Zephyr's Travels

Vessel Name: Zephyr
Vessel Make/Model: Ovni 395
Hailing Port: Falmouth
Crew: Colin & Rebecca Campbell
14 September 2023 | Playa Blanca, Lanzarote
18 August 2023
11 August 2023 | Closing in on Lanzarote
09 August 2023 | 150 miles off south Portugal
06 August 2023 | Atlantic coast of Spain (Finisterre)
04 August 2023 | Biscay
03 August 2023 | Manacles Buoy
30 July 2023 | Helford River anchorage
26 July 2023 | Helford River anchorage
25 May 2023 | Helford River
28 April 2023 | St. Mary's harbour
09 June 2022 | Ponta Delgado
01 June 2019 | Port Pendennis Marina, Falmouth
24 May 2019
Recent Blog Posts
14 September 2023 | Playa Blanca, Lanzarote

Is there life on Mars?


18 August 2023

Bikes Onboard

With wall-to-wall sunshine, cheap flights and accommodation it’s hardly surprising this place is inundated with holidaymakers. Our UK summer hasn’t really helped with all the storms to encourage people to stay in our green and pleasant land. Instead, they descend here in their droves. Its fabricated [...]

14 August 2023

Arrived Playa Blanca, Lanzarote

We got into the marina late yesterday afternoon after a speedy sail down the east coast of the island dodging the windsurfers and getting an arrival escort of 4 Pilot Whales including a cow and calf. The calf was surprisingly adept at surfing down the swell waves. No pics unfortunately.

11 August 2023 | Closing in on Lanzarote

Friday's Fish Day

One of the many check lists I'm told to do when on watch is to check the rigging using a head torch when it's dark. On last night's check I came across a Flying Fish on the deck of zephyr, Dead. bumped his head on landing I reckon. He was a little beauty.

09 August 2023 | 150 miles off south Portugal

Last leg of this passage, Portugal - Lanzarote

Part of our daily routine is downloading weather grib files, receiving and sending emails to Lucy. who simplifies every thing for mum (Gran) who tends to prefer a more user friendly form of communication i.e WhatsApp. We don't have the technology to go down that road.

06 August 2023 | Atlantic coast of Spain (Finisterre)

Tricky Situation in the Galley

As I'm typing this Zephyr is really rolling! I've managed to recover from being seasick but still struggling negotiating simple tasks on here.

Is there life on Mars?

14 September 2023 | Playa Blanca, Lanzarote
Becs & Col

Lanzarote is often compared to Mars. If Mars becomes habitable then I think it could be something like this island. It is strangely beautiful. Away from the tourism you can dive into the depths of culture and friendly island life.
Sea-salt is an export from here and has been for many years using tried and tested methods. It's very captivating watching the salt pyramids grow taller each day you pass by the brine lake.
Women have played an important part of keeping the island producing and exporting goods while men worked away at sea fishing. How similar this is to our own fishing ports in Cornwall.

This and the pic below are on the wall of a local restaurant

Slowly the temperature is dropping and now we see 24C instead of 30C which make life much more comfortable. We still head out early on the bikes to avoid the midday sun and we are covering large distances. Our longest to date was 75 miles. This is a great way to explore, see wildlife and generally have fun with the challenge of climbing the ridiculous mountains. We try and eat at local cafes which give us some much-needed calories.

From first impressions of Lanzarote you'd think wildlife was all but non existent but after a few bike trips in the outback it's surprising what's out there particularly birdlife eking out an existence somehow.
After a couple of weeks we began spotting Great Grey Shrikes around the marina looking for their next lizard meal (hooked beak meat eater the size of a starling that impale their prey on thorns before dinner).

Great Grey Shrike doing what it does best (not our pic)
Then we noticed Kestrels were pretty common out in the hills as well as Barbary Partridges, Trumpeter Finches, Laughing Doves and Ruddy Turnstones on the shoreline (none of the above names made up!)
Unfortunately, quite a few squashed hedgehogs on the roads. Yes, even here the poor hedgehog is up against the car. However, we did see a live one late one night close to the marina. They enjoy the cat food that's put out in the cat stations. Shelter, water, and food.

Hedgie heading home

Our friends at Port Navas Sailing Club gave us a burgee to take with us. I'm trying to find as many strange landmarks on our journey to take a picture with the burgee.

This is the Timanfaya Devil said to take the souls of the natives on the island. This might explain why visitors outnumber the locals!
Zephyr has had a recent bottom check; Lucy came over for a few days and we went out for a successful sail. Testing the SSB radio, thank goodness we finally made contact with Distraction once clear of the radio interference in the marina, great relief for Mike and Emma and us. Even I got excited with it all. Hopefully that will put an end to endless conversations on why it doesn't work!! With lucy on board we made for an anchorage and dived into crystal clear waters to investigate Zephyr's bottom. As you can see from the photos she's looking good, having sailed 1400 miles and being at anchor for 4 months then here in the marina for 6 weeks. Great fun having Lucy with us. She even got dad in the water.

Rudder, keel and anchor chain in the distance

Our underwater surveyor distracted by fish

Colin in his natural environment (not)
Our time in Marina Rubicon has become a great way to reflect on our trip. We were advised by our insurers that they would not insure us to go beyond Easter Island and on to Patagonia without a prohibitively hiked premium and a number of restrictive conditions regarding dates, number of crew etc . This pulled the rug slightly from under our feet as its what we have spent a year planning for. With time and many conversations and inspiration from fellow sailors we have put together a new itinerary. It's equally exciting and more importantly the insurance company said yes to it. 'Phew!!'
This is just an idea of what to expect from us over the next 18 months:
Caribbean exit via Panama Canal early 2024
French Polynesian via Easter Island & Pitcairn Island
Cook Is, Tonga & Fiji
Arrive Queensland Coast mid 2024
Cruise Australian east coat to Darwin before Indian Ocean Crossing
Arrive Durban / Richards Bay South Africa late 2024
Depart Cape Town to Caribbean via St Helena, Ascension, Brazil early 2025
Depart Caribbean May 2025 to home via Azores

Lastly, I would love to introduce you all who don't already know Distraction and her team Mike and Emma. Fellow Cornish and Helford friends who are also embarking on an epic voyage around the world. They too are currently in Lanzarote up north in Arrecife. We spent an entertaining day with them to do some chores and some light entertainment. Please enjoy reading the following post by Mike. I think those of you that know us well will relate to some of the familiar characteristics:

Colin and Bec's go to the beach
Thu Sep 07 2023
Colin and Bec's are already in Lanzarote having had an epic sail from Cornwall, chased all the way by howling gales, and have been tucked in at Rubicon since arriving a month or so ago. But coming to a big city like Arrecife was undoubtably a big thing. When I say big, it's about half the size of Truro, but when you live in the wilds as they do, it's big!
Each of them chose special things to travel with. Bec's packed a handful of pegs and some chocolate, Colin, somewhat unusually, chose his favourite 3.8kg gas cylinder and tucked that into his rucksack. They caught the bus up to the airport where we found them, stuck like rabbits in the headlights, in awe of all the huge planes and buses, wandering around with mouths open and looking a little bit like children on a first ever visit to a zoo. Not wishing to draw anymore attention to themselves than they already had we quickly bundled them in the back of the car and whisked them away.
Unfortunately the process of leaving the airport at speed was flawed when the navigator temporarily stood down from her duties and me, as the driver and unable to do two things at once, managed to take a wrong turn. But Google was at hand and it wasn't long before we had been rerouted around a go-kart track, across the runway, over some fields and dirt tracks, where the car completely left the ground on more than one occasion, and in no time we were back on the road, all sitting in different seats, but finally heading in the right direction.
It took some while for navigation to return to its former strength as the chatter between one of the passengers and my Co-pilot was incessant. Giggling, chirping and huge bursts of laughter meant that any assistance with directions was totally lost. Nonetheless, the ever resourceful Colin stood in and using latitude and longitude from a marine navigation chart he'd found screwed up in his rucksack it wasn't long before we were well and truly lost. However, going round in circles and passing the same building on several occasions gave Colin and Bec's the illusion that Arrecife was much much bigger than it really is. This made them hugely excited.
To calm things down, we returned to the boat in an attempt to relax and slow the pace a little before planning how to spend the afternoon. Colin and I spent a useful hour making absolutely no sense of the SSB radio that had been installed on the boat at some considerable expense over the winter.
An SSB radio's primary purpose is to be able to perform long distance radio communication all around the World. So, for example, when you're on a cliff walk and you pass one of those garden sheds that has wires running to and from it and an Ariel about 100 feet high tied down to various pieces of equipment in the garden, then it's highly likely the occupant of the shed has an SSB radio. And if ours worked as it's supposed to, and we had the inclination, it should be quite possible for us, anywhere in the World, to talk to these folk. It's not clear what you'd want to talk about, after all it's unlikely you'd ever met this person, you like sailing and they like hanging around in sheds, so if ever we get that far I'll let you know.
But SSB radios are no ordinary radio. For a start you can't operate one unless you have a licence to operate one. And to obtain a licence you need to pass an exam. And to pass the exam you need to go in a course. And to find someone who runs such a course it's highly likely to be 200 miles away and takes 5 days to complete. But at least at the end of it you have your bit of paper that says you now have a licence to operate. We both have licences.
Fat lot of use they turned out to be! We took the course in November and now it's September. How on earth are we supposed to remember how to operate it? Colin is an expert, and I suspect Bec's is too, she talks it down like it's a foreign object that's just landed in her trifle. But I think she knows more than she's letting on - and for those of you who know her, you will appreciate, that if she had her own trumpet, she'd never blow it.... Modesty bring her middle name.
But whatever we did in that hour achieved very little. Nothing appeared to get the response we were looking for and eventually we turned it off and had lunch instead. It's a vital piece of equipment for the voyage we have coming up, let's hope we can sort something soon.
Lunch was devoured at high speed and it was clear that no-one had eaten since the previous day. Beer was also produced and consumed with some vigour which only helped fuel the chirping and giggling from the girls.
As it was now close to the hottest part of the day we agreed to leave the comfort and shade offered by the boat with its cool breeze blowing freely across the decks and instead get back into the tiny little car and drive inland on an adventure.
The adventure took us to a small town high in the hills to a house once owned by Omar Sharrif. In fact, it turned out that he had won the house in a game of cards and was then daft enough to gamble it away again. In fairness to the rest of us that was probably a good thing as it was later acquired by a wonderful architect with a name like Ceasar Manrique. The house is truly extraordinary and is quite literally carved into the hillside. The hillside in this case, like most hillsides in Lanzarote, is made up of Lava and it turns out they make really wonderful rooms. And it is clear that the architectural flair has made this house truly beautiful. We wandered around the house enjoying the surprise that each new room brought and leaning on the many balconies that look down across the island and it's plethora of volcanos.
Emm, who'd spent a second day at the gym throwing bears from one end of the Marina to the other, was once again feeling the effects of sudden exercise following a long period of relative inactivity since leaving Falmouth in July. And as our little group weaved its way through the many rooms and numerous flights of steps we realised Emm was not in our midst.
We waited for a while in the shade of one of the many courtyards admiring the extraordinary features of the house, it's simplicity and yet incredible level of detail. As the minutes ticked by and Emm had still not appeared we re-traced our steps, climbing slowly through each of the rooms until finally, nearing the top of the building, we could hear a gentle vibrating sound, not dissimilar to someone sawing through a tree trunk with 6ft saw blade. As we closed in we could then see Emm fast asleep on one of the beds. Allegedly having sat for a moment to rest her aching frame she had leant back and......the next she knew of it we were waking her. We quickly got her back on her feet, mopped up the dribble stains on the sheets, and made a speedy departure before any further embarrassing scenes could unfold.
Next up was the long awaited trip to the beach. Along dusty tracks with bumps and potholes we drove the little car as Colin and Bec's had their faces pressed hard against the window barely able to contain their excitement. No sooner had the car stopped than the doors flew open and like two playful dogs who'd been shut up for a while they were gone. Running just as fast as their legs would carry them, tearing their clothes off in complete abandonment as they went, screaming with excitement at the top of their voices, and straight into the turquoise blue sea where they splashed and frolicked around like the happiest children you can imagine.
We set up camp on the beach and then joined the pair of them as they leapt about and dived into the waves. But barely had we got wet than Colin decided to have a COMPETITION! Who could body surf the furthest? And within a heartbeat he was off sliding through the waves like a long slippery eel until he was pushed part way up the beach into the dry sand some 50mm away.
We all had a go with varying degrees of success, Bec's joining Colin on the same wave but holding his legs to drag him back behind her. Emm, in her own special style that kept her head above the water, and her bikini bottoms around her ankles. But soon we were exhausted and made our way back to our camp just a few metres from the beach.
Whilst we sat and chatted, recalling the magnificent surfing challenge, Bec's managed to catch the eye of a playful dog that came running from a nearby camper truck. Although a puppy, with a tail about a metre long and it's body the size 3 sacks of spuds, it too made a B line for Bec's. Together they rolled and played in the sand, the dog licking Bec's face and Bec's giving the dog a good old rub when suddenly Colin noticed some brown marks on Bec's pristine white shirt. That was quickly followed by Bec's noticing the strong smell of baby poo now covering a large part of her shirt and hands. The dog had clearly found a used nappy and had enjoyed rolling in it moments before spotting Bec's. The joy of playing with the puppy ended in a heartbeat as Bec's tore away at high speed diving head long into the sea thrashing her arms and frantically rubbing her shirt in an attempt to clean herself from the dreadful smell.
Bec's was then made to sit in the boot of the little car, squashed up with their colourful buckets and spades, until such time as she'd had a proper wash and clean up. This was achieved at a delightful tapas bar and once Bec's had been scrubbed head to foot normal service was once again resumed, the girls chirping at full volume competing with a 1,000 birds in a nearby bush, but still managing to drown them all out.
But as night fell it was time to return the adventurers to the airport bus stop. Both now fairly exhausted from all the days activities they walked slowly away towards the bus. Bec's mysteriously covered in pegs and Colin clutching his 3.8kg gas cylinder as if it were a bag of gold coins.

Fort near the marina

On-line ukulele practice

Bike tyre pump and tool station on a cycle route here

Another trip up the mast to replace a broken anemometer

Bikes Onboard

18 August 2023
With wall-to-wall sunshine, cheap flights and accommodation it’s hardly surprising this place is inundated with holidaymakers. Our UK summer hasn’t really helped with all the storms to encourage people to stay in our green and pleasant land. Instead, they descend here in their droves. Its fabricated Legoland style apartments and hotels hugging the few accessible coastal pockets dotted around the island full of bars, restaurants and sunburnt bodies! However, like most places there’s usually a hidden world of culture hiding around the corner.
We have two road bikes we loaded onboard Zephyr and they come everywhere with us. Not only do they help shed the extra pound we put on during passages they allow us to explore larger distances. We can go at whatever speed we want, where we want and when. Here on Lanzagrote whoops! Lanzarote, we look to venture in land towards the vineyards and villages. The black volcanic gravel is the only form of soil. Amazingly things grow. An island favourite are potatoes.
For now, we are slowly getting used to the heat. 30C in the boat and 35C outside today. You just can’t do much when it’s this hot. Our bike rides are early morning and then we stay out of the sun with the fans on waiting for the cooler evenings to run errands. Because the boat gets so hot down below, we have invested in a gas BBQ that sits over the stern. Its great! A quick bike ride down to the old harbour end of town (no old harbour left) we collected squid and some island potatoes avoiding the supermarkets as much as possible.
Our challenge during our stay here is climbing Femes hill. A nasty incline taking you over the backbone of the island. A welcome stop at the top is a tiny bar serving ice cold beer. We’ve had a go at the climb and had to abandon about 80% of the way up. Colin has changed the tyres for lighter ones, and we are both on a diet. It could be a while before I have news of reaching the summit. But when we do, we have a burgee from Port Navis Yacht Club to be flown at the summit.

Apologies for the fewer posts. As we start to explore further around the area, we will hopefully share some memories and adventures with you but we will be predominantly land based in the Canaries for the next three months until the winds are right for departing south to the Cape Verde Islands early in November.

Arrived Playa Blanca, Lanzarote

14 August 2023
Colin Campbell
We got into the marina late yesterday afternoon after a speedy sail down the east coast of the island dodging the windsurfers and getting an arrival escort of 4 Pilot Whales including a cow and calf. The calf was surprisingly adept at surfing down the swell waves. No pics unfortunately.
After the obligatory curry and a few cold beers last night we've spent the day, washing the salt off the boat, doing the laundry and generally enjoying being stopped for the first time in 10 days.
Next job is to get the road bikes assembled for a bit of exploring.

The rugged volvanic coast of Lanzarote

The view from our berth with Femes hill in the distance (our hill climbing holy grail)

Friday's Fish Day

11 August 2023 | Closing in on Lanzarote
One of the many check lists I'm told to do when on watch is to check the rigging using a head torch when it's dark. On last night's check I came across a Flying Fish on the deck of zephyr, Dead. bumped his head on landing I reckon. He was a little beauty.

OK so not quite up to the standards of our fellow ocean goers on Distraction who caught a mighty handsome Tuna within days of setting sail. We have a way to go before we reach their standards but Im sure a few beers will loosen their tongue and give us some top tips!
Keeping busy is a key part of living in a small restricted space. I try and find a job that plays to my strengths. Not usually too boaty unless Colin asks me to do some thing specific. so I usually set about cooking Today I needed a change and decided to do some interior
decorating . If I had an emoji it would be the monkey with hand up at its face to describe Colin's despair of my need to make zephyr homely. I know a conversation is brewing about the cards I have stuck to the bulk head using blue tack. so to compromise I'm making a
knot called a Turks Head to put around the main mast support post inside the saloon.

Perfect subject to keep me occupied for most of the day. No blue tack or super glue needed and photos to follow. We started our pot of Drym Honey today. Because we had such an
amazing spring our resident Bees have being very buzzzy and we where able to pack a number of jars to take with us .Such a treat! Thank you to Trees & Bees. To round my day off I'm doing a pilates session, could be interesting as the boat is rocking and rolling in the
strong winds we have at the moment. It's all good though because we are getting ever closer to our destination. 278 miles left on this first leg .

Last leg of this passage, Portugal - Lanzarote

09 August 2023 | 150 miles off south Portugal
Becs & Col
Part of our daily routine is downloading weather grib files, receiving and sending emails to Lucy. who simplifies every thing for mum (Gran) who tends to prefer a more user friendly form of communication i.e WhatsApp. We don't have the technology to go down that road.
Colin's preferred method is the ICOM HF radio. I'm going to let Colin explain this dark art of communication later on in the blog.. Meanwhile Zephyr is loving the warm winds and intense blue Atlantic sea. She is eating up the miles and our ETA is looking like 13th August.
with a total of 1360nm under our belt. As today is a little calmer a much needed shower and boat tidy is the plan. With 25kn of wind and 5m swell waves for the past couple of days its a relief to draw breath (for me that is as Colin takes this very much his stride). My area of
expertise is the galley. I have a lot of new gadgets for this trip .My top favorite to date is the Slow Cooker that run's from the solar panels. then the ice maker for much needed refreshing drinks, the yogurt maker is still having to prove itself then then the Aeropress coffee
brewer is looking to be a favorite too. The Japanese mandolin is not so popular with Colin as he's convinced ill be serving up finger sandwiches It has 3 interchangeable blades and its own catch saucer. I don't see the problem! Some body exercise today which will no
doubt turn into who can plank the longest. results to follow. Happy birthday Nic sending you lots of love.

Switch off now for those whose eyes glaze over at the mention of nerdy tech stuff...
Suffice it to say we are sending these blogs, and position reports blind as we don't have internet access until we are in port. Lucy tells us, the blog formatting is a bit all over the place with line spacing etc, so no doubt we'll do a bit of tidying up when we return to wifi land.
The other thing is we can't see or reply to any comments posted on the blog of which there are quite a few according to our admin coordinator Lucy. It'll be great to have a read through any comments when we get to dry land. Finally we have only a slow data link so we
plan to add any photos to the blog once we're ashore.
I set myself the challenge of installing and using a HF radio to receive weather charts and to send emails, blogs and position reports rather than use the satellite phone which we keep for emergencies and back up. So far, providing all sending and receiving is done when
the conditions are good (it varies a lot during different parts of the day) it been working well.
We have a laptop hooked up to a data modem which talks to the HF radio. The HF radio transmits and receives through one of the wire backstays. While we are in the north Atlantic I'm sending and receiving all data via a radio coast station in Belgium.
Lore has it that you can cook bacon on the backstay from the RF emissions, and whether that's true or not, we keep well clear of the bare wire when transmitting.

The exciting SSB radio aerial

Tricky Situation in the Galley

06 August 2023 | Atlantic coast of Spain (Finisterre)
As I'm typing this Zephyr is really rolling! I've managed to recover from being seasick but still struggling negotiating simple tasks on here.
For example my mouse on this computer keeps rolling around and messing this up! We've had a couple of maintenance jobs and each
one is something important. Jamming cleat for the main halyard not holding, so to take a reef takes a bit of team work and planning. while
doing this in 25 kts and a very large swell the Hydrovane (steering wind vane) decided to part company with the rest of the gubbins to
and in the middle of all that my slow cooker also decides to take off with the entire contents. Mostly gammon! The rest of the day was
spent hanging on to Colin along with safety harness off the stern to pull everything back together. Pass the super glue he say's!!! luckily
everything is back in its place and Colin hasn't stuck himself to the stern. supper may have the addition of some dust and one or two hairs
however we have Nick Wilson's amazing ginger cake for pudding if all goes to plan

We signed up for this...

...but got mostly this on the way south

Zephyr's Photos - 2023 to South America and back in 2025
Photos 1 to 3 of 3 | Main
Dinghy chaps fitted : Not the prettiest workmanship but should keep the sun off

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