The Caribbean!

Sooooo!! It has been a long delay for those who have been waiting for an update from The Caribbean. 

Since Jan will soon be back in the Caribbean and share new stories and pictures i will limit this post to explain the development last year. 

My focus shifted abruptly in February 2016 when i met a Swedish Inventor in Le Marin, Martinique. He told me about a groundbreaking Particle Separation Technology with potential to change how we view particle separation in general. What it means in other words: an opportunity for me to work on a technology that will diminish impact from industries across the board. Emissions, waste water and much more can be separated, sorted and reused as raw material. I began building a new webpage (www.particletrapglobal.com) for this project already while sailing the Caribbean back in February. We are now getting attention from various countries around the world and are in negotiations to start partnerships with some companies. 

Jan's and my plan to sail around the world have changed slightly, Jan's plan is to continue sailing 6 months on, 6 months off so that he gets time to visit Sweden, his Wife, Children and Grandchildren. I will hopefully find some time to go visit Jan wherever he might be, and sail for a few weeks now and then.

For those of you who want to follow Jan's adventure can do so on his Facebook page, where he will be updating frequently during the months he's sailing. He will be back in the Caribbean in February 2017. 

This website will still be up and Jan will post on the Instagram feed, you will also be able to track Fragancia and view the live weather on the front page. 

Wish you all a Happy New Year! 

Sincerely,

Jens Liljegren

North Atlantic Ocean

Crossing an Ocean

Trying to describe what it feels like to live in a Yacht on the open ocean is difficult. I think it is much like back home where you can’t picture what the next day will look like except in “broad strokes”. The difference being that every morning when you wake up there is a constant rocking motion and the environment outside looks the same with the exception of a few visits from animals such as Whales, Dolphins, Flying fish and Sea birds. The sky with it’s majestic clouds is ever changing and the waves can be a bit challenging from time to time. Every now and then there is a few squalls - a very quick weather shift that brings with it strong winds and usually some rain - other than that it’s like being on a train track across the Ocean. You have a set course and set schedules for when to swap crew for some well needed breaks.

Most of the time there is nothing that needs immediate attention so people get a lot of time to talk, tend the fishing lines, read books, listen to podcasts/audiobooks, write etc. We had a satellite connection on board so we were able to send/receive emails and be in contact with the world even out there on the big blue.

I will let the pictures speak for themselves here and add some text from the other crew members for some different point of views! (The stories will be in Swedish because i don't want to change their words to much, for english speaking readers you can copy the text into https://translate.google.com/ and get a translation there, please note that the translations will be messed up a bit by the translator but should be somewhat understandable anyhow.)

Jan Malmberg

“Seglingen över Atlanten blev i tre etapper. Den första från Lagos i Portugal till Pasito Blanco på Gran Canaria. Den etappen tog 6 dygn. Det var bara Jens och jag som seglade denna sträcka. Jag minns den som ganska lugn med blandad segling och motorgång. Vi kunde bland annat segla med gennakern.

På Gran Canaria kom övrig besättning bestående av Hans König Walles, Marcus Werner och Reid Lindell. Tre unga kanonkillar visade det sig.

Vi fem fick mjuka upp med 7 dygns segling till Kap Verde-öarna. Också denna segling var relativt lugn med lagom vindar. Gruppen växte samman till nästan en familj! Vi firade till exempel Lucia i gästhamnen i Mindelo på São Vicente. Grabbarna ordnade bland annat med uppvaktning av skepparen med kaffe på sängen!

Efter knappt en vecka i Kap Verde seglade vi ut på vår tredje och sista etapp över Atlanten. Från Kap Verde till Martinique i Västindien. 2100 sjömil. Det tog 15 dygn. Tiden spelade till slut ingen roll. Man kom in i en tidlös tillvaro där jag trivdes toppenbra med gänget och tillvaron. Träning tillsammans på solmadrassen, klättring i masten med val- och delfinspaning. Matlagning och goda middagar. Biokvällar tillsammans i salongen. Julafton med tomte och julklappsutdelning. Jullunch med sill och nubbe. Disneyfilm klockan tre! Med sega skumtomtar!

Valen 'Valfrid' följde oss i flera dygn och dessutom återkom några gånger. Vi fick även besök av en annan val!

Vi såg flygfisk och fiskade upp en stor tonfisk som räckte i flera dagar!
Pannlampsdisco en kväll och lite vin medan atlantdyningarna gungade dansgolvet!
Den härliga angöringen av Martinique på själva Nyårsafton! Vi kryssade hela vägen genom viken i Le Marin till bryggan! Där stod Jens bror Nicholas och väntade på oss! Sedan åt vi en god Nyårsmiddag i Marinan!

Det bästa av allt var den härliga stämningen ombord med toppenfina killar i besättningen! Det går inte att få ihop ett bättre gäng! Vi fem var det bästa gäng som någonsin seglat över Atlanten!!! 😊👍😄
Ett stort mål var uppnått och vi kände alla en stor tillfredsställelse, glädje och stolthet att vi lyckats genomföra seglingen så bra utan missöden.

För min del var det något extra att segla över Atlanten med egen båt. Jag har gjort det förut några gånger men då på annan båt.
För Jens och mig kändes det skönt att vi efter all planering, jobb och allt kämpande tillsammans lyckats nå målet att segla över en Ocean till en annan Världsdel!

Tack Jens!
Vi gjorde det!!! 😀😀😀
Guadeloupe mars 2016“

Marcus Werner

"Mina vänner på S/Y Svea (Albin vega) hade valt att avsluta den mödosamma resan på Gran Canaria men jag var fortfarande nyfiken på hur Atlanten skulle vara och jag hade fått erbjudandet av Janne och Jens på Fragancia att segla vidare på S/Y Fragancia. Jag tog erbjudandet och mönstrade nu på detta enorma skepp (i jämförelse med Svea då). Utöver mig så hade även Reid Lindell, 23 och Hans König Walles, 26 bestämt sig för att resa i snigelfart till Västindien. Efter en behaglig segling till Kap Verde och ett par veckors teambuilding var det så dags för seglingen med stort S. 

Efter att alla förberedelser var gjorda så kastade vi till slut loss den 16:e December med siktet inställt på Barbados eller Martinique beroende på hur tidsplanen skulle hålla. 

Jag och Jens tog på oss att ta nattskiften tillsammans, 22-06. Redan första morgonen kände jag att det skulle bli en tuff resa, värmen var påträngande och värre skulle det bli ju närmre Karibien vi kom. Havet gör luften fuktig och det i sin tur gör att sängkläder och dylikt får en förmåga att klibba sig fast i huden. Jag lyckades sova fyra timmar första morgonen och det blev nog ungefär där snittet hamnade på hela överfarten.

Dagarna till sjöss blir väldigt inrutade av förklarliga skäl, det finns helt enkelt inte så mycket att göra där ute bland vågorna. Jag hade ett träningsschema jag försökte följa varje dag som bestod av armhävningar, situps och armträning med gummiband, 100 repetitioner av varje. Då var en timme av ungefär tjugo fylld. Läsning och solning på däck var nog det jag ägnade mig mest åt på min lediga tid. Kvällstid efter middagen samlades vi ofta allihopa och tittade på film nere i ruffen, ett trevligt inslag som gjorde den efterkommande vakten lite lättare.

Vartefter vi kom närmre Karibien insåg vi mer och mer att vi inte skulle tjäna någon tid på att vika av söderut mot Barbados utan satsa på att hinna hela vägen till Martinique i tid till Nyårsafton. Där skulle vi möta Jens bror och det vore ju trist för honom att fira nyår ensam. De sista dagarna höjde vi tempot på seglingen lite av den anledningen. Fulla ställ dagtid och 8-9 knop var inte ovanligt, nattetid seglade vi enbart med focken dock pga kortvariga stormbyar som snabbt kunde överraska oss.

De sista fyra-fem dagarna till havs hade man hunnit bli ganska sliten och längtan efter att få sätta sin fot på fast mark började bli riktigt stark. Så såg vi då äntligen land på förmiddagen den 31 december och några timmar senare klev vi i land i Le Marin på Martinique. Jag hade nått mitt mål och en enorm känsla av tillfredsställelse och stolthet infann sig, nu kunde jag flyga hem till Sverige igen och känna att jag genomfört något riktigt stort."

Hans König Walles

"Jag och Janne känner varandra från Oceanseglarklubben. Vi satt tillsammans förra våren och räknade på de hopplösa tidvatten-cyklerna som styrs av tre interagerande planet-cyklerna som gör livet oproportionerligt svårt i klassrummet i kontrast till hur lite det bekommer en ute på Atlanten. Janne berättade om sin plan på att ge sig ut på en jorden-runt segling och att han höll på att utrusta båten.

En sen kväll efter ett kurstillfälle åkte vi ut för att titta på båten där den låg i marinan under presenningar medan diverse installationer fortlöpte. När vi kom ut till marinan upptäckte Janne att han glömt nyckeln till marinan hemma och det var ingen personal på plats så vi kunde inte ta oss in genom grinden. Men när vi hade kommit så långt ville vi inte ge upp så vi kröp under ett hål i staketet och tog oss in på området. När vi kom fram till båten upptäckte Janne att han dessutom gett sina båtnycklar till hantverkarna så vi kunde inte komma in i båten. Så utan minsta bevis för att det verkligen var Jannes båt vi stod på tänkte jag att det här är antingen en utstuderad mytoman som planerar att kapa någon annans båt, eller en sann visionär som faktiskt kommer att göra det alla andra bara drömmer om. Det visade sig tillslut att Janne var det sistnämnda och jag bestämde mig för att följa med på atlantöverfarten kommande vinter. Jag mönstrade på Fragancia i slutet av November när Janne och gänget tagit sig till Gran Canaria.

Det var välkommet att avsluta året med en seglats utan kontakt med omvärlden efter en intensiv höst som projektledare på Scania. Jag kände mig själsligt fattig efter att inte ha hunnit ägna mig så mycket åt filosofi som jag brukar, så jag kunde knappt vänta på att få kasta mig över den digra samlingen böcker och föreläsningar jag fyllt min väska och iPad med. Det var den längsta sammanhängande ledigheten för mig på 10 år. Jag hade två punkter på min bucket list som jag absolut ville ha uppfyllda. För det första ville jag dra upp en tonfisk och för det andra ville jag se valar. Innan vi kastade loss från Gran Canaria hade vi förberett oss med lämpliga drag, 1000 m fiskelina för 37 kg och en tonfisk-krok. Jag och Reid hade åkt motorcykel över hela ön och finkammat sportfiskebutikerna för att hitta en som hade tillräckligt stora doningar dagen innan vi gav oss av. Något som slog mig när vi var ute på havet i den 14 m långa båten var hur pass bra det gick att hålla sina dagliga rutiner, något Janne och Jens verkligen blivit experter på. Allting som man gör på land kan man även göra på en segelbåt i kompakt version. En fem-rums villa i två plan med dubbla toaletter, kök, gym och terass med havstomt och egen brygga i mini-format. Jag skulle åka vasaloppet när jag kom hem och behövde träna. Det var inga problem trots bristen på snö. Jag kom in i mina dagliga rutiner som innebar att jag tog över vakten antingen 3 eller 6 på morgonen när det fortfarande var helt mörkt. Jag tog plats i sittbrunnen och lyssnade på inspelade föreläsningar tills det ljusnade. Så fort solen gjorde en antydan att börja stiga upp riggade jag fiskerevarna bakom båten. En till höger och en till vänster, draggandes bakom båten. Jag hade gjort en anordning med fastknutna bjällror för att höra när reven sträcktes när vi fick napp. När linorna var riggade körde jag dagens träningspass. Jag hade köpt en gummi-kord på Kap Verde som jag knutit fast i masten. Jag stod på solmadrassen och tränade stakning med gummi-korden medan solen gick upp tills det brände i triceps och lats. På eftermiddagarna var det armhävningar, situps och curls med gummi-korden dubbelvikt under en fot. Eftermiddagspasset brukade jag köra tillsammans med Janne. Vi badade ett fåtal gånger under seglingen. Det är nedslående att läsa wikipedias artikel om vithajen. Utbredningsområde i princip hela jordklotet utom de kalla haven. Jag hade på förhand tänkt på risken för haj-attacker, men hade en strategi för att undvika detta. Rimligtvis måste de hinna sikta in sig på sina byten, och när det gäller människor som de är ovana vid måste de säkert ta sig en funderare med sina små valnötshjärnor innan de attacker. De kan inte ligga direkt under ytan som gillrade råttfällor redo att slå till så fort man hoppar i vattnet. Så min strategi var att köra snabba dopp och hoppa upp på båten innan eventuella hajar hunnit bestämma sig för att attackera. Max 1 minut i vattnet, sedan upp. Alla tog sig över Atlanten utan hajbett, så antingen fungerade strategin eller så fanns det helt enkelt inga hajar i närheten när vi badade. Jag fick bägge mina förhoppningar uppfyllda. Ett par dagar efter att vi lämnat Kap Verde fick jag en tonfisk på ca 10 kg på en av revarna. Jag halade in den och Janne spetsade den med tonfisk-kroken. Det som överraskade mig när jag rensade den var hur varmt köttet var, nästan som på ett däggdjur och lika rött kött. Den räckte som middag åt oss i fyra dagar och i särklass bästa vi gjorde med den var tonfisk-tacos som Jens och Marcus styrde upp med bravur i köket (särskilt eloge för att inte bara kunna improvisera med råvarorna utan dessutom göra det i ett kök som konstant gungar så att man behöver hålla i sig med en hand således bara har en över att sköta matlagningen med). Valen dök upp tre dagar innan julafton. Han gav sig tillkänna med en fontän-utsprutning precis intill båten på morgonen när jag satt och donade med revarna och följde med oss i fyra dagar. Han höll mig sällskap medan jag låg i sittbrunnen och läste den gamle och havet.

Reid Lindell

Det stora blå

Att börja segla ett långt ben över en ocean verkar alltid vara en blandad giv. Å ena sidan är man förväntansfull när man ger sig av; efter att ha gått och blivit otålig på land i en vecka ska man äntligen fortsätta på resan. Å andra sidan vet man att man efter bara några dagar kommer att sakna vissa saker som bara finns på land, såsom fri tillgång till färskvatten, internet, stabilt underlag och motionsspår.

Bara några dagar efter att Kap Verde bleknat vid horisonten uppstår en underlig känsla av att vara både hänförd och sysslolös. Man är mycket begränsad i sin rörlighet, och rullningen gör att saker som att äta sin gröt och samtidigt hålla koll på kaffekopp och smörgås blir besvärligt. Dagarna går åt att sola, läsa och sova. I takt med att man rör sig mindre och spenderar mycket tid i horisontellt läge är man sällan hungrig, utan frukost och middag räcker nästan alltid för att hålla sig mätt. När man ser upp från boken eller kudden så möts man av ett ständigt skiftande landskap av vågor och dyningar som det inte går att se något slut på. Ibland kan man se stim av flygfisk som hoppar genom vågor, eller små sjöfåglar som kryssar emellan dem, kanske på jakt efter just flygfisk. Det går att förlora sig i timmar i vågorna, då man verkligen blir ett med båtens rörelser i vattnet. På köpet bättras solbrännan på hela tiden när man är ovan däck, och bara man ser till att dricka rikligt med vatten är inte värmen så besvärande.

Seglingen är mycket avslappnad. Eftersom att passadvinden sällan ändrar riktning nämnvärt och vindstyrkan är genomgående stabil behöver segelsättningen sällan justeras mer än vid skymningen, då vi minskar segel för att inte överraskas av plötsliga squalls under natten, samt när vi sätter mer segel igen i gryningen. Autopiloten gör att vi bara behöver styra när vi känner för det, och utöver det är det inte mycket vi är tvungna att göra. Morgon och kväll vittjar vi fiskereven som oftast ligger ute efter båten, och somliga kvällar blir det filmvisning med gemensam middag, medans vi andra kvällar tar det mer avslappnat.

Atlantens verkliga skönhet visar sig sena kvällar och i gryningen. Eftersom att det finns ytterst lite ljusföroreningar och det nästan alltid är god sikt är stjärnhimmeln olik allt annat jag sett innan, med fler stjärnor än jag någonsin sett förut. Samtidigt som det utanför båten är kolsvart syns fler stjärnor än man någonsin sett tidigare. I gryningen lyser stjärnorna kvar i det längsta, däribland Mars och Venus som är lätta att urskilja, innan även de tynar bort i det tilltagande ljuset.

När man börjar närma sig målet på andra sidan Atlanten har dagarna flutit ihop för längesedan och det känns mycket märkligt att närma sig slutet på resan. De sista dagarna ökade vinden och vi satte mer segel, för att ha en chans att hinna till Martinique innan nyår. När man väl ser land igen är man å ena sidan full av förväntan inför att ha tillgång till internet, fast mark och obegränsat med färskvatten, men å andra sidan vet man också att det äventyr och det man kände på havet snart kommer blekna till ett minne mot civilisationens färgstarka ljus.

 

Electronics breaking down

Just thought i should add a post here explaining why there haven't been any blog updates lately. First I had a hard time finding a working internet connection which led to not being able to upload the pictures necessary to make a post about the Atlantic Crossing. Then we had a computer breakdown (I think it can be repaired by replacing the "internal power part"). We also had both our phones breaking down, one got submerged in the ocean and the other one broke down due to humidity. As i type this we're installing two new phones from our backups.

Figured i post a picture of my brother Nicholas at the tiny island on which Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) were abandoned with his hidden rum stash in Pirates of the Caribbean. Nicholas was with us for a month. More pictures and stories will come once i get the computer back in order. This will happen when i get back to Sweden around the 10th of February.

Jan will have friends, his brother and one of his son's visiting while i'm in Sweden. I'm returning in early April and then we will bring Fragancia up to Florida to be put on land during hurricane season.

 

Cabo Verde Islands

About 600 kilometers off the coast of West Africa is a large archipelago of volcanic islands which rose high above sea level some 140 million years ago. Uninhabited before the Portuguese found the islands in the late 14th century. People are a mix of African and Portuguese decent plus any other gene mixing during colonization, slave trade and trade routes. A heavy past has led to a culture that reflects back upon what have happened. The island got their independence in 1975.

We visited only two of a dozen islands; São Vicente and Santo Antão. Even though they are close in proximity the islands couldn’t be more different from each other. São Vicente where you find Mindelo and the marina we visited is a really challenging place to live, it’s dry and barren. We hired a car for two days and drove around São Vicente in just a few hours, stops for photos included. Apart from the city of Mindelo there’s only a few more minor places on the island, for the most part its just rough and rusty-colored with an outer border of black lava rock which has been pounded for ages by the atlantic swells.

Apparently they hold a carnival and a music festival on the island of São Vicente each year, unfortunately we were not there at one of such moments but it was very lively in the neighbourhoods - people playing music here and there and lots of shops and markets. At one point we heard this dramatic sounds of drums sounding all over the beachfront. Some 30-40 people were dancing and drumming, but the drums were too loud for us. We stayed and took some photos then we had to leave, I think their hearing must be a bit impaired considering how long they were staying there.

São Vicente didn’t offer any great hiking tracks as far as I could tell, but there is a peak you can drive up to. We decided to take a ferry over to Santo Antão instead having met several people telling us how beautiful and genuine it is compared to Mindelo. 

Said and done the island of Santo Antão had some next level Gran Canaria beauty, it was one of those moments where you have one day to see it all, which is impossible from both the viewpoint of actually taking it all in and getting around to all corners of the island.

Santo Antão surprised us in several ways, for starters the entire island have roads made up of chiseled squared stones, this means millions of stones and they were all brought from Portugal at some point because the rock on the island wouldn’t be tough enough - i presume - to withstand the wear and tear of traffic. People live in near-vertical valley slopes, serpentine roads and hiking paths are seen from the high peaks, north side is very lush while the south side is barren. Much like Gran Canaria.

Secondly the formations of the calderas, mountain sides at various stages of erosion and diverse vegetation made for a beautiful roadtrip through the heart of the island and around the east coast. The Portuguese had introduced pine trees and various other species of plants making it look weird in places and some of the combination of plants might not have been such a good idea to begin with according to our Swedish guide we met by chance on the morning of our arrival. (He’s not really a guide but we became friends during breakfast and he wanted to come with us, he’s been living on the island of São Vicente for 4 years!)

Everywhere around the island you find terraces with various plantations such as corn, sugar cane, bananas, papaya and so on. The terraces also help to retain the moisture from the air sweeping over the island, so even in places without agriculture there are terraces placed there for that reason.

We had about 5 days in total in the archipelago and we needed a break having sailed for 6 days from the Canary Islands, plus time to prepare for the Atlantic crossing so there wasn’t much time over for sightseeing - glad we made it to Santo Antão before we had to leave.

From what we saw of Cabo Verde it’s not a destination for people who just want to relax and sit around beaches or hotels. This place i would say is for the more adventuresome bunch, those who want to do a blend of hiking, jumping between islands and diving in to a different culture. :) 

 

 

Belated: Lagos, Portugal

We stayed for just a few days in Lagos, southern Portugal. I spent some time driving scooters with the vega crew while Janne met his old friend Erik and his wife and their sweet little dog Estrella. They live partly in Lagos on their Yacht. 

Driving two wheels again was quite a rush not having spent much time with bikes except for a year with an electric scooter as transport to work back in 2010. We drove along small roads and through villages to another town called Portimao; mediterranean-style white buildings on a limestone coast mixed with sand beaches. 

We had set our course to Portimao looking for grottoes that we had read about in Lisbon. Very beautiful place but we could only see it from above through a withered hole. The right way apparently is to take a boat tour but we didn’t have enough time to explore it fully. 

Apart from driving around a bit we spent one day stocking up for the first leg of the Atlantic crossing to the Canary Islands.

Gran Canaria, Canary islands

The sail to Gran Canaria:

On Tuesday 10th of November we left Lagos, Portugal in the afternoon. The weather forecast promised calm weather for several days!

We calculated it would take around 5 days to cross parts of the Atlantic and get to Gran Canaria. Started out with good winds making 7 knots for about 40 Nautical miles. After that we lost most wind and had to go by motor for about two days. We put up the Gennaker in the noon of the 12th and kept it that way until the sunset. We then switched to Genoa, no main. We sailed until around 01AM in the night where we lost the wind again, had to start the engine once more. 

Next evening we were surprised by a noise outside, looked up and the sea was filled with luminous Dolphins glittering from a new kind of Mareel we hadn’t seen before. All this while we had a lit candle and music in the cockpit! :) 

In the morning of the 13th we put up the genoa again using the spinnaker pole as well. We kept this setup all day, night and the day after. On the 14th we added half the main sail, the wind having changed from east to south east. We put up a preventer line on the boom so that it doesn’t move around too much. Via Satellite we hear the sad news of the happenings in Paris..

On the morning of the 15th we could spot Gran Canaria in the distance! We had a wonderful sail during the day and close to nightfall the wind disappeared, we continued by motor and witnessed a perfect sunset without any pollution in the air - making the sun stay white/yellow all the way down past the horizon! 

In the dark in the distance we can see our friend John Karlsson from my hometown with his two daughters. They were shouting and welcoming us! On the pier another friend we know were shining a light for us showing which berth to choose. Once again we were in the same marina having been in proximity back in Stockholm archipelago all winter! :)

After a few days on Gran Canaria Janne flew home to visit his family and attend a funeral. Before he left we managed to squeeze in a few days of scootering in the mountain and a visit to Las Palmas where we met some people preparing for the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers!

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Snippets from my Journal - 25th of November to 2nd of December:

“Time to get organised with this Journal Writing again. 

I have a genuinely hard time remembering what went on just a few days before the present because it is nonstop action, the days look alike so it is hard to keep them apart. Keeping a journal will probably help me collect my thoughts and give me a sense of peace too so it’s a win any way you look at it.

25th of November:

During the day of Reids arrival i had to exchange my scooter for a car because i was taking the camping gear with me, so that was the first thing i did in the morning. I went straight to Las Palmas to pick up a permit for me and Reid so that we could tent up in the great pine forest of Tamadaba on the west coast of GC. I was back on the boat around 1PM and had to do the last packing and checking of gear. 

Time went by really quickly so not long after i was on my way over to the airport to pick up Reid. Reid is a young sailor usually in a group sailing activity on the west coast of Sweden on a school ship called Atene. I thought prior he would arrive on the 26th along with Hans, but i was wrong so i asked Reid if he wanted to tent straight away when he arrived - which he was up for! 

Camping together up in a cold, windy and super moist place set the stage for a great way of getting to know each other. Solving problems in the dark of night, half and half in a cloud with the full moon of the 25th shining through and illuminating the forest. While driving up to the mountains i thought we would find a super market along the way to pick up some fuel for the camper kitchen but we didn’t. So when we arrived we decided to make a fire with wood instead. Luckily there was some pieces left there from someone being there earlier in the day. Problem was, everything was damp. To paint a picture of how damp it was; we couldn’t start a fire with toilet paper we found up there, it was so moist we had to put the lighter to it for quite a while and even then it went out over and over. 

Reid found some really thin and dry branches which we managed to dry out with a small fire and after about 1.5hr of work we finally had a working fire so that we could cook up some water and get our evening meal. This was an awesome way to get to know a new person, both the problem solving, the uncomfortable feeling of standing in strong winds trying to light a fire while getting colder and colder. Once we had the fire up we could relax and enjoy the evening before we went to sleep. 

When we arrived in Tamadaba the wind wasn’t as strong as it was later on when we tried to sleep, so quite lazily i hadn’t put up the storm lines for the tent. The ground was very solid and i had to use a big piece of wood to drive the pins into the ground. Anyhow once we were inside the wind were so strong it sounded like a continuous waterfall outside. Not long after - since i worried about the safety of the tent - we decided to go out and check everything and properly use the storm lines. Ended up securing the tent better than i ever done before. Even after securing the tent i had trouble going to sleep having flashbacks from a time back in the Swedish mountains where the wind was so strong we thought the tent would lift and carry us away. :)

I have quite an analysing mind so when it’s a rough situation at sea i have trouble sleeping too. My worry this time was that the direction of the wind would change so that we would no longer be protected by the stone wall we found shelter at. :)  

Reid slept more soundly than me but i think i managed to get 4-5 hours sleep after all which is ok. When we woke up a lady in a big pickup truck bounced in leaving a small cloud of smoke - old car with no modern exhaustion system. She told us we were camping in the wrong place, we thought the recreation area was for tenting but apparently there is a day camp area for people having a picnic and one for the camping community. Anyhow i were happy we stayed at the recreation area where this stone wall protected us from most of the wind all through the night.

26th of November:

We decided to not stick around too long in the morning and started out driving over to the tenting grounds to see what it looked like, took a short walk to the edge of the cliffs to get a view of the west coast of Gran Canaria, then we drove off inland to Tejeda to have some brunch. 

Then we drove up past Roque Nublo - one of the high peak rock formations - which was covered in clouds so we decided to move further north and down the other side to Valleseco a small town in the mountains where we did another pit stop to have a smoothie. We didn’t stick around too long but had a walk around the neighbourhood. One thing i’ve noticed in Spain and Portugal is that they sometimes place kid playgrounds in scenic places.  

After Valleseco we drove downhill to Teror on lush serpentine roads. Soon we spotted the town in the distance with all it’s white buildings on various altitudes. When we arrived in Teror the GPS tricked me into very narrow alleys which was fun because we got to see a different part of Teror - other than the main road. We made no stop in Teror and continued to Firgas further North and there we got in to a small bar and had some tapas dishes and a coffee. 

We spent an hour or so in the bar eating and talking with people. One of the tapas dishes was a local cheese made of goat milk which tasted superb so we had to ask him where we could find this cheese, apparently the supermarket have them in stock so we will try to find some for the atlantic crossing. From my experience Chevré and other goat cheese are soft, but this one tasted a bit like Parmesan and had the same texture. We also picked up some local wine in there which we planned to share with Hans the second crew member that we were gonna pick up at the Airport later that evening.

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27th of November:

Had to bring the car back to the renting place and swapped back to the scooter. The other guys wanted in on the action but unfortunately Reid hadn’t had his drivers license long enough to be driving a motorcycle. No biggie, i just had to take him around on mine. It was quite a different story having another 70KG on the bike but after a while i got used to taking turns differently and breaking earlier etc. 

Hans was mesmerised by the surroundings, and it’s no wonder because this island is such a beautiful and scenic place. We set off straight up in the mountains once more to the highest peak which again was covered in clouds and it was super cold up there. For the second time i found myself wearing to few clothes, should’ve learned the first time around but i didn’t. Both me and Hans was severely cold when we finally got down the other side of the mountain, i blocked all wind and rain so Reid behind me was pretty comfortable - he said. :) 

We will go back up there on a clear and sunny day because we got a taste for what the views would look like when there is no clouds obstructing the view. We continued north east up to Las Palmas via Telde to visit the Vega-guys who had arrived earlier that day. They are planning to sell their boat in Las Palmas and two of them will be flying home in the weeks to come. Marcus is determined to do the crossing so he will join us on Sunday!

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28th of November:

Hans went on a 10 hour scooter drive while me and Reid started cleaning the interior of the boat thoroughly.

I calculated what we needed to buy for the Atlantic Crossing and later in the day we spent 2-3hrs in a chaotic super market in Vecandario. I did the Laundry and started downloading the Navionics maps for Cape Verde and the Caribbean. A Productive day! In the evening Janne landed at the Airport and Reid went there to pick him up. Had a nice chat with Hans while they were gone. When they arrived we had some wine and i was very tired so i went out earlier than normal. My new ear plugs did wonders!

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29th of November:

Today i started my day by taking a shower and taking a 40min stroll around the neighbourhood of Pasito Blanco. Our plan is to split the group in two. Hans and Janne will fix the engine (oil change, oil filter, fuel filter, water filter in the sink, clean the water line and change impeller.

Me and Reid will clean the interior. Plan storage of food and make a topographic overview and a list so that we know what we have left. 

Later this afternoon the Vega-guys will show up for a final visit. Marcus will move on board so we need to have space when they all arrive.

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30th of November:

First day on Scooters for Marcus, went straight to the renting place and then up through San Bartolome to Bentayga, climbed the mountain showing him around and then drove down to Tejeda for a super delicious tapas with more of that Canary cheese! Afterwards we drove a new road down to Mogán which was the most fun part to drive so far! Could drive fast and the road was going up and down and around.. :) In the evening we went down to Maspalomas to have a beer in an Irish pub.

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1st of December - Birthday! 

Today me and Marcus went for yet another ride in the mountains. I’m aiming to cover most of the island so we went on the motorway to Vecandario and up to Saint Lucia. We made a short pit stop in Vecandario because Marcus bike sounded like it was falling apart… It was just a loose shield on the exhaustion system.

The trip up to Saint Lucia blew our minds, this seems to be a daily thing here on Gran Canaria, every new road leading up to the mountains are breathtaking. 

Once we got to Saint Lucia the clouds started accumulating while we were having lunch in a restaurant. It was still sunny when we left so we decided do take a small detour north instead of straight west to San Bartolome. Proved to be a great idea since it was the most beautiful part yet, the roads were old and the houses along the road was tiny and genuine. We decided to go back tomorrow and strap on the GoPro and get it on cam for the blog. :)

In San Bartolome we refuelled and set off down the road to Maspalomas via Fataga. The rain started to drizzle lightly at first and Marcus who had no jacket needed a break in Fataga so we had some tea there. While we sat there the rain started to increase in intensity. We decided to get going since the sun was setting and it would just get colder the longer we waited. We swapped my jacket back and forth during the ride back and got home safely around 6:30PM. 

Great birthday driving around the island, had tons of people writing me messages, never had so many wishing me well before! :-)

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2nd of December

As planned we drove back up to Saint Lucia while Janne and Reid went to IKEA to pick up some traditional Swedish food for Christmas. This will be the second time me and Janne celebrate Christmas on the Atlantic Ocean! :)

We filmed the clip and drove all the way up to the top because the weather was clear and sunny. Got a wonderful view up there with no clouds obstructing the view. We even saw Tenerife in the distance! 

Please note that it looks faster than it is due to the Fish eye lense of GoPro.

Panorama from the highest point of Gran Canaria. You can see Tenerife in the background in the upper right corner.

At the top we found a man selling food from a van so we picked up some lunch and decided to drive down to the brim of a volcano to have lunch. We sat there for a few hours enjoying the sun. It was quite hilarious because in the volcano walked some 40-50 sheep with bells around their necks making a never-ending melody. They also were quite noisy which echoed around the volcano! :D

After a while the sun was setting so we drove back home. Again the temperature dramatically dropped so we stopped by in San Bartolome having a vegetable soup and some bread. Trying to gain some inner heat. 

Right before we got to Maspalomas Marcus had a great idea of letting the scooters roll downhill without the motor - very comfortable to swoop through the darkness silently!

As of now December 4th we are preparing to leave in a few hours, i’m working diligently to get this blog post out. Otherwise our readers would have to wait a month for an update. 

 Finally got the fruit net up. :)

Finally got the fruit net up. :)

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Two more GoPro clips on youtube:
Sunset: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cY5wKHK7ac
Pine forest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9ZP8RDuZrI

Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gran_Canaria