In our Ocean of Blue

After the news that James’ sister was recovering from her heart…issues, we were determined to keep on moving forthwith. The internet access at Santa Maria gave us weather forecasts and we were sure we could sail, with relative comfort, to Madeira. If that was too much upwinding, we’d just skip the anchorage and travel on to the Canaries.

One last sunset at sea...ha
Sailing away from the setting sun

Meanwhile, distance creates perspective and one of the things we pondered on the next leg of our life’s journey was the following proposition: Human people are anchors.

In Praia, we met a M/F couple that said some things and made some moves in the direction of friendship that ultimately turned out to be the same old ‘Merican bullshit. Ill will, fake chill, and lies…just like the accumulated history of the country we ran away from. These old and old school propagandists of a past that never existed, who came to a place they don’t belong, to do an antiquated appropriation… Oh, never mind. We were hurt because we trusted those assholes. Fool us again if you must, but we can’t give up the entire concept of friendship because we believe in the ongoing evolution of our species. No, really, we think that someday we’ll grow out of this cycle of petro-evil and ultimately we, the humans, will find a life of balance on this planet that so generously supports our kind. A kind of human who can see a future without a military base in every paradise.

Working Lovebot
LoveBot rocking the course

Our time in Santa Maria was spent getting loose of the ties we wanted to shake and newly establishing the ones we wanted to maintain. It’s not always easy to make sure we keep people we like in our lives while letting the others fade away.

Ilha Santa Maria
Anchored in the morning

Being at anchor, we were at home. The surroundings were bizarre, but inspiring.

The Bluffs abaft
Volcanic inspirations

We did a repair on the cracked tiller and on the starboard handrail that broke while underway, and then we left.

James on the bow leaving Santa Maria
Checking the ground tackle

We left Santa Maria and the Azores chain for the uncertain welcome of further European-claimed islands of the Atlantic flow.

two reefs down...
Dude with a double-reefed mainsail

Even exploring the landscapes of the islands of Madeira was less attractive because of the ant-lines of tiny humans lacing each trail from before dawn to well after sundown, but our distanced view from the anchorage provided all the stunning views we could have wanted.

Sunrise on Maderia
Ocean rocks

There was no going ashore in Madeira being as though it’s a Portuguese territory and over the past winter we’d outstayed our welcome in that country. The plan was to put the hook down, sneak ashore, provision up and get some weather data at the nearest free wifi hook up and then get back to the boat before the local Policia noticed us. Well, the cops rolled up on us before we could even launch the little boat and asked a bunch of the wrong questions so we opted out of plan-A and moved on the next day.

The sky at sea
At sea again

It was an offshore adventure to be sure, the “Big Blue” kind of shit.

A living fur crotch-warmer
Living crotch-warmer

We headed east and south over our ocean of blue and didn’t see a single vessel on AIS for the first 24 hours out of Medeira Grande but, as we made our approach to a certain civilization, the traffic practically exploded on the screen of our navigation-technology. At one point I (James) actually saw, with my own eyes, 12 AIS signatures around us with 8 of them being ships in excess of 200m (600ft) traveling at 12 knots or more.

One night (I can’t remember which one), I got to sail in 25 knots of wind with a double-reefed main and a hanky-yanky while a 1000ft tanker came at us at 13 knots in the dark. I called them to let them know we were the radar return that didn’t have an AIS signature and they thanked me profusely and changed their course ever so slightly to avoid killing us.

...Sailor's delight
“A sailor’s delight”

The next day we made our approach to the Canaries. The math implied that, given a not-even-remotely-certain continuation of the wind we had then, we might arrive before dark.

Coming in cool...
Coming in cool

The acceleration zones around the islands balanced the wind’s usual diminuendo while nearing sunset, and we sailed strongly into the Playa Blanca area, the land side of which is called Yaiza.

Before dark, we had radar-measured and visually scoped the anchorage area and identified the spot most likely to give us a reasonable row into the marina while staying safe among the other anchored boats, the rock wall wings of the resort swimming area, and a batch of unexpected yellow buoys, which we later learned delineated the rental jet ski boundaries.

With the hook down and the pasta a-boil we reveled in our off shore achievement that once again we did it right!

Hook down in Lanzarote
logging the adventure

So much sleep and so much love. The trip ended in pleasure, the way it had begun in our ocean of blue.

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