Sail Blog

I join the journey in progress in Brighton England, November 16th, and will make entries of our journey through the English Channel, down the coast of France, Spain and Portugal, and then across to the Canary Islands. We plan to travel with a clear focus on mindfulness and living in gratitude and Love. It should be just amazing.

Here is a link to the web site of “Sailing from Here to Here,” which is the official blog of Randi, who owns the boat.

Sailing from Here to Here

The Big Yes to this all!

Blake Steele
Monday, Nov. 18, 2013

This morning I awoke to Randi and Justin shouting up on deck about dolphins. We watched a pod playing all around us on the calm sea. I love them! Randi’s delight in them, clicking and speaking to them, is so evident. Later, I sat on the bow for perhaps 30 minutes, being with a pod of about 5 bottle-nose dolphins. Ah… the grace and freedom!  The whole sea is their home… vast spaces of bottomless depths, no forms, watery emptiness with varying degrees of light and dark, of green, gray and black —       lonely, wet bleakness. And yet, they have each other… and fish… and they play. One arched up high in a little dolphin rainbow of movement towards the sky. Another had a scar on its back, perhaps from a brush with a shark. I spoke with them, telling them I loved them. So often one would roll onto its side and look up into my eyes, making connection.

The sea is calm. We were under sail, but Randi just started the engine. The skies are cloudy, and a bit dark to the South-West. The coast of France is still visible to the East, but soon we shall be out in the fathomless, bleak wastelands of water and freedom.

November 21, 2013
Coruna, Spain

We arrived here yesterday after a 3 1/2 day sail from Brighton England across the Sea of Biscay. Randi has over 30 years sailing experience and we are so blessed to have Justin, a super experienced sailor, navigator on board. He found us the window in the weather, planned the tides just right and we had a safe crossing. The winds hit 40 knots a couple of times, and the seas got rough, but we had the winds behind us and made good time. Overall, the trip unfolded exactly as he predicted. I learned a lot about the importance of studying tides as well as wind directions and weather in advance and planning the timing in detail. It made a huge difference.

Lots of dolphins, which was just fantastic, I love dolphins! And there is nothing like sunrise on the sea. We also had a full moon illuminating our nights.

Now the trip will get really interesting as we basically day sail from port to port down the coast of Northern Spain and Portugal. So much to see. Justin will leave us in Porto, Portugal, so we have room for 3 or 4 people to join us. Come on board!

Wed, November 27, 13
Cacscais, Portugal, near Lisbon

Many adventures since the last entry: We are now in a marina near Lisbon Portugal. We have been pressing on because of the amazing weather and the opportunity it gives us. Sunny, with mostly light winds and fairly calm seas: very unusual for this time of year. This hasn’t meant it has always been easy. There has been enough excitement to qualify this as a real adventure with Spinnaker sailing adding lots of excitement, and a night of wildly variable winds to challenge our sailing skills.
The dolphins always bring the most amazing energy of joy. At one point we looked to our right and 7 dolphins were surfing a wave in a perfect formation.

I think you have to get out on the sea to get a sense of how truly vast it is. At one point on our journey over the sea of Biscay we had over 5,000 meters of water underneath us: deep, deep… very deep.

We continue to harvest so much food from it, but for how long? The sea is vast, but our consumption of its gifts is vast as well. We need wisdom and everyone working together to find better ways to be, to live, on this precious planet. So with that thought, we prepare for a 5 day and night voyage from Lisbon to the Canary Islands. Onward, upward, and inward into Love.

November 28, 13
Cascais, Portugal, near Lisbon

Work day on the boat, fixing lines inside the mast. Randi had it worked on in Norway and they evidently didn’t do it right. We have had trouble getting the mainsail up and down because of interference with the way they put in the electrical wiring. Definitely part of life on a sailboat, the constant maintenance.

We have two new sailing partners and are losing Justin tomorrow. He has been a tremendous help, getting us here safely, and now returns to England. In his place are Pierre from France and his lady friend Maria from Spain. I (Blake) ran into them on the dock. They were looking to crew on a boat heading for the Canaries. It seems like a perfect fit, as they are open-hearted, adventurous young people with sailing experience. They both taught sailing in Southern Ireland all last summer and have their own boat, which they left in Northern Spain, feeling it was too small to round Cape Finisterre. So here we are, a band of happy travelers, preparing for a 5 and ½ day sail to the Canaries.

December 5, 2013
Playa Blanca, Lanzarote, The Canary Islands.

The sun lay low in the sky, sinking rapidly into twilight, as we motored along the Western coast of Lanzarote, the Eastern-most island of the Grand Canaries. All of our eyes looked a bit old, from lack of regular sleep… but they were all shining with a glad light, for our 5 day and night journey from Portugal was coming to a close, here, on land, land, solid, unmoving land.

Small, all white Greek-like villages lay along the coast, where black rivers of ancient lava flows are predominant. The island is barren, but stark and beautiful in its own way. Naked beauty.

It hasn’t really settled in yet… that we made it. After 17 days from England, (for me), and much more for Randi and Hanna who started in Oslo, we are here. But where? I know very little of this little island where all the buildings are white, and non over 3 stories high, a regulation enacted after the passionate vision and lobbying of César Manrique, 20th century artist and architect of Lanzarote who believed that if its citizens would  create an island of tranquility and charm, tourism would come. His vision has proven itself true.

Pierre and Marta have proven to be good sailors and companions. Randi, Hanna and I continued our daily sharing and Pierre and Marta joined us for our final session. I’m always amazed how much this simple practice opens people’s hearts to each other, and clears the air.

Speaking of clear air, there is nothing like the great oceans of air that move over the great oceans of water. Slowly the winds grew warmer, until the final day, when a cold front moved through stirring up the winds and sea.

I love the wild energies of Creation!

The dolphins continued to enrich our lives with their presence. One evening I sat alone on the bow of Angelwings, gazing at the sun as it entered the last hour of the day. They came, a few at a time, then more and more until there were perhaps 20 of them. They seemed especially playful. Perhaps they too appreciated the beauty of the sky and were inspired. One, just off our starboard bow keep leaping out of the water, then came half way out, peering over the lip of waves at the sun. We meditated, he in his watery world 3,000 meters deep, me on this pitching ship, riding the winds.

Another leapt out of the water with its belly up towards my feet, looking at me, then did a graceful backwards dive into the sea.

Four of our nights were clear, and the sky spattered with stars, making our night hour night watches fly by. Hanna especially expressed her love of the night watches, being close to stars and moon.

December 17, 2013

We anchored in Playa Blanca, on the south end of Lanzarote, very happy and thankful to be back safely on shore. After a couple of days getting rested, Randi left for Norway, and the following day Hanna for the UK. I had three fantastic days of solitude, resting, doing my spiritual practice, meditating, doing Siddhasana, and stretching. Then two of Randi’s friends arrived from Norway: Bente and Lene. They are kindred souls and though I didn’t relish surrendering my cherished solitude at first, they proved to be great people. The following day, Monday, we walked some distance across windswept terrain that looked like the surface of the moon, until we arrived at some fairly isolated sandy beaches. It was a fantastic day, swimming, playing in some rather large waves, and exploring the area. A couple of days later we rented a car and drove all over Lanzarote, picking Randi up at the airport as the day came to a close.

The next morning we sailed from Lanzarote to Lobos Island, off the north end of Fuerteventura, to explore and swim, then down the coast of Fuerteventura. It was a long day’s sail, but the wind was in good spirit… coming from the North East. After a night sleeping at Morro Jable’s fishing port we set sail for the open sea again, crossing to the southern end of Gran Canaria Island in a long day. The winds were beneficent again, strong and from the North East, and the open sea was rough. We arrived at night at Puerto de Mogan, on the south shore of the island after dark.

It is a small yacht marina, but packed with boats, as this area is very popula,r as some say, it has the most perfect weather in the world. The sun was warm, the water amazingly pleasant, and I spent a glorious day naked on some rocks, soaking up sun and sea.

Puerto Mogan is charming. It is not old, but they have done a great job with the architecture during its development: Spanish looking white two story buildings with verandas. Bright buganvillas and palm trees grace its narrow streets. We all felt like this was meant to be our base, at least for now.

We met other friends from Scandinavia who had come down to connect with Angelwings, including Hanna’s mother. The following morning I caught a bus and flew to England to be with my daughter and granddaughers a few days before I fly to Sweden to be with my love. I then return to Gran Canaria Dec. 26th for the workshop events. Come join us, if you long for the sun and sea.

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