Browsed by
Tag: blue note

The little harbour convoy

The little harbour convoy

After our little beach party, we all wanted to move anchorage to find somewhere slightly flatter and to explore the BVIs some more. Some of our boat friends such as Danae and Vela had already spent quite some time in the BVIs and had recommended a spot called Little Harbour, come to think of it SV Zoe whom we met back in Portugal also recommended this anchorage to us, as we have a waypoint set form them.

So our little convoy set off to Little Harbour.

Despite our best efforts, Blue Note, Extress and Escapade all beat us to anchor, but no worries, there was plenty of space to anchor and tie to shore (though that wouldn’t be the case in the coming days).

Escapade put their drone up and got what might be one of our favorite shots from the whole trip so far…

The water in the BVIs is super clear, as you can see in the drone shot above. The one downside of Little Harbour is there is not much beach, and what beach there is is rather stoney.

To get around this while enjoying the cooling sea we created a floating SUP bar for 8!

Little did we know, this was the start of a magical 4 days anchored in Little Harbour, including joint meals switching between the 4 boats, and 3 day trips out all on 1 boat per day.

Outing number one took us to The Indians aboard Extress where we picked up a buoy and snorkeled around some lovely rocks. There wasn’t much wind so motored there and back again, so taking one boat really made sense!

The snorkeling here included a bit of a drop-off filled with sea life, and a cave that we could swim through.

The second outing took us to Salt Island to snorkel around a wreck. The weather for this sail wasn’t so nice, and we ended up sheltering down below aboard Escapade to hide from the rain for most of the journey to the moorings.

Once getting in the water at Salt Island we found a fairly strong current dragging us past the wreck (just about okay to swim against), but snorkeling on the wreck was quite a bit of effort and it was fairly deep.

The wreck is of the RMS Rhone, which was a Royal Mail Ship that sank in a hurricane in 1867. The size of the propeller on this wreck was rather insane.

Thirdly we headed to Road Town aboard Blue Note to visit the chandlery, throw out some trash, do some shopping, and fill up a bunch of water jerry cans. To make this easier, as we would be shopping, we actually took 3 dinghies with us!

We even managed to sail on the way back to the anchorage!

That night the dinner was Paella aboard Hannah Penn for 8, one of the largest paellas we have had to make ever, let alone on board Hannah with smaller hobs and pans. It was delicious, but we were also apparently enjoying ourselves too much to have any foody pictures.

Fun was had, and as the night continued many hats came out…

Escapade were the first boat to leave Little Harbour, setting sail once again to Saint Martin where they would be restocking, picking someone up from the airport, and also leaving for the crossing from.

Extress and Blue Note also headed off to other anchorages one by one over the coming days.

For us aboard Hannah, it’s boat job time…

  • Rig check
  • Fitting the water flow switch for the UV light
  • Adding string to mast steps
  • etc…

Some of this will be covered in future posts, and we can wrap this post up with the great turtle we saw with a shark sucker on its back in the bay.

We also went snorkeling and saw some Yellowhead Jawfish under the boat. These little fish swim backward into their holes in the sand when you approach, but also have these funny little faces.

Night sail to the BVIs

Night sail to the BVIs

We restocked in Saint Martin before heading off, also doing laundry on land, collecting some full gas bottles and filling up jerry cans with water a couple of times. We were having so much “fun” doing these chores that we almost missed the bridge opening on the French side to let us leave the lagoon.

Just a few minutes before the bridge opened we made it into the queue, though it felt list a lot of rushing around on land, and we didn’t manage to tumble dry any of our laundry like we wanted to.

Not the most exciting of pictures, but with all of the rushing around we didn’t take many.

We headed out through the bridge at 5pm and anchored just outside so that we could start getting the boat ready including stowing the shopping, and eat some dinner before starting to sail.

The plan was to mostly run (straight downwind) all the way to the BVIs.

Ideally, we would do this with 2 headsails up, our genoa and larger ghoster, so before the sun set we also prepared the poles to keep these sails more stable and stop them from flapping around on the crossing.

There are no pictures of this amazing setup that night, however, there are some from the following morning but with the ghoster already lowered, and also some great shadow puppets on the sails from the middle of the night.

The sail itself was a breeze, setting off at around 7pm once away from the weird wind that was happening near the shore of Saint Martin we put both head sales up and wouldn’t need to adjust until after sunrise the following day.

Overnight we once again tried our 6 hour watch cycle which also worked a charm and we both managed to get plenty of sleep.

We headed straight to Spanish Town where would do all of the normal formalities checking into the country. and spent the night in the Spanish Town anchorage.

Just south of Spanish town there is a tourist attraction called “The Baths” which we were keen to explore.

The Baths are a popular tourist attraction and are known for their unique geological formations, including giant granite boulders that form natural tidal pools, tunnels, and grottoes. The area is also home to white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it a popular destination for swimming, snorkeling, and exploring.

We moved Hannah slightly down the island, anchoring around what felts like hundreds (but actually just 10s) of catamarans and swam over to the beach from which you could enter the baths.

It was great fun exploring the boulders, walkways, sandy beaches and little pools.

Off we went again, to a gathering on a beach we had organized with some other boat freinds.

In total 5 boats and 10 people were in attendance on a beach on Peter Island (Hannah Penn, Danae, Blue Note, Extress, Escapade)

Once again, there was lots of catching up to do as some of us had not seen each other in some weeks, or even months.

We did a potluck, which is where each guest brings a dish of food to share with everyone. In a potluck, the dishes are usually not coordinated or pre-planned, so guests may bring anything from appetizers to desserts. The idea is to create a shared meal where everyone contributes something, and there is usually a lot of variety and abundance of food.

There was bread, dips, pate, cheese, a cheesy spinach bake, potatoes, tuna salad, pasta and more.

And of course, there was a fire!

Much more to come from the BVIs, and we are happy to report that the night of the fire was 20th April, and at the time of writing this it is the 2nd of May, so we are nearly caught up. We might even be setting off back across the Atlantic in as little as 3 days, but only the weather can determine that!

The lagoon of Saint Martin

The lagoon of Saint Martin

Saint Martin is a beautiful island in the Caribbean that has gained notoriety as the filming location for the TV show Below Deck. The show has showcased the island’s stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and luxurious lifestyle, making it a popular destination for fans of the show.

We set off from St Kitts as the sun was setting, ready for a night sail to Saint Martin.

This was the first passage that we tried 6 hour watches for. We knew that we would only need 1 night sail, so being able to get a full 6 hours sleep each sounded quite nice. Adam stayed up until about 2am, with Kathryn keeping watch from 2am until 8am (ish). The passage was smooth sailing most of the way, but with a fair few gybes in the first hours.

We decided to stay on the French side as clearing into and out of the country here would be easy (a similar experience to other french islands with a computer and little paperwork), so on arrival we anchored on the outside of the french bridge into the lagoon, as we would need to wait until the evening or following day to enter through the bridge.

This is not the only bridge option… The first bridge is located in Marigot on the French side (our choice). The second bridge is a swing bridge that connects the Dutch side of the island to the French side. The third bridge is located near the airport on the Dutch side.

We dinghied to shore to check in, and have a little look aroud, and found outselves at a delicious pizza place! No bridge activity for us until the morning (this one only opens twice a day).

We made it through the bridge just fine, though it was very tight for a catamaran infront of us…

While contemplating where to anchor, the monohull 1 boat ahead of us decided to go north and imediatly grounded on the bottom. So rather than follow them into what seemed like shallower waters, we headed south.

The Navionics chart with sonar chart overlay is pretty good for the channel that should be dredged. On top of this, we added some fresh depth soundings to te Navionics “active captain” community overlay.

We anchored close to a small bit of land for a little bit of shelter in around 2-3m of water, so not much space under Hannah keel, but also we were back in a flat anchorage! (with the exception of the odd incosiderate motorboat that would drive through the lagoon too fast).

Next it was time for a long awaited boat job. Parts of the cabin top had some old holes form old rigging hardware etc that needed re filling. They were filled in the past but in the UV sun light whatever was in them had started degrading. We have had some fresh filler onboard for some time now to use, and this was the perfect oppourtunity.

We don’t have a comparible before pictures, but here you can seen the holes nicely filled with a gelcoat filler.

We havn’t seen Blue Note in quite some time (except for a brief chat in Antigua), but we once again found ourselves anchored next to them as they came through to the French side of the lagoon from the Dutch side.

We made a pasta bake, had some beers and a catchup as the sunset.

The following day we were also once again joined by Extress, all anchored in a little triangle.

More catching up, eating, drinking and chatting.

But the rest of Saint Martin will come in future posts!

Remember, you can subscribe to these posts by email! It’s not long until we start sailing in the Atlantic again heading back to Europe, and this time we will be trying to blog along the way!

Canaries to Cape Verde (a race)

Canaries to Cape Verde (a race)

Time for the longest crossing yet, the Canaries down to Cape Verde.

In theory, an easy crossing, as you should be able to follow the trade winds that run down the coast of Africa before they head across the Atlantic ocean. These are the same winds followed by Christopher Columbus and are well known.

And it was indeed fairly straightforward.

In terms of the sailing, we set off just before noon and an hour or so just motoring to get out of the lull to the south of the Island.

Blue Note left first, with us closely following behind. Extress needed to go to the harbor to fill up with water and they left roughly 1 hour after.

Blue Note, motoring in the lull

After that, we spent most of the first day on a broad reach while trying to stay in the shelter of La Gomera to avoid swell that was still hanging around in the Atlantic.

On the first evening, we switched to a run using our twin-head sail setup (1 Genoa & 1 Ghoster). We poled the ghoster out on our large spinnaker pole, while poling out the geno using the main boom.

We remained that way until the final day (day 6), when we switched back to a broad reach.

This was the first trip that we were sailing with other boats and tried to stay in VHF contact where possible. We all radioed each other on the first evening to compare positions, but at this stage we could all still see each other on AIS.

Both Blue Note and Extress had headed a little further west than us to start.

On the second day we could no longer see Blue note on AIS or reach them over the VHF. We managed to keep up daily communication with Extress reporting positions. The race was on!

Due to the position reports, we managed to roughly track where everyone was, and although we couldn’t talk to Blue Note or see them on AIS constantly, they seemed to pop up once a day so toward the start so we could also track their course.

In the map below, we are in green, Extress in orange and blue note in Blue.

(Yes we took this race very seriously)

During the last night, Extress crossed over our track and started to overtake us. We saw this coming, but didn’t want to change our sail plan in the middle of the night, so let it happen. This lead to Extress arriving 1 hour before us even though we were gaining on them at some points of the last day.

We arrived just after dark, but anchoring was made easy by a local guy called Jay who came over to us and directed us to a nice little spot on the far side of the anchorage.

Extress, who we had only spoken to over VHF, called us up to invite us over for drinks, so after a quick dinner, we headed over and met the 4 Extress crew as well as 2 from Danae, another dutch boat we had not yet met.

We had a few nice wildlife interactions on this crossing, with a bird coming and landing on deck for a little rest overnight. It found one of the only sheltered places on the foredeck, under the anchor windlass.

We also saw a group of whales chilling at the surface, possibly sleeping. They were only 10-20 meters away from us as we passed.

Once again, cool wildlife brings out the best squeaks from all of us.

Gran Canaria, Tenerife & La Gomera

Gran Canaria, Tenerife & La Gomera

After Lanzarote & Fuerteventura we headed on to 3 more Canary Islands.

Gran Canaria

We did a night sail across to Gran Canaria, arriving in the early morning, which lead to some lovely views around the busy port.

The anchorage here is attached to the marina, and thus you have to pay a small fee just to anchor. The small fee is only a couple of euros, and this is great in comparison to some anchorages in the UK such as Salcombe that require you to pay around £15 a night to anchor near the river mouth…

We didn’t have lots planned from Gran Canaria, but generally explored, relaxed and ate some tasty food.

On one of our trips to land, we spotted the boat Magic of Bermuda whom we had previously met in Gibraltar. We ended up spending most of the day aboard Magic chatting, drinking tea, and telling stories. On the dock, we also met a French couple looking for a lift to Tenerife, and we decided to pickup our first hitchhikers.

The ARC leaves from this marina in Gran Canaria, so the marina was extremely busy with ARC boats.

Another little tradition of the ARC is boats painting rocks on the breakwater before they leave.

We had a very peaceful night sail to Tenerife with our 2 new friends. They cooked, we sailed. One of them, unfortunately, got a little seasick, but a good sleep out on deck helped them out. They were planning on taking part in a residential art project starting the next week in Tenerife, where they sail across the Atlantic on a catamaran and create art (a project run by @circusspacepirates)


We stopped off in Tenerife, dropping off our 2 hitchhikers. Our next guest was also going to be arriving in while we were here. The plan was for them to join us down to Cape Verde and then across the Atlantic.

As soon as Gareth arrived we sent him straight up the mast!

On the whole, Tenerife was another short stop off, where we restocked on Gas, food and did some final maintenance before setting off on what would be our longest crossing yet in the next weeks.

La Gomera

The sail to La Gomera was once again a night sail, but this time with 3 crew, meaning we could try with just a single shift each on watch.

Here we met up with SV Blue Note who we had planned to sail from the Canaries to Cape Verde with us in a little race, and they had also joined another Dutch boat called Extress who would also leave on the same day.

The story that we have to tell for La Gomera is the afternoon we nearly stole another boat’s anchor!!!

But that’ll come in the next post!

Day 58-60: Porto

Day 58-60: Porto

We arrived in the early morning of the 16th of August (the day of Daisy’s flight). @sv_bluenote were anchored in the river, as we cruised in and headed toward the marina, planning on staying there for a night or two.

Even though it was early there was someone at the marina to show us to a berth, and we ended up being pretty close to sv_zoe.

It was Daisy’s last day with us, and we made the most of it by seeing some sights in Porto, eating a very yummy Francesinha, and having some drinks on the river, then much to Daisy’s excitement, we rode electric scooters back to the marina along the river side all before it was time for her to taxi to the airport. There was only some minor running involved to get her and her bags to the taxi on time!

I’m glossing over the fact for the longest time Daisy was convinced her flight was on the 17th (next day). Glad we checked, otherwise she would have had a rather sad arrival to the check-in desk.

The next day the remaining 3 of us spent most of the day working, battling with the pretty slow WiFi at the marina.

The marina did redeem themselves from the WiFi though as it came with a free port tasting for each of us at Churchill’s, which we made the most of in the afternoon. €45 worth of free port tasting in fact, with a tour of the various port cellars and giant 55,000L port barrels, which was essentially the price of one of the nights stay in the marina! We did of course try a few more ports than came in the free tasting!… 15 tasting glasses later we stumbled home.

After our second and final night in the marina we spent much of the day working and doing laundry before heading to anchor in the river with sv_bluenote who had invited us for dinner.

It was so delicious I forgot to take a picture, but it was a lovely creamy risotto with asparagus.

But we did snap these pictures of Hannah in the sunset from Blue Note.

We planned on doing a night sail all the way down to Figuera da Foz that same night, but shortly after arriving back from dinner Andrew said he wasn’t feeling so good.

We hunted around to find the thermometer, only to find it was out of battery.

On a whim we got Andrew to do a covid test, and quite surprisingly he was positive!!!

Needless to say, we didn’t start to sail, instead staying anchored for the night.

Come morning Andrew decided it would be best to head to a hotel for his first covid experience rather than stay on small old Hannah, so we shipped him to shore in the dinghy.

Andrew headed to a hotel, and Kathryn and I prepared to chase Blue Note down…

We quickly pulled up anchor once we had the dinghy back on board and scoffed some food down whilst motoring out of the river, trying to chase Blue Note down who had left a couple of hours ago, but let’s save that for the next post!

Day 51 & 52: Goodbye Warren

Day 51 & 52: Goodbye Warren

We headed back to our favorite, and the cheapest marina in Vigo (Liceo Marítimo de Bouzas) the day before Warren needed to catch his flight.

Land chores were the theme of the day with showers for everyone, multiple loads of washing at the launderette nearby, and a big boat clean.

For Warren’s last night, we headed for a fishy meal out, and boy were we in for a treat.

The next morning Warren headed off. We will miss him, his cake baking, and also his wonderful readings of The Hobbit.

Chapter 5 of The Hobbit, read by Warren.

We ended up servicing the engine, all filters, belts and an oil change. A job well done! 🧑‍🔧

Engine oil being pumped out into a bottle

We also went to every chandlery we could find in Vigo, only to find that the only money we spent was in the very first one. We managed to pick up a few small items, but not the large haul of deck caulking that we really wanted.

Leaving the marina we spotted Blue Note and passed the bag they left aboard Hannah over with a boat hook as we passed by.

Conveniently the fuel barge on the way out of the marina, outside Marina Davila Sport was still just about open (it closes at 10pm) so we topped up the tanks.

We sailed for about 5 minutes but had to motor most of the way across the river to another of our known anchorages, the same anchorage as Day 46 for some shuteye before trying to get down to Porto in a week. At least it was flat and pretty.

Day 48: Feelin foggy

Day 48: Feelin foggy

We all woke up a little late, and a little tired after our previous long day of sailing.

But wanting to make the most of the morning wind, we set off within the hour.

We wanted to move anchorage to avoid the changing swell and wind, and had also recently acquired a navigation permit for the nearby islands that are nature reserves, which we wanted to get a little closer to. (Guide for how to get this permit coming up soon).

As we sailed we applied for an anchorage permit which was approved instantly, so our anchorage was set :). (Also guide for this coming soon)

We considered looping the island, but this may have taken too long, so instead sailed across the top and back again.

We lost sight of the island half way through the sail due to the fog.

But thankfully as we neared the beach we wanted to anchor at we were actually in a nice and sunny hole in the fog. So after anchoring we headed to the beach.

Warren was cooking for the night, and we had a delicious Fabada cooked in the pressure cooker.

Suddenly, a knock a knock on the hull! Our neighbours from Blue Note had come over to see if we fancied a drink.

We took them up on their offer, suggesting they come back in 45 minuites after we had finished with food and packing things up.

A drink, or 4, were had.

We exchanged stories, and it turns out they had seen us at our previous day’s anchorage, and watched us picking Warren’s hat out of the water prior to anchoring.

Hopefully we will see them again soon as we all plan on being in Vigo on the 9th.