to be faring too well with the ‘bumpy’ nature of the waves. Bumpy being the word for downright horrible. It felt somewhat like being inside a simulator in the cabin with a very jolty motion that made you leave your stomach somewhere in the ceiling some of the time, loud bangs and large splashes over the boat. Not very nice and a bit scary especially when it wakes you up.

Not that you can tell… but these made it quite bumpy!

Chris demonstrating how valuable student cooking skills are…
Pasta and sauce… note the importance of a non-upright posture at sea!

3rd Sept
After surviving the second (quite sleepy) night I began to feel fairly confident that the waves were big but really fine (despite the nausea) and they didn’t appear to be getting anywhere near as steep as we’ve experienced before, thankfully! Apart from the shipping lane during night one there wasn’t much to look for out at sea. This made watches seem relatively stress free in a way though it took a bit of getting used to being woken up and trying to sleep at odd times.

More of an appetite, less sickness and a whole load of dolphins! They looked spectacular in the deep blue inky sea. I never would have imagined what people meant by the ocean being blue but it really is. Must be something to do with the depth of more than four thousand metres…It’s incredible to think that you are floating four kilometres above land!

Look carefully… and there are three dolphins

4th Sept
Had a good night shift last night. Fantastic clear skies with loads of stars that I actually managed to look at this time. I actually felt like we were flying through the water whilst I was outside sitting on the hatch boards. Somehow it was getting easier despite still being quite rough and noisy. Perhaps we were all sleeping better because we were tired, I don’t know but I definitely enjoyed some of it.

Had another brief visit from some dolphins today and because we had passed our half-way mark over night we threw a message in a bottle out during the day today. I hope someone will find it and contact us to say where it got to.

Bottle on its way to ?????

Waves were a bit bigger mostly we think because we were crossing an area near a bank of shallower water. Have learnt that it is not a very good idea to go under these banks as the waves appeared to have got a bit bigger and then carried on a bit. I think that our time going from Gibraltar to Mazagon might have done me a favour in terms of not worrying too much about waves. Although there were a few quite big ones it didn’t seem as bad as the ones we’d had before…so there was a reason we went through all that.

Ate a bit more and managed to do a bit more inside the boat during the day. Definite progress!

Horace hard at work

5th Sept
Our man overboard alarms kept going off during night shifts last night – very annoying and makes us question having it. The boy who cried wolf springs to mind. Also, having had one of the pendants replaced in Faro we have found that one of them has cracked again about a day in to our trip!!!

Watched a DVD during the day today πŸ™‚ We’d been working up to this moment for days so it felt good to finally get there. Possibly eating out of something to do more than hunger.

Going downwind so the motion was a bit more rolly but generally calmer than before and it felt like a psychological turning point, downhill towards Porto Santo.

Managed to make lunch, even though half of it ended up in Chris’ bunk cupboard. I was quite proud given that to start with I didn’t think I’d be able to even eat food, let alone stay inside long enough to make something.

Proud chef with her cabbage and cucumber… beware of falling knives

6th Sept
Very very very calm in the morning. Flat in fact. Pete had a shift last night with no wind at all and I had fun taking the main-sail down rather messily because it was flapping around only to put it up again when Pete started about 15 minutes later. Chris managed to sleep through all this racket.

Looked like we were surrounded by a giant deep blue swimming pool. We even contemplated having a swim but then the wind came back. A bit disappointed that we were probably going to be spending another whole night out. I had thought we’d arrive in the early hours of the morning but never mind.

Anyone for a swim?

Lots of time spent on the foredeck talking, looking at the sun shining on the water and Porto Santo in the distance! Pete spotted a turtle yesterday and ‘a really big black thing’ that we think may have been a whale today. Could see quite a few birds gliding very close to the surface of the water, narrowly missing it at times.

Land Ho

Porto Santo, though we weren’t sure at the time if it was Madeira

I was very tired and napped quite a lot. This tiredness was not helped by the constant rolling that became relentless by the time I tried to sleep in the evening…Very frustrating knowing you have an hour or so after dinner to sleep before a shift and then not being able to because the boat is rolling left then right then left…

My night shift turned out alright in the end after the initial annoyance of not sleeping too well and then being woken up. The wind disappeared for me so I had to hand steer for a bit. Luckily it came back again, I didn’t feel like steering for 3 hours and Horace (our hydrovane) was able to take over after about an hour. Time went quite slowly and I was disappointed to find out after looking a second time at the clock that instead of having 1/2 an hour left, I actually had an hour and a half to go. Strangely Pete’s brain was also confused and he appeared at 11.45pm ready to take over, only to say “oh, I’ve got the wrong time haven’t I!” Tiredness seemed to have addled our grasp of the 24hr clock momentarily.

Our downwind Twizzle rig (2 sails poled out cleverly with ropes etc) needed to be taken down near to Porto Santo and we decided to wait until we’d reached a two thousand metre contour line to do it. At about 1 in the morning all three of us got up to take it down. By 1.30am it was all done and hungry and tired I went back to bed hoping to sleep through any nasty rolling.

“Twizzle” cunningness

7th Sept
Woke up to lovely views of Porto Santo in the sunrise. Over night we had miscalculated the tide and so ended up unable to head straight in. The wind was light and the tide against us so we stood no chance of arriving earlier. Lots of tacking quite fast through beautifully flat water πŸ˜‰ and a lovely fry up later and we eventually arrived in the marina at Porto Santo at about 9am ready to go and show all our passports to the police and then rest and recover, pleased that we had made our longest voyage yet.

Porto Santo – Pico do Castelo

We made it!

The route, a few wiggles, but not too bad

2 Responses to “Faro to Porto Santo”

  1. Sounds fun! I like your solar panel.
    Love, Laura

  2. Glad you made it OK. Good to see land at last I would imagine?

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