Laniakea - The first thousand nautical miles!

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Our first destination was the Balearic Islands. We enjoyed with delight the deserted coves and the intense blue sea. Because of Covid, contact with other people proved to be rather difficult but nevertheless we had some lovely encounters, especially in Puerto Soller, on the island of Mallorca. In Formentera, thanks to our shallow draught of just 20 inches (50 cm), we escaped a strong gale by taking refuge in a closed lagoon, that only the fishing boats and the pretty Majorquines could get into. After that there were several days of intense sailing. Taking advantage of each weather window, we accumulated the miles, taking turns at the helm day and night because we had no autopilot and the wind was far too changeable for the windvane gear. As we approached Gibraltar, we went up an endless line of cargo ships at anchor. For three days we were made to wait for the wind. Then suddenly the Levante rose, with force and with violent gusts, obliging us to take in the sails urgently. Even without sails, we were still moving forward at 4 knots. That lasted for an hour or so, and then there was nothing more. The wind disappeared, leaving us to be tossed around by the breaking waves. We then hoisted the sails again and ten minutes later the wind was back, with the same force... before disappearing again. We spent the whole night maneuvering, hoisting and lowering the sails constantly. In the morning, exhausted, we anchored at the foot of the famous rock. Two days later, the Straits of Gibraltar were in our wake. We were happy to have been able to test the boat in tough conditions. We stopped for a few days in the beautiful city of Cadiz and then left to shelter from more windy conditions upstream on the Guadiana, which marks the border between Spain and Portugal. And it was overlooking this river, in the small perched village of Mertola, that we celebrated our first thousand miles, in the company of a horde of Portuguese motorcyclists, with a Portuguese Fado playing in the background.

Who: Nicolas and his family
Where: Around the world
Multihull: Wharram Tanenui 29
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