Sailing trip 2008 Hyeres – Brest

The day we had agreed to meet at the airport has come and we are going to fly from Riga to Marseilles via Stockholm. We are a bit worried about the size of our luggage and the weight of it so we weight our bags and try to even it out. After the security check is finally over we get on the plane that should take us to Stockholm. After 4 hours we will take our flight to Marseilles. We have lunch and wait for the flight. We land in Marseilles late at night and rent several cars to get to the port of Hyres. Our catamaran “Kani Keli” is anchored there. It’s already late when we arrive at the port and get our luggage out of the cars. Edgars, Gatis, Nairija and Māra stay put to get the ship ready for the trip. Mārtiņš, Māris and I got to Italy to meet the dad of Māris who is skiing in a resort some 800 km from us and has brought many necessities for the trip. We enter the address in the navigation device and follow the course through steep mountain roads passing French Riviera and Cannes on our way. We also get a chance to see Nice and Monaco. The Nice surprises us with palm groves and more or less pretty buildings. The most interesting place was Monaco with it’s visible riches, casinos, palm trees, marble roads and luminous facades. The cars on the streets were very impressive too, though it would have been more impressive if it wasn’t five in the morning when the street sweepers wash the roads. It’s a pity that the oligarchs that live in the place did not greet us in the morning and I am sure that they were sleeping at the time. We were greeted by local police that showed us a performance that would make a carnival proud when we crossed the unbroken line on our way. The first trick in their book was something we called the accelerated breeding. A male and female officer approached us and in under a minute two officers turned into six with strictly divided roles. One inspected the insides of the car while the other was holding his hand on the gun. The fourth one made us take the alcohol test and the fifth one kept yelling “voila”, especially after discovering that we haven’t been drinking. The sixth was checking our passports and made us answer to riddles, like, is Latvia the same place as Lithuania and is Lettonie just another name for Latvia or does it include Lithuania too. He also wanted to know the names of our parents, the name of our neighbor’s dog, as well as the interesting facts of life like where and why do we live, where do we work etc. After a long and fruitful narration about our childhood memories, the school years and everyday life, we parted our ways as friends. We tried to find out the reason of such interest in our colorful personalities and they replied that that way they will know us the next time we enter Monaco for the data we provided would be put into a database. Well, I guess we are welcome visitors to the Peoples Republic of Monaco. I am not going to describe Monaco for I can give no more insight on the subject that various booklets and travel guides. We walked around the F1 track that turned out to be a regular street and saw the yacht club

After a while we get on a freeway and drive to Italy where we pick up Edgars (he is the proud father of Mārtiņš) with all the goods he has with him. We have lunch and get on our way. After some time we are back in Monaco and walk around once more. We are disappointed by the fact that the friendly police officers haven’t prepared the red carpet for us and haven’t rolled out the welcome wagon. We get going and are back on the yacht that night. In the morning (05.03.2009) we get up, take a shower on the yacht, have breakfast and start sailing. The weather is nice and calm. Right now (05.03.2008 02:15 PM) the coast of Hyeres can no longer be seen and we hold our course to anywhere. We are planning to go to Mallorca and will arrive there in no less than 50 hours.

I go to sleep and the waves that shake and hit us wake me up a while later. Some of the waves are more than 3 meters high and roll over the ship drenching everyone on the deck.

Everyone is more or less seasick and thus is not too happy about the restless sea. The headwind reaches the speed of 30 knots from time to time. Gatis and I have an adaptation period and we don’t feel our vestibular systems liking the weather at all, but we still keep going and try to forget that we are wet and cold. It’s not that easy to go on your first sea voyage in weather like this when one hasn’t adapted to the weather at all. Gatis and I steer till 5 AM and only then we wake up Edgars and hand the wheel over to the captain. The slumber was nice and I wake up only in mid-day. I have a quick meal and go to my cabin to read a book that makes me sleepy once more. I wake up in the evening and its 9.15 AM already. We just had a pig baked in the middle of the sea for supper with mashed potatoes a la Kani Keli with basilico, tomatoes and some other spices. Out shift begins at 12.00 PM and we hope that we will get fair wind by the time that would carry us closer to Mallorca. The sun just set and I guess I must stop writing my memoirs and get inside to dress in something warmer. The wind really did turn in a more favorable direction, but was too strong (25-30 knots) and had a tendency of becoming stronger and making three meter waves. The yacht kept a steady speed of 10-11 knots and we managed to cover a large distance during the night. We dropped the mainsail, reefed the foresail and continued on our course. We passed the shift to both Edgarses a moment before the dawn and went to our cabins for a well deserved sleep. When I woke up I saw Edgars upset with some fish braking loose from his angle and that he had caught just a part of the fish’s mouth. The surroundings are quite nice and the Mallorca is sunny enough for some people to start sunbathing. I manage to take some pictures of playing dolphins and have a snack. We will arrive in the port in a short while and are going to spend some time there. We are going to start anchoring the yacht, prepare the rope endings and discuss the responsibilities of everyone on board. We got a message that the weather in Riga is really bad and are happy that it’s warm and sunny here.

We anchor across the large motor yacht “Jasmin” and go to the center of the small town. Here we refresh ourselves with ice cream shakes and supper and get back to the yacht for some well deserved sleep. We plan to visit Palma de Mallorca tomorrow.

We take a bus to the other side of the island where the largest town of the island (Palma) lies. Palma de Mallorca surprises us with palm trees, yachts and, of course, the huge herds of German pensioners. We walk around the town and have paella before going to Andrtx where our floating home is. We visit a supermarket and meet with the others. It’s the name day of both Edgars and thus we are going to have a celebration on the yacht. We buy some themed canvas and get to a coffee shop to have some coffee. We miss the bus and have to wait for the next one. The bus leaves us in the middle of nowhere with no lights to speak of. We spend 40 minutes walking to the port and meet up with some of our fellow sailors. We discover that Māris is stranded too and is still on his way to the port. We have some strawberries and other extras while waiting for him to arrive. We are going to have party and then go to sleep for we are planning to leave port in mid day and sail to Ibiza.

After a good night’s sleep we get up and get busy on the ship. We eat some and get ready for the trip. We must wait for the wind to stop and are ready to go. We leave the port and get into the open sea. The waves and the headwind awaits us there and that makes us fire up our engines. The waves wash all over the yacht. The sun sets and I get to my cabin to continue reading my book while both Edgars are in charge of the ship. It’s already dark when I get back outside and it’s 10.00 PM already. Our shift (the shift consists of Gatis, Māra and yours truly) begins at midnight and the shift is extremely fun this time. We sing Katyusha and Māra sits as a concrete statue of the monument of Victory and suffers from cold. We make something to eat, have some tea and continue to have fun. Māra astonishes us with hysterical laughter and makes us smile. It got even worse and Māra started laughing when we showed her just about anything. I guess she was a bit off her head. She went to sleep at 4.00 Am and Gatis and I started to get sleepy soon after that. We were so close to Ibiza that there was no point in sleeping anymore for our help would be needed to anchor the ship anyway. We get an idea to wake both Edgarses, but we have no luck in that. Gatis is desperately trying to wake the farting and snorting Edgars up. The only result of our efforts is the fact that we get sleepy. Three times we tried to wake the sleeping beauties and every time we failed miserably. The other Edgars wakes up and gets his namesake up. I guess there is a special way of waking an Edgars up. All four of us are on the deck and we get ready to enter the port. I find a free Internet access point and feel happy about it. Everyone is awake and we anchor at the pier. The wind is strong and makes the process harder than usual. The night helmsmen go to sleep after a tasty breakfast prepared by Nairija. We wake up at 4 PM and go and after taking the shower get going towards the town. We walk around the small Southern town. The temperature here is more than 20 degrees Celsium, but the fine weather is spoiled by the strong wind that whistles in the shroud. We feast on some chicken and get back to the ship. Māra is still very seasick and still laughs at almost everything. We meet the others on the yacht and start on our way to the Old Town of Ibiza. We wanted to get there earlier but we were too stuffed with chicken for that. One cannot climb the hill with a stomach condition like that and thus we have to rest for a while and gather our strength. The Edgars are watching LNT news on the Internet, I am writing and others keep rattling the dishes. Their stomachs have no chicken in them, I guess. We are planning to visit Alicante tomorrow. I must stop writing and show something to Māra, so that she would start laughing and stop being as sour sulky as the sulphur springs of Ķemeri.

11.04.2008. It is time for breakfast. After the breakfast we get the ship ready to leave the port. Some of us take their chance to go to the town, but I get into the cabin to read my book and fall asleep. We leave the port and sail to the next island. We are going to fill our tanks with some diesel there. Everyone is in a good mood and laugh about almost everything. Māra still laughs for no apparent reason whatsoever. We take some pictures, film a bit and get to the gas station. It is warm, the water is aeruginous and we are dressed in summer clothes. Someone is sunbathing on the deck and some of us are reading. The day is just like a summer day in Latvia. I hope that everything is in blossom in Riga and there is a chance to sunbathe there too.

As it turns out we didn’t need to go to the next island for the gas station is closed and we have to go to Alicante without filling up on diesel. We stop in a beautiful bay on our way. We drop the anchor and take a chance to swim a bit. Gatis puts on his wetsuit and goggles and dives to see the propeller. I get on the deck and see both Edgarses at the helm. There is a thunderstorm around us and the waves have become quite impressive. The wind is variable. Gatis and Māra come out on the deck and both Edgarses go to sleep. We discover that it is quite hard to sleep for the wind is rocking the ship. An odd wave on our course makes us slip off its back with a loud rattle as if from a hill. We drop the mainsail and rely on the foresail alone. The speed is impressive and the GPS shows up to 15 knot speed of the boat. After a while we can see Gatarags (oriģinālo nosaukumu) clearly and it looks especially beautiful in the dark. The surroundings are made even more beautiful by the dark yellow moon just above the horizon. I talk with Gatis and the shift is over very soon. Only Māra keeps sitting as a frozen shrimp and stares in the great nothing. She reminds me of Kenny from Southpark for no apparent reason. We want to take the reef of the foresail, but have no luck for something is tangled there. Gatis goes to the bow to fix things and gets an odd wave to roll all over him from time to time. The Edgars take the shift and we go to sleep. The sunrise is not far away. I wake up and it’s sunny, warm and nice outside. The aeruginous waters of the Mediterranean and the mountainous landscape improves my mood. Almost everyone is sunbathing. We are getting close to Alicante that reminds me of Ķengarags, apart from the hills, obviously. We will enter the port soon and I will get a ton of new impressions. I guess it would have been nice even without entering any ports. We enter the yacht club of Alicante and all the places are taken so it is not possible for us to anchor there. We are offered a place in the next yacht club for 117.19 EURO, but it is too expensive and we continue to the club that is some 12 miles from the one we are right now. We eat some potatoes, baked eggplant and salad for dinner and drink apple juice. The sea has become choppy, but it is still sunny outside. We filled our gas tanks at the port though. If one takes a look at the deck or touches the surface of the yacht, one can see that it is covered with salt. We will have to wash our salted home in the next port. I downloaded the pictures of me and Gatis riding the dinghy around the yacht in my computer.

I read my book and slept till I was woken up by Gatis. It is time to get in the port. The Santa Pola looks nice from a distance. The sky is filled with kites of the kite boarders and the bulwark is covered with anglers. We are desperate to angle too. Gatis and Edgars go to the port authorities to find out the prices and to get the Internet access password. I haven’t been able to hack any wi-fi yet. We will have some tea and change our salt-soaked clothes. Maybe we will get a chance to get to the town that looks promising from a distance. We see a wooden yacht burning while having our tea. The port is nice and very sophisticated. We took shower and bought Internet access that cost us 5 EURO for 3 hours, or 10 EURO for 12. When everyone will be back from the showers we will decide what to do next. Maybe we will take a walk around the hamlet. The port database told us that we are the first Latvian yacht ever to visit the port.

We take a walk around the hamlet and discover that the only place worth seeing is the old fortress (or something like that). It was nice. We have octopus and swordfish for supper. It was quite tasty – the octopus tastes like baked Baltic herring with no bones and the swordfish is like cod. We sit on the yacht for some time and go to sleep. Gatis, Edgars and Mārtiņš leave us in the morning. Māris and I go to the town to do some laundry. Everything is closed there. We will have to get the sheets back on the beds, I guess. At least we take our chance to have some kabob prepared by a Pakistani. We have our kabob, play nardi and listen to Indian music. The Indian music videos are real fun. We go to a coastal cafeteria for a cappuccino and eat ice cream from a coconut shell. We can hear the rustling of the palm trees in the distance and see some naked Spanish ladies sunbathing. It was a fairly enjoyable view and I pity the fact that the camera was on the yacht

Edgars had visited to a Chinese shop and has brought us a lot of necessities and a palm tree that is going to be our travel-mate. We are planning on visiting the Russian shop tomorrow to see the Natashka with huge eyes.

The Glass and Ilze arrive and after a short laugh we go to sleep. We get back in the sea the next day, see some jets making loops in the distance, and notice a submarine surfacing not far from us. In the evening we arrive in a mysterious port and go to sleep. We get back on our way to Almeria at 5 AM (16.04.2008). Only Māra and I stay on the deck. Everyone else is asleep. We notice a small whale just before the darn. Māra is at the crow’s nest and yells that she can see dolphins. We get to the bow of the yacht and see some dolphins playing in the sea. I even manage to take some photos. After the breakfast I read my book and fall asleep. I am woken by Edgars catching a tuna-fish. Everyone is busy with preparing dinner and I assume that we will have baked tuna-fish with salad. We didn’t get any water or power in the last port and while there is no trouble with the power supply, the water has run out. Ilze has no idea how to wash the tuna-fish; I guess she must have forgotten that there is plenty of water in the sea. We bake the tuna-fish and have it for dinner. We have tea from the bowls for every single cup is dirty. The Glass manages to catch a scomber and Edgars gets a cellophane bag on his angle. Another bag gets tangled on the propeller, but I manage to get it off with the help of the Glass. We get in the port of Almerimar and the harbormaster is an incredibly talkative fellow. He tells us that he can speak seven languages and understands nine. He also tells us that a cousin of his has visited Majori during the Second World War. He had fought the Russians as a member of the Division Azul. We anchor at the pier and make a suspicious looking plank way to the pier. Everyone is scared to pass the plank way for it looks unstable. We buy some food and have some beer while the women are cleaning the dished. We also make plans of visiting the showers. Tomorrow we will most likely stay in the port due to the hurricane.

It turned out that the weather forecast was right, the winds are heavy, but it is no hurricane. We have no adventures and just sit in the port waiting for the wind to drop. We go to the beach and take photos of the enormous waves. We are fed up with sitting in one place and I hope that the weather improves and we will be able to get going. We have some 130 miles left to Gibraltar. A change of crew is planned there and after that we will get going. One can say that everything is fine if not for the storm that makes us stay here. The sea looks nice, but the town has nothing of interest. We get the impression that the town was built yesterday and is not yet inhabited. There are a lot of ads for apartments near the real estate offices. It looks really great on the photos and it sounds good too – an apartment in the South of Spain on the coast of Mediterranean, but there is virtually nothing to do here. One can stare out of the window at the beauty outside, but for how long? The yacht club is fine, just that the showers are strange – icy cold water in one of them and boiling hot in the others. There is nothing to see here and I long for the sea. I will write you once we get out in the sea. I can only mention the Lithuanian shop that sells champagne from Riga and other goodies. There are quite many Lithuanians here. People mistake us for Lithuanians and I don’t think that it’s a good thing for they are not the most favorite nation of the local population. If one wants to check himself for sea sickness, one can do it at the port for the port is tossy enough.

18.04.2008. The morning is cloudy. We have breakfast and manage to catch some crabs and boil them. We buy Internet access and get to shower as a part of a morning walk. The sun can be seen between the clouds and we think of going to Almeria. The car rent office has a lunch break and we decide to take a bus. I am not too eager to go anywhere – I am sleepy and want to go out in the sea. The forecast predicts favorable weather tomorrow and thus we might be able to get on our way tomorrow. We won’t be going far, just some eight hours till the next port. The next port is going to be Motrila and it is half way to Malaga. After that the weather is going to be fine and there will be a change of the crew. Māris is already looking for tickets and is planning to be home tomorrow in the evening. I finish my book and decide that the ending was incredibly good. There was a long description of the death of the protagonist’s girlfriend. Nice descriptions of blood flowing out of her mouth etc. I really didn’t understand the reasoning of the author to describe it that way. It would have been much easier to kill her much faster. Well, now I must find a new book to read.

19.04.2008 Māris is gone to the airport and we set sail to the sea. The weather is calm and we are merry. Māra laughs for no apparent reason and it is starting to annoy me. The crew members have perfect understanding and everything is fine. I pity Māris who decided that we wouldn’t make it to Gibraltar in 22.04 and left. The wind rises and makes 3 to 5 meter high waves. The weather conditions detoriate and we decide to get to the port of Punta de la Mona. The port authorities want an enormous sum of money and we decide to go to the next port. We arrive at the port of Caleta de Velez late at night, anchor by the waiting pier and spend the night there. The club is nice with great showers and a laundry service. We are surrounded by fishermen boats and hordes of shitting gulls. Some sailors have stuffed owls attached to their ships. The owls must distract the little bombers on their bomb runs. The boats with no owls are covered with a thick layer of guano. Everything else has suffered from the bomb runs too. Edgars and I fix the toilets and showers of the yacht and do some other maintenance work. The others are out shopping for food supplies. After that we sail to the homosexual city Benalmaden. The port is awkward and the harbor-master is extremely stupid. He doesn’t even get to passing us the anchor chain We manage to anchor after a short hassle, but it is difficult to get ashore for the yacht is far from the pier. Getting to the shore proves to be an impossible task for the ladies. Edgars and I make a rope bridge, but only the two of us are bold enough to use it. We decide to walk around the port and find a plank for the footbridge, but are not successful. We talk the dumbass from the port that we can drive the dinghy in the port and thus can get ashore without falling into the water. We have great supper and go out to the city. We see some guys walking hand in hand, but all in all it’s no that bad. The town is nice and we walk around a bit. We find a pub and have some beers. We decide to take a different route back to the boat and discover that the road we took goes by the beach. There are a lot of bars and strip clubs on the way. Almost every bar has a puller-in who tries to get us in and tells us why we should visit his bar. We walk around the yacht club and decide that it is nice too. It reminds us of Venice. The yachts and motorboats are anchored by lighted houses in small canals. The sight is truly impressive. We exchange photos and everyone goes to sleep. I have a few drinks with the Glass and talk for a while. We go to sleep and get up two hours later to help Ilze, Nairija and the Glass to get off the yacht and to the airport.

There are only three of us left – Māra, Edgars and me. Today (21.04.2008) we set sail for Gibraltar and the crew will change. Māra is going to leave us, but we will be joined by Jānis, Inokentijs, Uldis and Māris. We want to get to Ceut before getting to the Gibraltar.

The trip to Ceut is fun – Māra sleeps all the time and Edgars and I sail through the large waves and headwind. The waves reach 5 meters in height and the wind speed reached the level of a storm. Due to magnetic anomalies the GPS lost signal, the compass reminded a teetotum and there was no way to get our position right. We got lost, but managed just fine. We didn’t find Ceut and decided to go straight to Gibraltar. The place is famous for the monkeys and the cliff of Gibraltar. I hope that Māra will find the monkey of her life for she keeps babbling about them all the time. We see the dolphins and manage to film them. There is a submarine in the distance. One can see a beautiful sunset at Gibraltar. The sea has calmed down and it’s dark around. The coastline is decorated with various lights and it’s the only way to see where the shore is. We saw a meteorite soon after the moon had risen and it looked like a rocket, but was followed by a strange sound and changed its color before fading away completely. We arrive at the Strait of Gibraltar in the dead of night. Edgars is at the wheel and Māra just stares around while I use my computer to correct the course. We manage to do just fine and are proud of ourselves. We arrive at the port at 2 AM and take a shower. We are tired and go to sleep. Today we are going to do laundry and walk around the town. We will climb the cliff to see the monkeys too. Everything is nice, the sun is up and it is 20 degrees Celsium. I put on my shorts, t-shirt and get ready to go in the streets. We should wash the yacht before that. Everything is covered with salt. Even the dry clothes are covered with a white layer of salt. The freshwater turns to brine after washing the hair. I feel fine, but am tired. I feel muscle pain and the hands are smarting after the yesterday’s heroics. We are going to have a rest today and then get ready to break the waves and the wind of the ocean near the shores of Portugal. Good-bye Mediterranean and hail to the Atlantic Ocean!

We go to the center of Gibraltar and climb the monkey cliff. We drive a small bus and the driver is also our guide. We saw the army tunnels in the cliffs. The guns can be used to shoot at the ships in the sea. We entered an enormous cave filled with stalactites. There is a stage there. The Miss World competition and other events have taken place there. The streets are filled with shops selling alcohol, electronics, cigarettes and various souvenirs. Everything is tax free and much cheaper than in Riga. I liked the monkeys the most. It’s quite hot outside (27 degrees Celsium). It would be nice to visit this place once more, both for the monkeys that roam the top of the mountain and for the city. The Gibraltar belongs to the England and thus everything is like in England, except for the cars that drive like in Europe. We met the new crew members and go to the city once more. Everything is closed, but its warm and nice there. We go to a pub and celebrate the change of the crew. We get up just after the dawn. We have plans to cross the Strait of Gibraltar to Ceut (a city of Spain on the African side of the strait). We see a fin and are not too sure what that means. I am in Ceut right now and we will be filling up with gas pretty soon. This is a tax free zone and thus we might save some money on fuel and other things. Māris, Inokentijs and Uldis went to buy some food for the next four days. Tomorrow we cross the Strait of Gibraltar and sail to Sinesh (Portugal). The trip might take us 3-4 days. We are waiting for the food to arrive and then we will go out to the city. It’s hot here, must be above 30 degrees Celsium. Since it’s a tax free zone we might buy something. We want to buy a TV for the yacht and some other things.

We just came back from the city and are less than happy. It’s a dump and is no match for Gibraltar. We got in an Arabian quarter and everyone was eyeing us there. It was no fun. We have a TV on the ship now and will be able to see our favorite Mexican TV shows and the soccer games between Zimbabwe and Ghana. We got the digital TV decoder with the permission of the Wind and the picture quality is perfect. We don’t understand the language, though. We also long for a bath.

We left Ceuta on 23.04.2008. The wind was good and we get through the Strait of Gibraltar with a full spinnaker. We manage to get into a zone of 7 meter high waves and 40 knot wind by the Cabo de sao Vincente. We manage to gather the spinnaker and are on our way. In the evening we are in Sines and are going to spend the night there. On the next day we wander around the town and have a tasty dinner. The Sines is nothing to write home about – I don’t even know why we bothered to stop there. We leave the port in the evening and sail to Lisboa. We arrive in Lisboa at night (27.04.2008) and anchor in a very noisy port. Planes fly low above the masts and the trains rattle nearby. Our sleep is no way improved by the never-ending discos in portside pubs. We have a short nights sleep and take a walk around Lisboa. We take an excursion and see the famous places of the city. The city is interesting, but I gather that there is not much to do for more than a day. We leave the noisy port in the middle of the next day and reach the port of Leixoes in 29.04.2008. The trip to the port was fun and I don’t think I need to tell you about the great waves and the wind, it’s everyday life here. The interesting thing is that we managed to get stuck in some nets, but managed to get away from the place. Edgars and I got totally wet when we were trying to get the rope of the net off of us. Every wave was like a salty and refreshing shower. We frightened a Chinese ship to the point of nervous break-down and the ship even stopped completely to let us enter the port without crashing. There was a sign on the board of the ship that said „Greenpeace Stolen wood 08.03.2008”. We saw a few herds of dolphins on our way, but no whales. The atmosphere onboard is nice and the crew is united. Inokentijs even got out of the cabin and inspected the propellers that turned out to be in perfect working order. We miss Nairija’s meals, but we will manage. We are going to the tram that will take us to Porto. The beautiful flower of Latvian sailing world Sigita will arrive in the evening and Uldis will arrive too. The crew is going to be strengthened even more.

We get on our way in the morning and hold our course to a Spanish town called Sansenxo. We were told that it is the best port in Galicia and the VOLVO OCEAN RACE starts from there. The King of Spain (or a person of comparable importance) opened the port. The town is nice and the showers are fine. Edgars, Jānis, Inokentijs and I go to the local taperia to eat some sea beasts. We start with octopus, baked herrings and finish with freshly caught sea worms. Some of the meals were really good. E.g. the oil boiled fish dumplings were just great with white wine. After the debauchery we got back to the port and went to bed. In the morning (02.05.2008) we bought some food and visited a few other shops. We walked around the city, got an Internet connection and set sail for the ocean. This time we went to La Coruna. It is a Spanish city that is the last stop before crossing the Bay of Biscay. The time flies and we get to the port of La Coruna at 5.30 AM 03.05.2008. We maneuver in the dark and manage to anchor just fine. There is some trouble with the Internet here. The only place we got any sort of connection was on the roof of the yacht with the PC on the main yard. We rest for a while, buy some food and a few navigation almanacs for the region. Uldis and Māris went home and now we have a crew of six. We must fill our fuel tanks and then we will enter the Bay of Biscay. We get going at 2:30 PM. The weather is calm and there is a variable lull. We sail with our diesel-sail and get farther and farther from the coast till the coast can no longer be seen. There is only horizon all around us. A group of dolphins swim around us and we enjoy their company. The crew is active, some of us eat, and some of us talk to each other. It is the wonderful everyday life of yachtsmen. A large warship passes us and then its dolphins again. We see a helicopter evacuating people from a small ship. It must have been exercises, but I have no way of knowing that. My shift begins at 3.00 AM. I am in one shift with Inokentijs and I am not too happy about it. I notice light and luminous stripes in the water not far from us. I show them to Uldis and keeps telling me that I am hallucinating until he sees the stripes for himself. We keep going and see some dolphins playing around the yacht. The light stripes must come from the breathing holes of plankton or something. This was the first time I saw it and I saw a similar thing a while later. I start to get sleepy by 6.00 AM, but it is already the time for the change of the shift and Jānis and Edgars change us.

04.05.2008 It’s the Independence day of Latvia and we decide to celebrate it in the middle of the Bay of Biscay. We hoist the flag on the crosstrees and sing the National Anthem. We have a feast and a glass of whiskey. There is no point in writing about the dolphins – they are here all the time. We played a game called “touch a dolphin” and the results are – Uldis 2, Edgars 1 and I managed to touch the dolphins twice too. The others must be short handed. A dolphin feels like rubber, but touching them creates positive emotions and we are happy as children. We see a jet of water for a few times and decide that it must have been a whale

A low flying Marine airplane approaches us to make the Independence Day even more colorful and changes its course towards the shore after a short inspection. I guess it means that someone is in control of the territory, although one cannot say that the place is civilized – only sea beasts and natural phenomena around. We have some 150 sea miles to Brest (a sea mile – 1852m) and we are planning on arriving in Brest in 05.05.2008. The calculations show us that we have managed to cover 2000 sea miles in 30 days. We have gained a load of positive emotions and an inner peace and coherence with nature. The trip to Brest was eventless. We took an express train to Paris and got on a LIDO show there. We spent one night in a hotel and went to the Paris airport the next day. A group of people wait for us in Riga airport and the only thing left is to have some champagne and go home. A part of the trip is over and the next sail trip is not that far away. It was really cool and I would recommend it to everyone.