The Voyage South- By Martin Blouet : Logbook Tres Hombres
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The Voyage South- By Martin Blouet

by the Crew of Tres Hombres on 12/18/12

DATE:17.12.12  GMT:1950  POS:14 49 18  N,  25 30 09 W COG:270  SOG:7.9



The voyage South, by Martin Blouet

Wow!!! Already on the Archipelago of Cabo Verde, and so much things to tell since my last weblog, just before France. Let's make a resume.

After few days in Douarnenez, eating Crepes, initiating everyone to the full joy of true, salt, butter and to the famous Kouign Aman, it was time to say good bye to my country and more, to my family. The feeling was different this time than when I left them to go to the Netherlands. I don't really know why. But I felt sad, sad to know my whole family will be together when I'll be without them. But I'll be crossing the Atlantic… Feeling reinforced by the fact that my parents gave me a packet to open in Christmas… I feel like all the sailors which I admire so much and who are racing around the world during Christmas. Now, it's my turn!... Here I am not alone, and this is what I prefer. 

We left Douarnenez by night and rapidly made very good speed. Course to the South, 25 knots of wind, 3 meters waves growling behind us. So cool to surf! The bay of Biscay is a formality, we just crossed it. The descent along the cost of Spain and Portugal is more tricky becease of a complicated weather system. Unfortunately, we took the wrong option of the two possible and got stuck in low winds for two days. But it was not so much of a problem, with sunny weather and 20°C… Then we finally arrived in Cascais, Portugal. We spend more than one week in this (too much) touristic city. One week to do maintenance, to discover Lisboa, having party and making new friends. We met an international crew from a boat, Juan Sebulan, sailing to Ushuaia. They are very funny and play lots of games on the boat. For example, they take a paper write the theme of the day on it. This could something like astronauts, pirates, hairs and so on. We had the chance to see them again, because the three next ports of call were in common.

These days in Cascais where very nice, but we are not on holiday and cargo is waiting for us in different places in the world. So we left Cascais for Madeira, with lots of new guests. The first night was amazing. Wind force 7 maybe 8 in a huge gale. I was in the aft, trying to deal with my seasickness (again!!!), when I just felt the ship heeling more and more, and with just the light of the aft I saw the rain going horizontal and everything was white around me. What an introduction! After 24h the weather became better, we just had a few waves crashing and covering the deck. It's funny to be on the windward side, talking and looking at the sea (so not paying attention to the waves) and then just hearing a big ''boom'' against the hull and having a sea water shower a moment after that. Actually, with water of 22°C it could be a lot worse.
When the seasickness was gone, after about one day, we (I was not alone) felt like we had been seasick and at sea for one week… Ruurd, the first mate, elected me as the most convinced seasick person. Because of the noise! To everyone I have inconvenienced (or maybe will) I am sincerely sorry!!!

Then normal life began again. Climbing to the top of the mast, by night with a huge number of stars. I almost jumped to touch them. No I am kidding, I was too busy to hold myself to the yard because of the waves. The waves and the sea now have a beautiful deep and clear blue colour.

Then Madeira came in sight and we arrived by night. Strange to see this huge amount of light, the mountain, the airport build on a bridge.
Funchal, capital of the huge cruising ship? The first day we said '' Yes cool, here it's true people, no tourists''. The next morning 4 cruising ships with thousands of tourists where moored in the harbor… No comment!

We enjoy life in Madeira, discovering the specialty, walking in the forest under the rain and in the clouds while it's sunny and 25°C near the boat. We met again the crew from Juan Sebulan. That make everyone happy.
After few ( too short cause I didn't had so much time to visit the island) days it was already time to leave for a new destination, more south, the Canaries Island. 

Life on the ship is ''very difficult'', because we are sailing with the wind pushing us and the square sails almost the whole ship is in the shadow during a big part of the day. So instead of 25°C we ''just'' have 20°C. We really have reason to complain. No actually, I consider myself as one of the most lucky man in the world.
The trip to the Canarie Islands is easy travelling. Nice nights full of stars ( we even saw a sort of meteor falling and ending its life just before the water), warm and sunny days, dolphins playing with the bow... Stuck in low winds for almost two days we jumped out of the ship… Water of 23°C, 3200 m of depth, blue clear water, Warm and sunny weather, island of La Palma in view,  Life is beautiful! (And I feel sorry for my family and friends who are in Europe where it's cold and raining).

La Palma, also known as Isla La Bonita. As always, one watch works on the boat for one day, meanwhile the second shift is free. The whole crew gets free to go to visit the artisanal rum ALDEA factory. The 15th years old rum will be part of our cargo. We really enjoyed this day, almost everyone together, visiting the area, drinking good rum and swimming.AFter that we got some time to discover a nice dark sand beach in the foot of a huge cliff, and a nice rain forest. Than it was time to leave for Cabo Verde. Just the name makes me dream. I can't explain it.

Sowe , around 850 miles to go, course to approximately 200° . Something like 10 minutes after leaving the harbor, we already are at 8 knots. Welcome in the trade wind, 15 to 20 knots, North east… Perfect!!! We kept a huge average speed of 9 knots for 4 days, making some surf at 11.5 knots. 

The Tres Hombres is not only the only sailing cargo without engine, it's also a ''rocket ship''. Few weeks ago, while having bad condition, I understood why human invented the airplane. Now, with this speed, 25°C, even with the grey clouds, I am just wondering why human use plane and not sailing vessels.

Around 60 miles before the harbor of Mindelo in the Island of Sao Vicente we reduced the sails, to arrive by daylight. Even with just 3 sails set we were still sailing at 5 knots.
This trip was the longest sailing trip, in distance, of my life, but not the longest one in time.

Than it was time to discover the Archipelago of Cabo Verde, after so many years of dreaming about it…It was the 1st of December, by a quite clear night. I woke up for my watch and the first thing I saw was a huge island, very dark in the top of the ocean. Then the island appeared more clearly, rough, desert… What a view. After slowly arriving in the bay we all understood why it was so important to arrive with the daylight. Dozens of  sailing yachts and of old fishing vessels, some wrecks… Tricky arrival.
I heard the next island, Sao Antao was beautiful. It was enough to make me jump in the local ferry to go there. The side of the island when the ferry arrived was completely dry, desert. But after few minutes of driving, in the top of the volcano, the island showed another face, green, humid. I just had the time to walk few hours, but with this landscape it was enough to blow my mind out. I came back to the ship very very happy, crazy and super excited! I will have to go back, at least two weeks to explore all the beauty of this island.
Everything has an end, and like all the marina (waiting to cross the Atlantic) we had to continue the journey. By consequence we set sail in a nice, warm and sunny morning, the sort of morning where it is difficult to just remember that it's winter in Europe, cold, and almost Christmas.

Full and by, heading (hum! No! let's say, trying to head) to Sal, another nice island.
We anchored on a beautiful bay, sandy beach, clear & warm water, perfect. This island is strange, cause it's flat, when all the other are like mountain. It's also the most touristic one, unfortunately. I enjoyed the area by practicing windsurfing, in perfect conditions. But the goal of coming here was first to get the new captain Arjen, and 2 new passengers. 

Than we headed towards the Island of Brava, in the South West. We had some goods to deliver there. A bite more than 150 miles which we made in 24H. We anchored on a nice bay, close from a small and nice village. 

Few things already changed on the boat, Eric is now 1st mate, Freya 2nd mate and me bosun. Lot of responsibilities. We have to get used to our different and new posts, and we will learn a lot. I am particularly looking forward the bosun's lesson by Eric, who has lot of knowledge on this domain. I am now looking forward to cross the Atlantic towards Barbados.  The voyage to the south is now over, let's change the course to the west. The journey is now: approximately 2100 miles, in the north east trade winds, Christmas at sea and if we are slow, new years eve too. The adventure continues…

Greetings from the Bosun, Martin Blouet.

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