Global Voyageur

Be a virtual voyager - join the tartan navy to follow the Mackays on their return to Scotland

21 June 2012 | Clyde Marina, Ardrossan
20 June 2012 | North Channel, Irish Sea
17 June 2012 | Bay of Biscay
15 June 2012 | Coruna Marina, La Coruna
14 June 2012 | Marina Coruna, La Coruna
13 June 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
12 June 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
09 June 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
07 June 2012 | Ponta Delgaga
06 June 2012 | Ponta Delgada
04 June 2012 | Angra
02 June 2012 | Horta, Faial
01 June 2012 | Horta , Faial
28 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
25 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
24 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
23 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
22 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
21 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
20 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean

Weather on the wild side

01 June 2012 | Horta , Faial
Susan Mackay
By late afternoon the weather began to deteriorate. With two loads of washing done Voyageur's interior was like a Chinese laundry as it all had to be brought inside to dry. We had a surprise visit from Elaine Bunting of Yachting World who is covering ARC Europe for the first time. That evening we attended our first ARC Europe function of this stopover, the "hot stone" dinner. Presented with a platter of pork, chicken, beef fillet, tuna, swordfish, octopus, it was DIY on a hot lava stone. It was a great evening all round, the skipper of Aniare leading everyone in a round of Scandinavian singing. Overnight the wind started to build. We did not sleep well. By morning gusts of over forty knots swept through the port. We checked and rechecked our lines. As well as all the usual rafting up lines, we used our Panama warps for fore and aft lines ashore. I was waiting for one of them to snap but everything held fast. However we did not leave the boat just to be on the safe side. By late afternoon the winds abated.

Marina gale

A day on Pico
With the wild weather of yesterday blown through we took the fast ferry over to the port of Madalena on the neighbouring island of Pico as they have no facility for visiting yachts. Although the island is large the population is small, many of them having emigrated to Canada and the US. Most of the houses are built in black lava blocks, whitewashed in between giving it all a very uniform look.

Typical Pico house
It was so unspoiled, green and fertile on the lower slopes, wild and rugged as the land rose up to the towering peak of Mount Pico.

Lava cliffs
Our half day tour covered the whole western half first visiting the lava arches at Cachorro, then climbing up to Lagoa do Capitao, the crater lake.

Overlooking Lajes
At Lajes we had a lunch of fresh tuna sandwiches followed by a visit to the old whaling station there which has been turned into a museum. The archive film footage of the Pico whaling men going out on a kill was a real highlight. The south west coast is a world heritage area with 8km of vineyards. Tiny pocket squares of black lava walls make the whole area an extraordinary landscape. Our time is so limited, so precious but it was so well worth the effort to visit, even more so because we bought two bottles of their beautiful liqueur wines, one honey (David's choice), the other fennel (mine).
We went out for dinner with everyone from 'A Lady' before the prize giving, receiving a bottle of whisky along with our plaque but we are still a little unsure what the whisky was for. Perhaps simply due to the fact that we have been good customers of World Cruising Club having done the Arc, World Arc and now ARC Europe. The following day an island tour was laid on courtesy of the tourist board. Like Pico the island is very volcanic and green, forests of Japanese Cedars growing in abundance up to the tree line, but there was no evidence of the wine growing that is so much in abundance in Pico. Climbing high there were some spectacular views and the hydrangeas that the islands are renowned for were everywhere, and only a matter of a few weeks now before they come into full bloom which is why this island gets the name Ilha do Azul, "The Blue Island". It was 15 degrees by the time we reached the lip of the caldeira. We were very glad we had our woollen jumpers and jackets. There are ten volcanoes on this island and the walking trail takes nine hours. The north part of the island the landscape was excoriated by the lava flow from the eruption of Capelinhos in 1957 and is now densely covered with Candleberry trees, or fire trees which gave the name to Faial. The harbour port of Horta is the real hub of this island, a crossroads for visiting yachts on their way to and from Europe to the Caribbean evidenced by hundreds of colourful harbour wall paintings.
After five days I have finally got to the bottom of the laundry pile. The trouble is we have to wear so many clothes now to keep warm and dry. Not what we are used to. It has rained every day. The good news is that David has tested the central heating and it works but we are not quite at the stage of having to run it. Looking around at the rally boats there seems to be quite a bit of damage. A broken boom, torn sails, a damaged spray hood but following an ocean passage perhaps not too surprising really. The boat rafted alongside us suffered a knockdown. All the shelves fell out across the cabin. According to the local marine engineer the most commonly seen fault is desuaging of the rigging at the bottle screws. You could almost put this passage on a par with the Indian Ocean crossing although we very deliberately steered our way clear of the strongest winds. Oh yes, we are very dull but we are not here to break records or anything else for that matter. Stuart and Ann Letton from Time Bandit came aboard for supper. They are as yet undecided as to whether they will head back to their base in Oban or into the Mediterranean. Anyway it was nice to meet up with them as you do and they also knew of other cruising friends from back home, John and Liz Gordon of Jalan Jalan.
Vessel Name: VOYAGEUR
Vessel Make/Model: Amel Super Maramu 2000
Hailing Port: Rhu, Scotland
Crew: Susan and David Mackay
David first learned to sail on a Loch Fyne day boat out of Helensburgh Sailing Club on the River Clyde in his mid twenties. With the arrival of a family he did not do any more, until in 1984 we bought our first boat, “The Golden Soak”, a Matilda 20. [...]

Our motto:Carpe Diem

Who: Susan and David Mackay
Port: Rhu, Scotland