Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Odyssey I rally festivities and they are off!

The Canary Islands have been wonderful thus far!  Apologies for being remiss in not posting sooner...but we have been busy!

We are finally back in the world of actual cruisers which is very different than being anywhere in the Med.  Everyone has been friendly and helpful and it has been absolutely delightful to once again enjoy the camaraderie of fellow sailors.  Maybe this change of attitude is attributable to the fact that most boats here are continuing on across the Atlantic, real cruisers.  Not everyone, of course; but most.  In fact, our friends Hajo and Julia on sister-ship Amel Super Maramu named Seraphine have decided they will return to the Med after leaving their boat in the Canary Islands over the winter.  Crossing to the Caribbean no longer interests them, so they will continue to enjoy the Med.  Easy to do when one is a European citizen and not have to deal with that Schengen 90-day nonsense.  I hope they enjoy many more years exploring the Med.

We enjoyed sundowners and delicious snacks with Jeff and Gayle aboard their very nice boat, Lazy Bones.  Lazy Bones and BeBe have been aware of each other for years, yet missed each other time and time again as we both hopped around the South Pacific and SE Asia, and later in the Med.  
F-i-n-a-l-l-y we met up here in Marina Lanzarote.  Very nice people and we have many friends in common.  Their boat, an Irwin, is an extremely nice and very comfortable boat.

Another evening Dennis and Virginia invited us to share sundowners aboard Libertad. Always an enjoyable evening with them.  And another evening with Hajo and Julia aboard Seraphine enjoying sundowners accompanied by German and Spanish tapas.  Delicious!

An evening of meze aboard S/V Kandiba

One evening Hasan and Zehrya invited us, Seraphine and Libertad to enjoy traditional Turkish meze aboard their beautiful Amel 55 named Kandiba.  Kandiba has a big cockpit, large enough to seat in comfort all 6 guests plus her own 3 crew.  Zehrya and her niece, Fatma, must have cooked for 2 days!  They kept bringing out serving dishes until we wondered how the 9 of us possibly could eat it all!  And we could not!  They had leftovers enough for at least another meal or 2.  

Zehrya, Dennis, Julia, Hajo, Virginia, Judy, Bill and
Hasan in cockpit of S/V Kandiba enjoying meze

Libertad and we brought a couple of bottles of sparkling wine to celebrate everyone's arrival in Lanzarote. (Cannot find Prosecco here; darn it!  Should have stocked up when in Italy.)  And then Hasan broke out the red wine and it was enjoyed by all. This was an exceptionally enjoyable evening.  Thanks again to Hasan, Zehrya and Fatma for their hospitality and all that delicious Turkish food.

Our host and hostesses.
Zehrya, Fatma and Hasan.
Hasan knows how much Bill and I enjoy Turkish food and several times he brought over dishes to share of whatever Zehrya had cooked for dinner that night.  We were docked next to one another.  Once he shared with us that wonderful white version of chicken soup for which Turkey is famous.  Another time he shared a dish of fresh green beans cooked in the traditional Turkish manner.  We love those!  I have a feeling that Hasan and Zehrya are going to miss some of those special ingredients for their favorite foods which cannot be found outside Turkey. 

The second week of November was filled with evening gatherings and seminars presented by Cornell Sailing for participants of the Odyssey rallies crossing the Atlantic.  There were 40 boats participating in the Odyssey I departing Lanzarote on 18 November.  And there are 18 boats scheduled to participate in the Odyssey II which will depart Santa Cruz, Tenerife, on 9 January 2016. We will be in the Odyssey II. 

The participants of Odyssey II were invited to attend the seminars held here in Lanzarote for the Odyssey I rally.  There were 4 boats registered for the January rally which were present and we all enjoyed the seminars.  I know that there are more boats which will be participating in the Odyssey II rally in early January who are now in the Canary Islands.  I do not understand why more of those boats did not attend these seminars, as the seminars will not be repeated for the second rally.  They missed a lot of informative seminars and meetings, and a couple of interesting video presentations.

There were seminars or talks about all sorts of useful topics -- route and weather planning; how to obtain weather information while at sea; an overview of satellite communications on cruising yachts; medical presentations; how to provision (presented by Jimmy Cornell himself; and he ought to know this topic well after all his years of long-distance sailing); a lesson about photography at sea (interesting tips); downwind sailing information and rigs (not sure I learned much in this one since we have already sailed about 25,000 NM downwind on a boat that is built for downwind sailing); radio communications on board; and an open panel discussion of what to do next after arrival in the Caribbean.  There also were children's workshops about how to use the SSB to talk with their friends while at sea and some art workshops for the kiddos.  If I recall correctly, there were something like 37 children on the boats sailing in the first rally. I like that. 

There also was a welcome party at the marina which we attended and enjoyed, even though we would not be sailing with this first group. We did skip the welcome party at the Castilo San Jose which I believe was hosted by the office of tourism for Lanzarote as we felt that was really just for the group departing from Lanzarote.  Likely there will be another welcome party for our second group in Tenerife.

One evening we enjoyed a screening of a documentary filmed during the Atlantic Odyssey last year by a group of female scientists aboard a 73-ft sailing yacht named S/V Sea Dragon.  The goal of this project called Exxpedition is to raise awareness of global pollution, and is an on-going research project.

A special treat was that one of the women who participated in last year's Exxpedition project was present that evening and answered questions from the audience.  As an aside, Bill later was in the rally office and read some statistics compiled by an outside source about all kinds of things pertaining to last year's Atlantic Odyssey.  Things such as battery capacity and usage, fuel capacity and usage, autopilots; just all kinds of things that would be of interest only to other sailors or boat owners.  Fuel carried varied from 50 liters to 2,000 liters.  Fuel consumed during the crossing varied from 30 liters to 1,750 liters.  The yacht on this global pollution research project consumed 1,750 liters of diesel crossing the Atlantic.  I find that high quantity disturbing.  Especially for a group focusing on global pollution.

Jimmy Cornel and his lovely wife, Gwenda
with Bill and Judy

The most special treat during this week of seminars was a video presentation by Jimmy Cornell about his voyage this year through the Northwest Passage.  And about his first attempt last year.  Last year he attempted to go the usual route of east-to-west, but became ice-bound and was unable to continue.  He related a harrowing tale of breaking out of the forming ice and returning to Greenland.  

During that return voyage the propeller on his boat picked up a broken line floating beneath the surface.  Jimmy used a GoPro to video the prop and could see the line wrapped around the shaft.  It would have been unwise to attempt to continue without checking this.  He had to kit up and dive.  In that icy cold arctic water!  He had a dry suit for this emergency purpose, but the hood began to leak.  The icy water around his head affected him very quickly and he recognized the symptoms of hypothermia.  He realized that he had only seconds before he would lose all bodily control because of the icy temperature.  He remembers looking up from the water into the faces of his daughter and granddaughter and thinking, "I have only one minute to get back on the boat or I am going to die; and I cannot die like this with my daughter and granddaughter watching."  He managed to get one foot up to the stern of the boat and his daughter removed the fin; then the second foot; and then they could lift him up back onto the boat.  How scary that must have been!

This turned out to be just the start of the long way around!!  He made it back to Greenland; then, rather than return to England, he sailed down to the Annapolis Boat Show.  Then down through the Panama Canal and up to Costa Rica, where his boat was loaded onto a northbound transport ship.  It would have been impossible time-wise to sail the boat on its own keel and arrive in the Bering Strait in time to begin another attempt through the Northwest Passage before it iced up again; this time he would sail from west-to-east.  I have forgotten where the ship off-loaded his boat, but it was somewhere near Seattle (I think).  From there Jimmy and crew sailed up through the Bering Strait and did manage to get through the entire Northwest Passage.  

What an accomplishment!  The photos were breathtaking.  And he noted that there was no plastic pollution through the waters up there, which is kind of surprising as I would have thought some would have found its way from the North Pacific following currents.  I feel privileged to have been fortunate enough to see his video presentation about this voyage.

The start boat.  This was fun!  Enjoyed watching
all the boats excitedly beginning their long voyage.

Last Wednesday the Odyssey I rally departed Lanzarote en route to Martinique.  Several of us in the marina were invited to go out on the start boat and see the rally boats on their way. This was fun.  Almost like the start of a big race, although this really is not a race in any manner.  A safe crossing; and a comfortable crossing; that is what is important.  The order of arrival is insignificant.  
Fatma aboard the start boat.

Bill aboard the start boat.

The only ketch in the first Atlantic rally.  It was the last
boat to cross the starting line.  Real cruisers; they
know this is not a race.  BTW, there are at least
4 ketches in the second rally that I know about. That
rally consists of more experienced cruisers rather than

boats crossing an ocean for the first time, although
there are some first-timers too.

This French boat sailed back and forth
behind the start boat while his wife took
photos from the stern of the start boat.  

She will fly over.

This woman and her 2 small children chose not to
sail across.  Her husband and 3 crew are taking
their large catamaran to the Caribbean.

Invictus, the large catamaran the woman & children
were watching.  Saying goodbye to daddy.

The boats circled behind the start boat for half hour.
When the horn sounded, each had to pass the
starboard side of the start boat.

Already one boat has reported back that a fixed window broke when a large wave hit the boat, and they lost many electronics; but have repaired the window and are continuing onward safely. Another boat has diverted to the Cape Verdes because of battery issues.  One boat also had autopilot problems and returned to Lanzarote for repairs; now back out on their way to Martinique.  

And off they went!  About half headed off down the
eastern side of the island of Fuerteventura and the
others headed off to go over the top and down the
western side of the island or the western side of Gran

Canaria. I do not think it mattered which side at all. They
have a long way to go and the start does not mean much.

And our friends, Jeff and Gayle, aboard S/V Lazy Bones also have diverted to the Cape Verdes because their primary autopilot has failed.  Wishing them fast repairs and hope the winds hold favorably for them onward to Martinique soon.
Goodbye!  Safe Passage!

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