Portugal to Canary Islands: Day 1

Day 1 (Thursday 1 September):

By the time we left anchorage, the wind had died down and was a perfect speed and direction for the day’s travels. We motored out of the harbour and past many fishing boats and buoys before soon turning the motor off for the day. The sails were soon set and we were broad reaching in 15-20 knots of wind and moving along swiftly towards our destination.

As we were approaching the edge of the continental shelf just after lunch, we spotted “loads” of dolphins, by the kids’ estimation. They were larger than the dolphins we had seen in the Bay of Biscay, but equally playful. Several played around in our bow wake for quite some time, keeping the kids well entertained and allowing them to easily forget about the schoolwork which was waiting for them below decks! The dolphins seemed to be taking advantage of the good fishing grounds to be found in the upwelling zone near the shelf break. On the shelf, the water temperature was at 19.4 degrees Celsius. After crossing the continental shelf, the water temperature increased to 21 degrees. (We would see it steadily increase – hitting above 28 on day 3!)

Later, the wind began filling in to about 20-25 knots from behind. The swell was quite large and it kept the boat steadily rolling. It remained so throughout the night. Early in the afternoon, a little bird was seen landing on our child netting. Roughly 30 miles offshore, this tiny bird, about the size of a sparrow, was quite out of place. He would certainly be best suited eating insects in someone’s back garden. (At the time, we didn’t realize it, but he was likely catching a ride to his holiday destination. He didn’t resurface until day 3… but he remained on board. I hope he brought his passport!)

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