Update from Madeira

Having received many of your emails asking for information and also acknowledging to us that you are following our progress on the tracker. It has been a period of much excitement, tension and rejoicing since leaving Falmouth. As many of you know our crossing of the Western Approaches (to the English Channel) proved to be a very healthy shakedown, albeit an expensive one. Calling in at Brest was great and I took everyone to Le Crabe Marteau for a meal of crab and it was delicious with everyone saying that they could not remember when a crab meal was so filling. The next day Colly and I went to do a bit of shopping in pursuit of Camembert and St Emillion red when a small shop run by Afro-French folk hove into view with Yams, Tapioca and Taro – Misima’s favourite vegetable. Everyone agreed that they were the best they had tasted and only wished they could grow it at home.

Gales swept over us continually while we were there and a window opened for a while and we still had Force 6 to leave in. The wind increased to F7 and this stayed for a full day decreasing a little for the following day. The third day saw the wind drop and also increase to Gale 8 but this abated following some prayer. I decided to head for A Coruna to dodge a deep depression and for more repairs, albeit minor ones. The marina had an uncomfortable swell and was a very expensive place to berth at £70 (€73) a night. The weather was windy and wet but that did not deter Chris and Tom who went to minister to homeless people during the nights and the Papuans viewing the town and it’s architecture I discovered we could bunker up nearby with more Diesel and set off again.

It took a lot of battling to get around the ‘corner’ of Finisterre and by the time we were off the approaches of Vigo I felt it wise to go to Baiona (Bayona), a port I knew well from my yacht delivery days. On my first delivery trip in 1998 my son Howard had come with me when he was only 14 ½ and after a cold crossing of the Bay of Biscay he found a small beach near the yacht club and there he warmed up in an effective sun trap! I showed the place to Chris and Tom which is in the pic. Calling in at Baiona turned out to be a good decision as a Southerly gale set in which would have made life difficult for us as we would be going dead to wind.

Stan and Lasam immediately set out to explore followed by the girls. The Monte Real is really a steep hillock with a sort of castle and conference centre on top but it is a beautiful walk and everyone enjoyed it. I remember it as a friendly place and that has not changed one iota; it remains so to this day. We went for a meal at a local restaurant before the Christmas meal which I arranged for Christmas Eve in the Monte Real Club de Yates (Mount Royal Yacht Club). Roast turkey was ordered but no stuffing and roast potatoes as this is a truly an unknown culinary entity serving in Galicia, NW Spain. Notwithstanding this, the meal was great and then everyone prepared for sea again. By now ‘sea stow’ had taken on a much more important role in order not to have forgotten items shied at you by the ship’s rolling, as a result of neglectful stowage.

While on the wind the sea would usually break over the foredeck and green water would roll down the deck. The Mate’s cabin suffered some leakage forcing them to berth in the Wardroom. On this next and last leg to Madeira we had to do a lot of motoring in the calms and I was mindful of a coming weather change as Southerlies gave way to Northerlies on our way South. The Papuans are doing so well despite their inexperience but they’re so keen and eager to learn, a lot will come by doing practical things and yes, they are getting there! We now look forward to our next leg which we have changed to Dominica on account of the increasing crime in St. Lucia. We trust the Lord for good Trade Winds at a regular strength between 15 and 20 knots.

We still had yet to arrive at Madeira but I did not want to do that in the dark so we anchored off the small island in the archipelago called Porto Santo, where we anchored in a small bay in 13m of water on a rocky bed for the night. Gelly sprang to her fishing line and dropped a baited hook ‘ere our anchor had hit the bottom and caught a fish. Almost immediately she yelled that a fish had taken the line and before long we had three good meal-sized fish and had them filleted by Colly.

During the early morning a swell rose up from the North West causing the chain to snatch at the fairlead so heavily that it fractured the sides of the U shaped fairlead and bent the bottom part over 90°. This problem forced us to load the 80kg Bruce anchor onto the foredeck with the attendant gouges to the deck paint, undoing the shackle and freeing the chain. I hired a car and scoured the internet and Funchal industrial estates before finding a welder unit fit for the purpose of doing the repair. Returning to Living Water we set up a good earthing point on the pontoon pile and Chris put his welding training to good effect. The repair to the fairlead has been done and the boys hung on it to test it, a somewhat gentle test! The pic on the right is Stan touching up some of the hull paintwork on the port side.

The marina at Quinta do Lorde was excellent and they gave us a generous discount to help us on our way. Joana was a real star for us and made all the necessary connections with tradesmen, customs and the fuel point at Funchal. So we set off for Funchal this morning, we shall set the Parasailor and make final checks for any last-minute purchases needed in Funchal before setting off to cross the Atlantic. For prayer points; continued favour with the wind and weather as well as circumstances that we encounter. We are also grateful for the fish the Lord will enable us to catch and the safety in ‘decking’ them too.

We thank God for keeping us healthy and also for the many of you who are so very faithful in praying for us and listening to the Holy Spirit as He leads you in to some of the things we need as well. For finances too as each port we come to usually means spending large sums of money and we look continually to God to supply for us.

So until we reach Dominica; may God bless and prosper you in all His will.

All our love to you, Guy, Colly and the LW’s.

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