Debi and Jack sailing on SV Iroquois

Vessel Name: Iroquois
Vessel Make/Model: Ohlson38
Crew: Jack Markin, Debi Dennis
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15 November 2017 | Lanzarote, Canary Islands
11 November 2017 | Lanzarote, Canary Islands
10 November 2017 | Puerto Calero, Lanzarote
09 November 2017 | Puerto Calero, Lanzarote
08 November 2017 | 29 25.7'N:13 11.6'W
07 November 2017 | Atlantic Ocean
06 November 2017 | Atlantic Ocean
02 November 2017 | Lagos Portugal
27 October 2017 | Lagos, Portugal
21 October 2017 | Lagos, Portugal
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29 September 2017 | Lagos, Portugal
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19 September 2017 | Lisbon Portugal
11 September 2017 | Porto, Portugal
10 September 2017 | Viana do Castelo, Portugal
07 September 2017 | Baiona, Spain
05 September 2017 | Baiona, Spain
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Recent Blog Posts
15 November 2017 | Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Lanzarote part 2

The northern part of Lanzarote is different from the south. First, it's much more populated or at least more crowded with tourists. There are what they call centers, which are for tourists and I think owned by the government. I guess they're sort of like national parks but more commercial. Many of them [...]

11 November 2017 | Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Discovering Southern Lanzarote

We rented a car today and drove around the southern part of Lanzarote. First stop was the Timanfaya National Park which is a huge volcanic 'moonscape', with multiple calderas separated by either jagged lava fields or smooth fields of pumice ash. When approaching from a distance the slopes looked fuzzy to me. Once we got there I realized it was because of the myriad colored lichens. The last eruption was 200 years ago so a very few things are now growing there. But the daily temperature fluctuation is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit so the range of life is pretty limited. It's impressively well managed for the number of tourists who visit. On entry you park your car and get on a tour bus which goes around the park, stopping at particular photo ops. After the tour you can watch the demonstrations of the hot lava just below the surface, where they lay brush in a hole and it catches on fire and pour water down a hole to make a little geyser. They also have a barbecue where they were grilling chicken over what looks like a well. After that we went to El Golfo where a caldera had collapsed into the sea and created a little lake of concentrated volcanic minerals which is bright green in color. We also drove past some massive salt ponds. The marina employee who advised us on where to go gave a lunch recommendation which we followed and it was delicious. He said this is the meat eating side of the island so we had grilled carne mixta. We're not exactly sure what the mixta was, but think it included lamb, beef, maybe goat, pork and rabbit? Anyway it was tasty. After lunch we visited some wineries. Because there's so little rain here the farmers build rock enclosures around depressions in the ground where the plants are. The rocks provide  protection from the wind and collect dew which runs down to water the plants. They are starting to run the rocks in rows now instead of using the circles for ease of harvest and in some places it looks like fields of rock, like they planted rows of rock. The dry white wine was not bad. We bought a couple of bottles for the novelty of it.

10 November 2017 | Puerto Calero, Lanzarote

With a little help from friends

Amazing what a little French wine, saucisson and conversation can do to restore one's sense of well-being! Thank you Edouard and crew who stopped by to visit and then invited us over. After a few minutes of discussing our boat and their plans to race in the ARC we invited them aboard for a drink, but [...]

09 November 2017 | Puerto Calero, Lanzarote

Made it to the Canary Islands

The weather on our voyage to Lanzarote was what we expected more or less. It's the the more that was a problem. The wind was northwesterly on Saturday and we sailed on a nice reach with two reefs in the main and full genoa for the first night and day. As the wind increased we rolled up the jenny and [...]

08 November 2017 | 29 25.7'N:13 11.6'W

Almost to Lanzarote

Just a quick note to let you know we are fine. I just don't have the focus to write a long post now. There is much to relate about our experiences but suffice it to say that we have once again been tested and we are safe and strong. We plan to arrive on Lanzarote tonight and after a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast I will attempt to write about the trip.

07 November 2017 | Atlantic Ocean

At Sea

All is well. We are sailing along under a parially furled poled out genoa.The wind has been pretty steady out of the north from 17-25Kts. The seas are confused which makes for a bumpy ride. We haven't seen much out here--- a few times dolphins have come to visit and frolick around the boat, there were some birds in the distance, the lights of one distant ship in the night, that's it. It's a big ocean and it's rare to come across another boat, so we were quite surprised the other night to hear a call on the vhf for Iroquois from Shadowmere. Ian had spotted us on the AIS, about 5 miles away from each other. It was nice to hear from a friend in the night!

Lanzarote part 2

15 November 2017 | Lanzarote, Canary Islands
The northern part of Lanzarote is different from the south. First, it's much more populated or at least more crowded with tourists. There are what they call centers, which are for tourists and I think owned by the government. I guess they're sort of like national parks but more commercial. Many of them were designed by this artist from the 1960s named Cesar Manrique who encouraged tourism on Lanzarote. We first used the rental car to visit a mall in Arrecife where we got a Vodafone simcard for the canaries in Jack's phone. Then we went to a chandlery where we got a stainless steel bolt, washers and nut to finish repairing the reaching pole. The first tourist place we went was the cactus garden. We knew we were in the right town when we saw every yard in the town full of cacti. People grow them to collect cochineal which there is or was apparently a market for. Cochineal is used to make a red dye. You enter the Jardin de Cactus at the top and look down at circular paths of different kinds of cactus. Some of them are big as trees. The first and most noticeable thing to me was the sounds of birds singing. The plants were full of birds. It was well designed and a serene place even with all the tourists. After that we went to lunch at a place recommended by the port captain. He said we should sit outside,  which we did overlooking the ocean, and get the parridas pescas mixtas, which we did. It was a huge platter of seafood and fish with potatoes and a green salad. We were more than satisfied. After lunch we visited the Jameos del Agua and the Cueva de Los Verdes. They are both part of the same lava tube. The Jameos del Agua central feature is an underground pond which is home to some unique albino crabs. You enter the space down a curving staircase through the restaurant. There are pleasant pathways down to the water and along the side. At the opposite side of the pond is a bar. All of the fixtures and furniture are built into and of the natural environment. Past the bar is the spectacular pool where no swimming is allowed. I did read somewhere that only the king of Spain is allowed to swim there. And finally you come to the auditorium. There was an opera singer practicing for that nights performance while we were there. Mind you all of this is in a lava tube which in some places has collapsed and is open to the sky and in others is very cave like. It's actually quite an achievement. The Cueva de Los Verdes is just across the road from the Jameos del Agua. You have to go on a guided tour. It's not developed except for the addition of lighting. It was really interesting though and you felt sorry for the people who hid there from pirates in the bad old days. We were getting tired by then so headed back, stopping at a supermarket to stock up on heavy items like water, sport drinks and some fresh vegetables and fruits.
Our plans have changed slightly since our application for the marina at Gran Tarajal was denied -- it must be full. So we will skip the island of Fuerteventura and stay here until Saturday when we will go to Pasito Blanco on Gran Canaria.

Discovering Southern Lanzarote

11 November 2017 | Lanzarote, Canary Islands
We rented a car today and drove around the southern part of Lanzarote. First stop was the Timanfaya National Park which is a huge volcanic 'moonscape', with multiple calderas separated by either jagged lava fields or smooth fields of pumice ash. When approaching from a distance the slopes looked fuzzy to me. Once we got there I realized it was because of the myriad colored lichens. The last eruption was 200 years ago so a very few things are now growing there. But the daily temperature fluctuation is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit so the range of life is pretty limited. It's impressively well managed for the number of tourists who visit. On entry you park your car and get on a tour bus which goes around the park, stopping at particular photo ops. After the tour you can watch the demonstrations of the hot lava just below the surface, where they lay brush in a hole and it catches on fire and pour water down a hole to make a little geyser. They also have a barbecue where they were grilling chicken over what looks like a well. After that we went to El Golfo where a caldera had collapsed into the sea and created a little lake of concentrated volcanic minerals which is bright green in color. We also drove past some massive salt ponds. The marina employee who advised us on where to go gave a lunch recommendation which we followed and it was delicious. He said this is the meat eating side of the island so we had grilled carne mixta. We're not exactly sure what the mixta was, but think it included lamb, beef, maybe goat, pork and rabbit? Anyway it was tasty. After lunch we visited some wineries. Because there's so little rain here the farmers build rock enclosures around depressions in the ground where the plants are. The rocks provide  protection from the wind and collect dew which runs down to water the plants. They are starting to run the rocks in rows now instead of using the circles for ease of harvest and in some places it looks like fields of rock, like they planted rows of rock. The dry white wine was not bad. We bought a couple of bottles for the novelty of it.

With a little help from friends

10 November 2017 | Puerto Calero, Lanzarote
Amazing what a little French wine, saucisson and conversation can do to restore one's sense of well-being! Thank you Edouard and crew who stopped by to visit and then invited us over. After a few minutes of discussing our boat and their plans to race in the ARC we invited them aboard for a drink, but they preferred us to come to their boat. First they came on to look below decks on Iroquois. When Edouard had a look around he just started laughing and said to me, "you must see my boat". And so we did. He has a brand new (finished in December 2016) racing boat---the exact opposite of our boat. When we saw it all we could do is laugh. The boats are practically the same length, but Shah goes 200 miles a day or Edouard cries! Iroquois goes around 120 miles a day. We had a delightful visit with captain and two crew. The third crewmember is a winemaker who will join them in Gran Canaria. Although we didnt meet him we thoroughly enjoyed his wine. In discussing wine and how it's changing we learned that the reason wines now have higher alcohol content is because the temperatures are warmer. According to Edouard if a wine has less than 13%alcohol it has been watered down. So much for my idea that vinho verde was better and less alcoholic.  Hopefully we will meet up with Shah and crew again in the Caribbean.
This morning we met the delightful sailors Tom and Rye from Snow Star(photo) out of Rockport Maine. They shared a wealth of information. But mostly were a bit of comfort from home. They're leaving tomorrow, but hopefully we'll meet up on the other side.
Jack is making good progress on repair of the reaching pole. Once that is done we can relax and explore the island more. We have rented a car for tomorrow.

Lessons from shake down cruise.
1. Cannot afford to become dehydrated. Must drink 3 liters/day and eat even if I don't feel like it.
2. Lashing things on deck is risky and difficult
3. Gas tanks need to be better secured
4. Fruit in nets can be shredded and make a big mess on your bunk
5. Only one person on the foredeck at a time
6. Keep companionway closed

Made it to the Canary Islands

09 November 2017 | Puerto Calero, Lanzarote
The weather on our voyage to Lanzarote was what we expected more or less. It's the the more that was a problem. The wind was northwesterly on Saturday and we sailed on a nice reach with two reefs in the main and full genoa for the first night and day. As the wind increased we rolled up the jenny and went under main alone. The water was very chaotic and the Monitor had a little trouble -- certain waves caused the line the come off the drum on the steering wheel, which caused an accidental gybe. Although this had the advantage of proving how well our preventer system works, it did cause us to monitor the Monitor religiously. During this time we were both surprisingly seasick. I have come to the conclusion that scopalimine patches are no longer effective for me. The past two times I have used them I've been quite sick. In fact I wonder if they make it worse, because normally I am seasick for the first two or three days and then am fine,  but this time I was sick the whole trip and I still don't feel great. Jack recovered from his seasickness after about 36 hours. It's been enough to make me question my sailing decision for the first time. I am waiting until I regain full strength before thinking about that further. Both of us are able to function when seasick it just takes much of the enjoyment out of it, like fully appreciating the night sky, the stars, the full moon or the frolicking dolphins.
Once we settled on a good downwind course we poled  out the genoa and took down the main. This allowed us to easily reduce sail as the wind increased. Which it did until there was a steady 30-40 kts. We had expected more like 15-25, and we certainly did not expect any 50 knot gusts. But then sailors should expect the unexpected. Like the jammed whisker pole which Jack found when we went to gybe for the second time. The jaw on the outboard end had been pushed into the pole and could not be released. He had to feed the entire sheet through it in order to free the pole so we could come about. We couldn't use the pole any more which is a pain going downwind, fortunately the wind had shifted enough so we could fly the jib without the pole. Jack is currently working on a way to repair the pole. The previous gybe we also had a surprise. We thought we would use the engine and autopilot to maintain a course while we switched the pole to the other side. While Jack managed the pole I went forward to switch the after guy to the other side of the boat. We both looked up in horror as a huge wave came crashing over the stern, flooding the cockpit and flowing into the partially open companionway. I went back to the cockpit and realized that I had stupidly neglected to engage the transmission so the boat was just sitting there waiting for the water to swamp it. We did formulate a new rule from the experience -- we don't both go forward at the same time. If I had stayed in the cockpit I may have noticed the engine wasn't engaged and been able to prevent the drenching, also we might not both be washed overboard.
Well, the wind died down to less than 10 knots and we ended up motoring the last 8 hours or so, arriving at Puerto Calero around 10pm. The security guards were super helpful, standing on the welcome pontoon waving a flashlight so we could see where to come in. Jack was able to converse enough in Spanish that they also suggested restaurants if we were hungry and made some jokes about how there is a Mexican restaurant but not an American one. We woke in the morning to find ourselves surrounded by mega yachts on a tropical island and after moving into a slip in the marina spent the day rinsing the entire boat with fresh water inside and out. It's nearly back to normal excepting the huge pile of laundry which we can deal with tomorrow. Our US ensign did suffer from the winds. It's either showing a more honest state of our country or of ourselves.

Almost to Lanzarote

08 November 2017 | 29 25.7'N:13 11.6'W
Just a quick note to let you know we are fine. I just don't have the focus to write a long post now. There is much to relate about our experiences but suffice it to say that we have once again been tested and we are safe and strong. We plan to arrive on Lanzarote tonight and after a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast I will attempt to write about the trip.

At Sea

07 November 2017 | Atlantic Ocean
All is well. We are sailing along under a parially furled poled out genoa.The wind has been pretty steady out of the north from 17-25Kts. The seas are confused which makes for a bumpy ride. We haven't seen much out here--- a few times dolphins have come to visit and frolick around the boat, there were some birds in the distance, the lights of one distant ship in the night, that's it. It's a big ocean and it's rare to come across another boat, so we were quite surprised the other night to hear a call on the vhf for Iroquois from Shadowmere. Ian had spotted us on the AIS, about 5 miles away from each other. It was nice to hear from a friend in the night!
Iroquois's Photos - Main
4 Photos
Created 11 May 2016
1 Photo
Created 4 August 2015
4 Photos
Created 1 August 2015
6 Photos
Created 1 August 2015
No Photos
Created 7 June 2015
8 Photos
Created 7 May 2015

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