Into the Blue - 29:00.75N 19:35.38W

The Return of Irene III - 2018
Louis Goor
Mon 4 Dec 2017 09:05
Sunday 3 December 2017 - Departing La Gomera - Day 1 at Sea

Our final evening in San Sebastian was marked by a torrential rainstorm
which meant that several of us arrived at the very fancy Salamanca
restaurant wet through. However the menu was so enticing, we soon forgot the
soggy steaming clothes and enjoyed our last land based supper.
By 11pm, most of the crew were ready for bed and headed for the boat while
two stalwarts decided to check out the bars of San Sebastian. On returning
to Irene III, we discovered that one of the hatches had not been properly
closed and the heavy rain had seeped inside and soaked the freshly laundered
bedding. Luckily the marina's night watchman came to the rescue, opened the
laundromat and an industrial dryer was pressed into action.

During their tour of La Gomera's bars, our pair of merry revellers had set
themselves the challenge of finding a guide who was willing to take us on an
early morning tour of the island. A barman of Uruguayan origin volunteered
for the task and he duly reported to the marina office at 7am. Under cover
of darkness, Wilson drove us into the mountains above San Sebastian. The
higher he drove, the colder and mistier it got. However as it became light,
we found ourselves at 1,400 metres altitude surrounded by the temperate
laurel rainforest that La Gomera is renowned for.
By 9am, all hands were back on deck, and the excitement and anticipation of
our impending voyage was really building. After filling our diesel tanks to
the brim it was time to set sail.

The dark grey clouds hanging low over San Sebastian, leant a comforting,
almost West of Ireland feeling to our departure. As the town receded, our
First Mate, Johnny Frey took a few hard drags on his final cigarette and
then flicked the (biodegradable) butt overboard. Johnny's decision to quit
smoking has added cold-turkey to our menu for the coming weeks.

Now that we're at sea, the routine changes quite dramatically. We are all
safety harnessed. Everything below is stowed away so as to avoid stuff
flying about when the boat heaves. Mugs of tea/coffee are never more than
half-filled and we're thinking about both our water and electricity usage
with a completely mindset.

As we navigated around the south of la Gomera, a pod of dolphins appeared
alongside and surfed back and forth in front of our bow. Their seemingly
effortless and elegant moves added to the excitement being felt by all on

The winds on our first day have been variable. Given that she's 60 feet
long, Irene III, needs a minimum of ten knots of wind to sail effectively.
In our first 24 hours we've had between 4 - 24 knots of wind speed. At the
higher winds she glides along comfortably at 8-10 knots over the water.
The weather patterns so far this Atlantic crossing season, haven't been at
all like normal. That's why we're taking a more northerly route than usual,
in search of the available winds.

Just after 6pm, we rounded the southern tip of La Palma island. That was our
last glimpse of land until we reach the Carribbean. A short while later, a
large and full orange moon appeared over the horizon. As she rose in the sky
and brightened, bathing the waves in a silver glow, we all appreciated just
how lucky we are to be sharing this adventure together.