Just to sum it up, I’m about to cross the Atlantic from Martinique to Belgium to learn how to sail and to pass time until the right sailing season starts (in 6 months) to go from the Canaries island by boat to South America.
Therefore, since I left Gran Canaria, I flew with Serge (the skipper) to Martinique and spent one week there before sailing.
We met Guy, the last crew member joining us in our long trip.
We bought enough food for 2 months and left in a hot morning. I had no idea what to buy and followed Serge experience when strolling around the supermarket.
I was not stressed but just curious. I had no experience of sailing and did not really know what to expect.
Serge organized the life on board very well. We would share the night in 3 quarters where each of us would take a shift to make sure the boat follows his road.
Concerning the food, each of us would cook every 3 days.
It took me some time to adjust to this new world. It was not easy as I had to follow many rules I was not familiar with.
The hardest part was to understand that I did not know that much and accept that I had to observe first before speaking.
No wifi, no phone, no sound, no distraction. I would live with the sun for the next 2 months.
We did speak a lot together but had tremendous moment of complete silence.
At night, our only companion was the moon.
And one night out of three, one of us would see the sunrise.
But everyday we would see our dolphins friends playing with us when not fishing.
Weeks passed. We became friends.
It took us 4 weeks to navigate from Martinique to the Azores… Walking and seeing green color is not an over-rated pleasure, trust me.
We made a small break and enjoyed pleasures of those islands…
We spent 3 days in Terceira island, wandering and enjoying the freedom that only an island can give you.
3 days later, we filled up food, wine, rum and batteries…
We kept on sailing for another three weeks until Belgium.
I recommend to everyone who wants to know if his/her wife/husband is the right partner to try that transatlantic experience.
You’ll know very fast if your mate is the good one or not! Besides that, you’ll eventually cool down and realize our planet is mainly water and there is wild life all over it.
We did not have much wind on this second part and enjoyed a very calm ocean for the next 2 weeks.
We finally arrived in Belgium. It was a strange feeling after being disconnected from everything (TV, internet, smartphone, weather forecast, friends, family, showers… ) and lived in 12 meters with 2 other persons for 2 months.
Anyway, our arrival in Brussels was legendary and after a couple of drinks I was literally Arthur Manneken pis !
We said goodbye to each other and to an once-in-a-lifetime-experience we lived all together.
I spent a few days in Bruxelles with Serge and the owner of the boat then I started hitchhiking again. I passed fast through Germany to visit a precious friend of mine.
And went to Austria to pick up the new tent I ordered months ago.
It’s called “the Flying tent”. I made a 2500 km hitchhiking detour just to make sure I got it. I’d no longer be subject to mosquitoes and any kind of crawling shit. Only 2 kilos of pure happiness !
I kept on going to Switzerland, France and I started my world trip all again ! I saw friends who were on my way…
Summertime in Europe is always nice.
And finished in Biarritz my trip in France.
And left my country like I did 6 months ago drinking some wine with my sister…
I followed the path I took 6 months ago. Spain, Portugal, Morocco again !
Nothing had changed that much except it was really hot that time and it was the wedding season in Morocco. Everyday, you would hear car horns celebrating a new union wherever I would go.
Coming back allowed to me to proudly assist at my cousin’s wedding (look at them: they are beautiful 🙂
Next day, I left my cousin and did hitchhike to the south. I was tired as I did not sleep that much. I was not ready to meet the crazy Taha and his friend who was about to get married !
They invited (forced) me to join and gave me a shirt so that I could blend in the crowd.
Assisting at those traditions while being the only non-Moroccan in the ceremony was something.
And I watched this whole show just like if I was part of a movie.
Next day, after recovering of the last night, I finally reached Agadir where I visited my very great friend Incham and his roomate Amine.
I was as happy as surprised when I discovered he bought a guitar the day I left ! He started to play it and learnt everything by himself !
I taught them the few blues scales I knew and we jammed for a couple of days with his roommates as well.
One week later, I went to the main marina of Agadir to reach the Canaries islands. Unfortunately there was no boat sailing there. As usual, I went and asked every man. I met a french captain.
I realized he was a friend I knew from Las Palmas. We laughed and he told me he could eventually drop me in the port of Madeire Island, 500 km in the north (not really my way), the last stop sailors make before sailing to the Canaries islands.
It was meant to be an easy navigation but we faced a hell of a storm that really put me down. For 3 days, I could barely eat, drink, sleep and still had to help my friends (as I promised).
Highest waves were about 12m with wind gusts of 130 km/h. I was terrified but after 2 days of storm, I “got used to it” and finally started to relax.
I still could not take any picture and only took one when it cooled down and we saw our deliverance, Madeira Island.
Madeira was worth a freaking ocean storm. It is one of the most beautiful and diverse island I have ever seen. I also found the nicest, funniest and humblest people ever !
After being sick on that boat, I NEEDED to go hiking very bad. I went solo trekking one week and covered most of the island like I did in Las Palmas before the transatlantic. I hope those pictures will make you travel there.
I walked more than 200 km in 10 days all around the island.
I crossed every kind of landscape while traveling alone. There were waterfalls everywhere.
It goes from ocean to 1800 m high (Pico Ruivo).
Full of crazy trails.
Cliffs on both sides, better walk straight !
The most surprising side of Madeira island was its dense forest.
They were more than 10 centuries old…
And covered most of the island (Madeire means wood in Portuguese).
After 10 days of hiking I came back to the port and started to look for boats.
I wandered around and met Jean-Baptiste, a French skipper, expert of Tai-Chi. He took me straight to Las Palmas !
We left the port while saying goodbye to Jorge, an amazing Portuguese who hosted me on his boat during the time I was looking for a ride.
He welcame me as a member of his family, taking me to pubs, clubs, family… A 20 years old gran-pa !
Not even one hour after leaving we witnessed a savage hunt of dolphins and birds chasing sardines… What a come back to the wild world of the Atlantic !
A few hours later, we faced conditions that were not comfortable at all… We got big big waves. However, it is always the same rule, let it go once, or twice and you will feel better. I suffered the first day but enjoyed the next two.
The storm passed and we finished our navigation steering the boat one after the other as the auto-pilot has just died !
So here it is !
It was hard to believe it but after a detour of 15000 km and 4 months , I was back to Las Palmas, my original destination !
Now I’m ready to do the original transatlantic to South America: the crossing season is about to start !
Motivation always pays !