It wasn’t far along the coast to get back to Dartmouth from Falmouth. In order to arrive before lunch on the 28th (our plan), we wanted to get along the coast as much as possible, so headed on to Salcombe.
The weather wasn’t as clear as for our arrival in the UK, so all of our pictures ended up being a little washed out.
Nevertheless, the sail was lovely, we followed a pretty straight line, avoiding a lighthouse, a bouy and a navy ship.
Our night in Salcombe was peaceful, and the harbour master recognized Hannah from before her paint job, so before we set off.
We didn’t have much wind leading Salcombe to Dartmouth, so had to motor most of the way.
We had prepared a flag chain to hoist for our final journey, which looked rather epic when we arrived in the Marina to a welcome from our families.
We unloaded most of the boat in a few hours, then headed out for lunch with the families. Heading back to Hannah the following day for a quick clean, and move back across the river dart to her trot mooring.
The boatyard that we leave the dinghy at when leaving the trot is up a side creek of the river and dries out totally at low tide.
We cut the timing of the tide far too tight (not used to all this tidal stuff after our year in the Caribbean), and Kathryn had to wade through the mud in the final meters so that we could pull the dinghy to the dock.
It’s currently the 8th, and we are indeed leaving the BVIs today ⛵⛵⛵.
As we are writing this post we have already been sailing for an hour, and are currently still within internet range and the protection of the islands.
Come 10pm (6hour time) we should be out in the open ocean for the first time in quite a while.
Our day in Road Town was a success, and our marina time was well worth it.
We went out for a final on land dinner last night, that we also didn’t need to cook (lots of cooking coming up during the crossing), and got an early night.
The hunger had really set in, so we failed to get any picture of our main courses. But you can see the pizza that we also ordered, in preparation for having leftovers to take with us.
During the morning of the 8th we did 3 washing machines full of laundry in the marina, bought an additional 200USD of food including fresh veggies, stowed the dinghy, generally cleaned the boat up and put things away, filled out water tanks for the last time and downloaded as much entertainment as we could from the internet!
As 2pm approached we had a little dip in the marina pool, had our first and last on land showers for quite a while, paid up the marina fees and got the Hannah on the move!!!
Good bye to the BVIs, and helllow open ocean.
We will be blogging on the way with help from Ollie (who joined us in Antigua), so keep an eye out for posts in the coming weeks.
Remember, you can follow us using the various tracking links / maps at the top of this site (Predict wind and Garmin will be the best while crossing), and you can even send us messages there.
We weren’t planning on spending 2 weeks in the Mindelo marina, but we ended up deciding to do a bunch of boat jobs, including fitting a new solar panel, while also waiting for a weather window that started off with some days of less than 2.5m swell.
We also planned on heading out to the anchorage to wait for this window, but with everything, we were doing aboard, the extra convenience of being able to walk off the boat onto the dock was amazing. And the marina was too expensive.
Mindelo marina, pontoon B, featuring Extres and Danae
A short taxi ride from the marina on the south side of the island was a little bay well known for its turtles.
We are not sure if the turtles naturally like coming to this bay, we heard that the locals of the beach treat them a little bit like pets feeding them etc (not ideal), which probably explains why they are always there and why the spot has touristy “turtle tours” etc.
Nonetheless, we went to check out the beach and turtles without the tour, and we were not disappointed, getting some of our best underwater turtle pics and vids yet.
This beach and experience were slightly ruined by a “crazy lady” that was at the beach swearing at people and even throwing rocks at 1 group of girls… No idea what was happening here, but everyone left the beach safely at the end of the day…
Santo Antão is the westernmost island of Cape Verde. We didn’t anchor there (not sure if you are actually allowed), so instead got up early in the morning with a group of Dutch friends to get the ferry over to the island.
We were once again following other folks to and around the island, meaning we would have to do less thinking for ourselves! Great!
Arriving at the island we headed for a coffee before then hunting around for a decent price taxi to get us to the top of the island.
And it was a great idea to get this taxi, as the journey took us up rather high and would have taken hours to walk or bus to etc.
The road up to the top of the island was rather beautifully paved but was cobblestone, so riding in the back of a pickup truck was interesting at times.
As we got higher the air began to cool, it was wonderful.
Once at the top of the island we could walk up and out of the canyon, an down the other side of the island, where the same taxi would be waiting for us at the beach.
The walk was absolutely beautiful, the canyon was full of greenery, and as we descended the far side of the island we were surrounded by irrigated fields, trees, plants, and animals.
We stopped for lunch at a little restaurant in a town before the beach where we had spaghetti for 10. Realizing we were slightly behind schedule we had to grab another taxi for the last 45 minutes of walking, down toward the beach we were being collected from.
Spotting our actual taxi (the pickup truck) halfway toward the beach, we got out and switched over.
The journey back around the island was just as beautiful. We would see the rather small swell coming in from the north, ideally, this is what we would be setting off in in the coming days.
While we were in Mindelo, the world cup was in full swing.
This led to multiple trips to the local Irish sports bar to watch the Netherlands play with our friends (and England of course).
Just up the road, there was a very tasty ice cream shop.
We also had multiple meals out in various groups, and many many many beers at the floating bar in the Marina.
Arriving in Mindelo was quite interesting, as we arrived 30 minutes before the ARC+ set off to cross the Atlantic.
As we approached Mindelo, our chart was going crazy with the 100-200 boats that were setting off all appearing.
Thankfully we took our sails down with plenty of time to avoid needing to do this around all of the other boats.
We tried to avoid crossing the start line which was between the NE breakwater and a bouy in the middle of the bay, so we snuck around the north side and then motored around all of the boats that were either putting their sails up or already had them up.
Extress who arrived 20 minutes before us had already navigated all of the boats radioed us on VHF to let us know where they were, as they had found a nice spot to watch the start from with Danae.
It was quite an interesting little route, and we nearly strayed into a dredging area once, but we made it before the start, and we were right next to the SW start bouy.
It’s quite crazy seeing hundreds of boats, many of which are sailed by amateurs, holding back from a start line waiting to cross.
The race started! And it was already clear who might have a chance of winning! (See if you can spot them in the video below)
And indeed, they did cross the ARC+ finish line first after just 9 and a bit days.
Once the start line was clear, we headed into the marina with Danae and Extress. It was amazingly empty after the race started, but throughout the day it would progressively fill with the next wave of boats looking to make the crossing.
This was our first time mooring Mediterranean style, but all went smoothly. We decided to come in bow first next to a lovely German boat called Beagle, got our lines attached on the bow, pulled back, and sorted out the rest.
We ended up with quite a few lines on the front, all with anti-chafe and anti-chafe for the anti-chafe in various places as we found this marina to move around quite a lot.
And when we wondered around the marina, we saw that Maiden was also in the marina!
Maiden is a 58 foot aluminium ocean racing yacht built in 1979, designed by Bruce Farr and raced by Pierre Fehlmann, Bertie Reed and Tracy Edwards and John Bankart. Edwards bought the yacht in 1987 to compete in the 1989–90 Whitbread Round the World Race with an all-female crew.
Fully recovered from what ended up being a long, slightly swell-themed sail, we started heading down the coast of Lanzarote.
We hadn’t visited a marina in almost 3 weeks, so really wanted a decent shower. Puerto Calero looked a good distance away and could be a good starting point for getting to Fuerteventura. So off we went
This was mostly an easy downwind sail, with a little rain to start…
We called the marina on VHF 9, they quickly responded and said we could stay for 2 nights.
First, they had us moor on the fuel pontoon to fill out paperwork.
Before then moving to one of the most expensive accidents waiting to happen (between 2 million pound catamarans) alongside the pontoon.
Fortunately, we pulled off a smooth docking without a hitch.
Kathryn was still crazing pizza, as we didn’t find one in La Graciosa, so this was top of our list.
There was a little place called MargaRita on the other side of the marina, and the pizza there was truly amazing.
The marina we chose was the last resort after trying the other marinas first who said they were full for our chosen days, to our surprise though it was the best marina we’ve ever been to! And what really did make it awesome was the bathrooms, it’s funny how you take something so mundane for granted when you live in a house. Well, this marina had home-from-home private bathrooms with his and hers double sinks, waterfall showers and two even had huge bathtubs, which we obviously made the most of! We didn’t get a perfect picture of the baths, but you can see a screenshot from a video to the right.
The staff were great, and the marina was all being fully renovated with new pontoons installed in 2020, so it was all very shmancy but also surprisingly cheap.
We had a bit of confusion booking, we both emailed but got no reply (our email went to spam) and called, but got not email confirmation after. Upon arriving we had 2 bookings! Luckily we only paid for 1 😉
On approach to the marina be carefull not to stray into the runway approach as the port channel markers are not currently in the water. The satalite view on maps show this as Mediterranean moorings, however we were alongside a pontoon, and other around us had fingers. We were right outside reception.
The marina is well located, a middle sized supermarket selling Tesco products open every day, and a 15 minuite walk away a giant Morrisons. Water and electricity is included in the mooring fee, and for a 11.5m monohull we paid £28 a night for 5 nights. There is construction work going on around but we didn’t find it annoying. Lots of restaurants and places to have a drink. Shepard’s chandelry is awesome, we went there at least 5 times while doing various boat jobs. The staff are very helpful. There are laundry facilities in the building next to reception. £4.50 for washing, £1.50 for drying. Also a vending machine with some cold drinks.
Fuel was cheap at £1.19 /L for Diesel from Gib oil a few meters from the marina reception. We got some as we left the marina. As everyone else said the bathrooms are great, make use of the baths!!! (In Alpha and Beta). 10/10, would head there again
The grand tin reorganization
While in Gibraltar we took some time restocking our dry goods and tin collection from the nearby Morrisons, this included some home comforts from the UK 🙂
At the same time, we took an inventory of all food aboard, ready for some longer crossings and to avoid needing to dig around to find things in the various storage compartments.
So many tins! We think we could probably live quite happily for a few months with this stockpile and also not get scurvy.
On top of this, we have a few KGs of pasta, rice, couscous, lentils, quinoa, noodles etc.
We spent a little time doing boat jobs.
On our last voyage into Gibraltar the bolts that hold our wind turbine in place had once again come undone despite having sent Andrew up the mast a few weeks back to do them up very tight. Our bolts went overboard this time, so we needed to locate some new bolts, and locking washers to try to keep the wind turbine attached to its mount.
We spent some time going along the steering shaft oiling and greasing all of the appropriate parts. This shaft runs from the wheel in the cockpit, down the port side of the boat through various compartments, bearings and angeled joints to the rudder stock.
Here you can see part of the shaft closest to the wheel with the autopilot in view, and the chain that allows it to steer the boat. (Perhaps we should do an autopilot tour soon)
Of course, a marina trip wouldn’t be complete without some land exploration and good food.
We ate out a few nights of our overall 5-night stay having some tasty Italian, fajitas, cocktails, fish and chips, meat skewers, burgers etc.
This included a hop back into Spain where we caught a bus all the way to Marbella which is slightly further east into the Mediterranean, to make use of a voucher at a restaurant that Adam had acquired.
We also headed up “the rock” to take in some amazing views and to watch the monkeys at sunset.
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!
We were planning on hopping to another anchorage down the coast but decided to have a day of exploration and relaxation instead.
The beach was lovely and long, and the sun was out. Needless to say we didn’t manage to walk the multiple kms of the entire length but instead got distracted trying to make our very own TikTok… (yes we know we are behind the trend but it’s still hilarious!)
Next stop, Póvoa de Varzim, a 37 nautical mile venture south.
We needed to time leaving the river at the point of least tidal flow which happened to be early in the morning.
I’ll avoid putting the exact time here, as to be honest I’m not sure. We had tide schedules in Azores summertime while being on the border of Portugal and Spain.. confusing, to say the least!
The tide dictated our exit from the river, and this put us out to sea without much wind. This led to a very wiggly and slow venture out to sea, before the wind swung and started to pick up guiding us toward our goal.
The sailing part of this hop was rather uneventful.
The fishing however was very interesting…
Catching a lobster pot
In the hour after leaving the river mouth, we came very close to a lobster pot buoy that was also connected to 2 other small buoys. We managed to mostly avoid the small buoys with the boat, however, the fishing line that was out at the time got snagged on a line between the 2 smaller buoys.
To retrieve our tackle we had to tack around, turn on the engine and approach the buoys with the motor on, managing to grab them out of the water and cut the needed bits of line.
Upon untangling the mess of line from our own lures, we found that we had acquired another hook with some line attached that must be from another boat that had got snagged on the same small buoys in the previous days.
Catching a seagull
About halfway through the journey, the line started reeling out a little then stopping. Almost like a fish bite that didn’t get hooked. It happened again and at the same time, Daisy said “What’s that seagull doing”.
Our lure must have caught some weed and surfaced, only to have a seagull dive on the lure thinking it was some tasty fishy food.
The engine went on once again, and another tack back to reel in this seagull without actually reeling it in and causing too much damage. We managed to pull the seagull out of the water, cover its head with a towel and slowly remove 2 hooks from it, one in the beak and one in its wing.
The caught seagul
After giving its wounds a rinse down with some sterile eyewash we put it on the foredeck and it quickly took flight heading for land, poor seagull, luckily we think it will be fine.
We wandered around the festival, bought some cake and generally had a look at what was going on.
But the main attraction would be the fireworks, which were being set off from the middle of the marina. In the picture below you can see the pontoons for the fireworks very close to the catwalk of the marina where the photo is taken from.
We decided to watch the fireworks from this calm and quiet marina location, and it’s one of the largest, loudest, and best firework experiences we have ever had.
The fireworks were so close you really couldn’t fit them all in your field of view at once.
Here is a little snippet from near the end of the show.
Journey to Leixões
The next hop on our way to Porto was Leixões.
One of the things that we had been worrying about in Portugal was the police possibly kicking out of anchorages, but we had no such problem in Caminha, so could only hope that the reviews we had seen on Navily were the exception rather than the norm. Leixões had a similar review saying that a boat had been told to move at 3am from the anchorage in the Port.
Our journey was another short hop down the coast. We probably should have left a little earlier as we arrived in Leixões after dark.
We anchored right in the corner of the anchorage, near 2 other boats and had no issues for the night.
When entering be aware that large ships may be entering or exiting the port. The anchorage is in the corner of the main area of the port, just the other side of the marina wall in a shallower area 2-4m chart depth. We anchored easily, close to the wall and out of the way of any ship movements and spent the night with 2 other boats (a Tri and another monohull), probably would have been room for another 4-6 boats without getting in the way of things. Good protection, though you will get some wake from pilot boats occasionally. There is some noise in the port, but we had a good sleep. Very muddy bottom when pulling the anchor up, lots of mud came up. No sign of the police, I can imagine if you anchor too far out they might ask you to move, we dropped anchor at 41°11.102N, 8°42.335W with the other 2 boats to our NW
We primarily anchored in Leixões so that we could be as close as possible to Porto without actually being in Porto.
The sail the next day was only around 4 nautical miles and we were in Porto before 8am!
But let’s leave everything about Porto for the next post!
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.
For the first time there were 4 of us aboard for the morning breakfast routine. Everything is different with more people, new spaces need to be found, more seats needed and extra beds created.
We got a taxi to see some of the city, aiming for some sort of festival, but we were a bit early for the party with the stage and fair still being set up. The views at the top of the hill were great, however.
The only sensible thing to do after being up high is to head back down low, so we walked to the closest beach which was in some sort of old military area where we saw the acronym ETEA everywhere.
A few ice creams and drinks later it was time to head back to the marina to prepare for our final guest arrival, Andrew.
As with Daisy and Warren, Andrew was flying to Porto, getting a coach to Vigo, followed by a taxi to the marina, arriving at 8:45pm ish.
We had prepared a grand paella feast for Andrews arrival and the completion of the crew for the next week.
Image of paella, courtesy of Daisy
Wanting to not spend a second night in a marina we also hopped across the river to an anchorage not too far away for the night.