Thank you for taking your time to check this out! If you have sailed across the Atlantic as crew (or attempted) or captain, I’d love to hear from you!
I’m updating book Ocean Nomad: The Complete Atlantic Sailing Crew Guide – How to Catch a Ride & Contribute to a Healthier Ocean.
Therefore I’m expanding my research to get a better idea about the current state and recent experiences on crewing, crew finding, the weather, and the environment. More data will help to make the next passagemakers to make their dream happen: informed, safe, and meaningful!
Would you like to help and answer a few questions? Thanks!
If there are questions you rather not answer or don’t remember, no worries, skip it. If you don’t remember certain details, skip the question. Your answers will stay fully anonymous, unless you indicate otherwise.
THANK YOU for your contribution!
As a thank you for the efforts, you’ll go in the bucket for the chance to win book Ocean Nomad!
Amongst the respondent I’ll give away:
– 5 x Ocean Nomad E-Book
– 1 x Colour Print Copy
https://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Screenshot-2018-10-15-17.24.26.png237500Suzannehttps://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Ocean_layout3_blue.pngSuzanne2018-10-15 15:23:412019-01-27 17:48:07The Big Sailing Across the Atlantic Ocean Crew & Captain Survey
Las Palmas, a city on the northern side of Gran Canaria, is the capital of the Canary Islands. This is where Columbus left Europe to discover what is now the Americas! ‘Muelle Deportivo de Las Palmas’ is the most popular harbour and a central hub to stop, shop, and prepare for sailing out to the Atlantic. Over the years I spent about a total of five months in Las Palmas, hopping on (&off) boats, provisioning and exploring. I discovered some useful info for those setting sail for the Atlantic whether you’re already on a boat or not.
A sense of place
Las Palmas is the capital of the Canary Islands (Spain). It’s a city that really has it all. Las Palmas has an ideal mix of island and natural living with all the luxuries and cultural ambiance of a city. Las Palmas is lively, active, and outdoorsy. The locals are superfriendly, proud and happy to live here and they all call it paradise. There is quite a cultural mixture here of European winter escapers, as well as ethnicities from all over the world. The cultural agenda does not seem to have a day off. Every day there is something fun organized somewhere. From live music on the street, to food events, and sports activities, competitions, rallies and races.
Though the Spanish food is amazing, Las Palmas has plenty of diversity in food and restaurants available, with many vegan options too. With endless summer climate, it’s nice to spend the winter months here. With the culinary greatness, it’s no wonder everyone is so active all the time. You got to gain and then lose those pounds. If you just go for a stroll around you’d see people playing beach volleyball, Stand Up Paddle surfing, surfing, playing paddle tennis on the beach, doing yoga on the beach, running the beach or boulevard, mountainbiking, sailing, climbing, diving, walking, inline skating, and long boarding. The opportunities are endless
The city is kind of divided into two parts: The old town in the east, called Vaqueta, and Las Canteras area in the west. The bit in between is residency, the marina and harbour, some shops in Triana. There’s quite a lot of noisy traffic around the marina but with the different beaches around the corner, you’re back in the fresh air zone in no time.
Inland Gran Canaria is a must. Almost 50% of the island is a Biosphere Reserve. Nature is just stunning. Las Palmas is a nice basecamp to explore the rest of Gran Canaria Adventure paradise. With stunning nature, the steepest elevation in the world, lots of greenery, hiking, biking and climbing trails, water and outdoor sports all around the island. 236 kilometers of coastlines, sea current that bring life close to shore for under water fun. Add the perfect climate to that and it’s an all year round playground!
The Sailor Community
It’s the perfect place to meet water-loving people with a shared love for the ocean, with the same dreams, mindset and nomadic lifestyle. You can meet all kinds of adventurers determined not to wait for retirement to make their sailing dreams happen. Some are sailing around the Canary Islands; some are just chilling in this harbour enjoying la vida Española or making a difference for a healthy ocean. Some are preparing for the Atlantic Ocean passage.
The cost of living
Las Palmas is fairly cheap. You can manage on a budget. Hostels in the Canary Islands go from €15/night. For food, plan for another €10-€20/day. If you eat where the locals eat, you can have a beer or tapa for just €1!
Searching for a boat to sail across
Lots of people show up every year looking to catch a sailboat ride across the Atlantic. Captains can decide last minute they want crew, for extra fun, safety, funds, or sleep. Or crew that’s already on board leaves for whatever reason. If you want all your questions answered on this topic, spend the $ of one hostel night on book Ocean Nomad and it’ll save you weeks of searching and figuring out stuff.
The first episode of Ocean Nomad TV is about the sailboat hitchhikers in Las Palmas. You can watch it here:
Is Las Palmas the best place to find a boat to sail across the Atlantic?
There is no best spot. Las Palmas may be the epic center of where most boats sail out for the Atlantic. Many boats come here to prepare, find the boat parts and provisioning they need, and the marina is big and fairly cheap. That said, Las Palmas is also the place that attracts many people looking for a ride. Elsewhere there may be fewer boats that possibly need crew, but also less aspiring crew.
When to be in Las Palmas?
Between November and May boats sail across. Many boats leave in November so they can have the full Caribbean season on the other side. From mid-December until after New Years it’s quiet. As from January many boats set sail again. Winds are generally good in January – March. Until around April boats set sail for the Atlantic.
The ARC and ARC+ sailing rallies depart from Las Palmas in November every year. The harbour can be pretty hectic during the weeks prior to these events. This year there are about 50-80 people looking for a boat during the ARC.
Where to meet the sailors?
Meet sailors around the marina at the reception, the Sailors Bay bar, the laundry machine, or just walking or rowing, SUPping, chatting around the harbour and bay. Make friends! Don’t just as ‘for a ride.’ Captains duck dive away when they see another ‘one of those hitchhikers’ coming. They’re busy preparing. Time it right.
Las Palmas also has a vibrant digital nomad community which is nice to mingle into if you’re an (aspiring) online entrepreneur.
Where to print your crew advertisement?
InkCrea (+/- 6 minute walk from the marina). Open from 9.00 to 17.00 (it does not close for siesta). It’s 0.08 cents for a black and white print.
Ways to find a boat
Make friends and stay determined. Perhaps the person you talk to doesn’t have a crewing opportunity. But maybe his new neighbour sailing in does. Throw out many lines and eventually, you’ll catch one. Also, keep checking online on the different platforms. Here is a list of crewwebsites.
A few words of encouragement
Know that opportunity for a crew spot can arrive anytime! Don’t give up, Stay determined. Believe, Make friends, throw out many lines, online and offline. Wear a smile. And enjoy the journey! It’s all part of the fun! I’ve waved many boats goodbye that took on Crew, either found online or here in the harbour. Some aspiring crew looks for a boat for two months. Some find one in a day. Captains find the right crew in a day but sometimes that also take weeks or months. Also realize it’s not just about finding a boat, it’s about finding the right boat. It’s a long ride and you must feel great about the captain, crew and boat. And vice versa of course! But trust me, the adventure is worthwhile. Good luck! Make it happen!
After four Atlantic Crossings I have wayyy more tips to share! I’ve put them all in book Ocean Nomad (available as E-book and in Print). 400 pages to help you on a happy, safe and meaningful ocean crossing.
What to do in Las Palmas?
Clichee but it’s about the journey, not the destination. Make it fun!
In Las Palmas
Go for a surf, hike, SUP, sail, volleyball session.
Head for the old town every Thursday evening for la Ruta de Pinchos. For €2 you can get a beer, a tapa and great Spanish ambiance in la calle (the street). A great place to meet the locals but also sailors in social mode, a great time to make friends! Bring your own plate or re-use the one they give you. It’s horrendous the amount of trash that’s generated on these evenings.
Every Friday, and sometimes on Saturday, there’s live music on the streets in Las Canteras.
Visit the church in the old town where Columbus made a prayer before he sailed out. For a small fee, you can climb the stairs to the top for a beautiful view.
Elsewhere on the island
It’s fun to take the bus and explore the mountains for a day, or weekend. Gran Canaria is an island with one of the highest elevations in the world. Almost 50% of the island is a Biosphere reserve. With lots of greenery, hiking, biking and climbing trails outdoor fun is guaranteed. Put your sport shoes on and go on an adventure. This can also be an excellent crew bonding activity before sailing out.
Where to stay in Las Palmas?
If you’re not staying on a boat (yet), where to stay? Las Palmas marina is a 30-minute walk from the old city centre, and a 20-minute walk from the popular boulevard, Las Canteras beach (Great surf spot too!). For your own convenience, don’t stay too far from the harbour. I prefer staying in Las Canteras. It’s super nice to jump straight into the sea after waking up, to go for a beach run or surf session. An extra euro is worth the seaview accommodation! Or stay closer to the marina. It’ll save you lots of time walking.
Another nice hostel is Utopia and Big Fish in Las Canteras but it’s a +/- 20-minute walk to the marina from there.
Book your hostels in advance. On the spot they charge more and they are often booked out in high season (November- January).
If you’re an online entrepreneur or freelancer you can also stay at the digital nomad co-living accommodations around town and take advantage of the internet facilities. The Roof is very close to the marina (My book Ocean Nomad – the Atlantic Sailing Crew Guide – is in the library here :). Restation is another option where you can use the wifi and printing facilities.
Apartamentos Vacaciales Las Palmas Urban Center.Self-contained apartments close to the marina
Hotel the Fataga – Next to Mercado Central. This is where the ARC crew usually stays in the month of November.
My preferred way: by bicycle! Las Palmas has cycle lanes throughout the city. Spanish style. Sometimes they just end. Also, it’s cool to cycle uphill or take a mountain bike with the car or bus inland. Take bikes in at night. They get stolen. It happened to me.
There’s a free public bike service where you can grab a bike for 30 minutes: ByBike. You must register and pick up a card. Or rent a bicycle (+/- 30 euro/ week or €75 / month)! Cheapest bike rental in Las Palmas: Bike Station.
It’s all walkable. Note that from Las Canteras to the marina is about a 20-30 minute walk and from the Old town (Vegueta) to the marina 30-40 minutes walk. There’s a bus stop close to the marina, or my preferred option: by bike.
The beach and boulevard in Las Canteras is a nice half an hour stroll. There’s a walking (& bicycle lane) all the way to the south of the island which has some nice seaviews. It’s also nice to walk up the hills to get a nice view of Las Palmas.
One ride costs 1,40 euro and brings you to the other side of town. You can hold the bus at the different busstops along the street. From ‘Estacion de Guagguas Bus station’ Buses leave to elsewhere on the island. There is one big busstation at Parque Santa Catalina (between the port and Las Canteras) and one in Triana, just before the old town.
The bus from the Airport to Las Palmas is a few euro’s and leaves every 20 minutes.
Taxi’s are and you’ll see them everywhere (white cars). They have a starting rate of 1euro-something and then add cents per distance. A ride from Las Canteras to the old town is around 8-10 euro. A taxi ride from the Airport to town is 30 euro.
Provisioning tips Las Palmas
With provisioning you can make a HUGE difference for a healthier ocean. Read more on conscious provisioning for an offshore passage. The Spanish supermarkets are the worse when it comes to plastic packaging! Try to avoid them as much as you can.
The central market (Mercado Central) is a great place to source your food. You can have your fruits and veggies delivered to the boat from here with reduced packaging. The places around the Mercado Central also provide budget friendly provisions. The old town has another market (Mercado Vequeta). On Sundays, there is a farmer’s market at San Lorenza.
The Indian Supermarket at the end of Las Canteras is a great place to find all sorts of spices, seeds, nuts, and teas at reasonable prices.
The Pharmacia on Plaza Santa Catalina in Las Palmas gives over-the-counter antibiotics to ships.
One of the few places in Europe where you can buy tropical fruit grown locally! Mango’s, papayas, banana, kaki fruit, walnuts Yum yum! Also try local wines, aloe vera products, mojo rojo and verde (local sauce) made in the Canary islands.
Organic food shops: La Zanahoria and Spar natural Also sells ocean-friendly detergents, shampoo and toiletries and all sorts of sprouting seeds so you can have fresh veggies anywhere at sea.
Read more about finding a boat to sail across the Atlantic Ocean and Ocean passage provisioning tips on planning, food choices and storage in Ocean Nomad.
What’s it like? Here’s a snapshot from one of my 4 Atlantic Ocean sailing experiences:
“Someone is pinching me. ‘Suzanne Suzanne’ Watch time! Wow, I come out of a deep sleep. It takes me some moments to realise where I am and what’s happening. I’m going from left to right in my bed. It’s night, and I hear water sounds. Right, I’m in the middle of the Atlantic, and at 3 AM I’m next on watch. I have 15 minutes to get ready. And I have not finished sleeping. I’m exploring the bed with my hands to find where the head-torch has ended up this snoozing session. I perform acrobatic skills to get over Kerstin who is crashed between me and the bed exit. Oh yeah! I manage not to put my feet in her face this time. I step on the floor and get thrown against the wall by the rocking of the boat. Shit, I hope I didn’t wake up Sam and Steve who are attempting sleep in the next cabin.
I put the red light on of my torch and make a bathroom stop. With one foot in one corner, and the other one in the opposite, and while leaning against the wall, I smash three drops of water in my face to wake up. I wipe my face with the towel that is in use now for a week and has been more on the floor than on the hook. I can’t be bothered. All right, one step closer to being ready for watch. Before I went for my snooze, I had put my wet weather gear ready on the hook so I wouldn’t wake my fellow crewmember up. The hook is empty; the floor is full. I get down on my knees and try to collect my gear. I explore the floor for my pants, sweater, jacket, socks, hat and life jacket. I think I have all the items. Next challenge: put it all on without waking up others and getting too many new bruises. With my oversized foul weather gear, three-kilo life jacket on my shoulders, and torch on my forehead I feel ready to go to the moon. The previous watch boiled water in the kettle. I make some tea. 15 minutes and six new bruises later, I arrive in the cockpit.
‘Wind is around 15 knots. There is one boat at three o’clock. Clear skies. Many shooting stars. That’s it.’ The previous watch briefed and they’re off to bed. I make another tea because the one I made fell over.
This is the start of the watch.
The Atlantic Ocean sailing experience is not only sunshine, dolphins next to the bow and happy days. If you sail across (as crew), you should be ready to adapt and work. Sailing across the Atlantic is not a holiday. There is always work to do, especially while preparing, and as a crew member you share the responsibility to keep the boat going safely.
That said, within the challenge, there will be days that come close to perfection! Sunrises, sunsets, pods of dolphins around the boat, gazing far into the galaxies, having deep conversations, and getting closer to yourself and nature for an extended period of time. It’s a ticket to paradise with the adventure of a lifetime. It’s an experience you will never forget, and a great story to tell your grandkids. Here’s a video impression :)
My favourite experiences while crossing the Atlantic
It’s hard to pick a favourite moment out of all the memorable experiences I have had on the Atlantic crossings.
The moment we set sail out of Las Palmas. New friends were making noise and waving goodbye. After weeks of dreaming, searching, preparing, it’s finally happening!
The moment we saw lights when we were approaching Cape Verde after six days on the open sea. It was the first time I ever sailed into a country.
Shooting stars, fluorescent plankton discos in the waves, the sound of breathing dolphins followed by the splash from a jump.
Jumping into the middle of the ocean
Being on watch, just me, a pod of dolphins, and the sunrise.
Celebrating my birthday in the middle of the Atlantic. My fellow crew even arranged jumping dolphins on the horizon… And chocolate cake!
The moment I set foot in Tobago, found a fresh coconut, and ate fresh vegetables!
The moments behind the wheel with 18 knots of wind, no autopilot, all sails up, feeling the boat and just steering course by that bright star I picked from the sky.
The moment I woke up with the smell of pine trees, after days and days of only ocean breeze. Land Ahoy!
Both times I crossed the Strait of Gibraltar. It’s a spectacular passage, seeing where and how the different seas and continents come together.
The moment I woke up on land and realised that I had disembarked “The Bounty,” just before sailing out for the Atlantic. What a life-saver.
Would you be up for an Atlantic Ocean Sailing Experience?
Read the full stories about what’s it like to sail across the Atlantic and how (and how not!) you can sail across the Atlantic too, as crew in “OCEAN NOMAD: the Complete Atlantic Sailing Crew Guide – Catch a Ride & Make a Difference to a Healthier Ocean.” I wrote the book I wish was out there when I wanted to get into sailing a few years ago but had no idea where to start. Enjoy and ahoy!
“A highly organized and helpful book with routes, ports, websites, and even some of the bars you should hang-out or go duckwalking to find your ride. Clear thinking and attention to details make Ocean Nomad useful to any captain or crew for an ocean passage. Her passion for conservation and sustainability offers insight into a ‘vagabond’ lifestyle that is also socially responsible.”
“It is part of my ship’s articles: I want every crew member to read it before they step on board! Not just because it is packed with tips for both captain and crew, but also because it gives a clear insight in the minds of hitch sailors. This is more than a ‘if-you-can-dream-it-you-can-do-it/-if-you-just-put-your-mind-to-it-it-will-happen”
Paulina from Paulina on the Road
“I loved reading about the boat hitch hiking adventures and how Suzanne does sensitization work about our oceans. So much that she inspired me to try the boat hitchhiking thing as well. From the first moment I read her writing, I knew that I wanted to do the same! I just loved reading with how much passion she realizes her dream step by step. When we were full of doubts if it was the right thing to do, I returned to what she wrote and re-convinced myself that it was all for the best. And it worked out! We sailed from Canary Islands to Cape Verde. There we spent one month looking for a boat to cross the Atlantic Ocean. We finally found one and went from Cape Verde to Barbados. Suzanne has been a major source of inspiration and information!”
https://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/2015-08-05_17.34_KARIM_ILIYA_03918.jpg8531280Suzannehttps://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Ocean_layout3_blue.pngSuzanne2017-11-27 22:03:142020-04-03 20:44:45Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean: What's it like?
No boat? No budget? No sailing experience? No problem! Now there’s a guide explaining the ins and outs on how (and how not) to hop on a boat for a sail across the Atlantic. Packed with practical advice and stories, the 400 pages ocean travel guide, Ocean Nomad, persuades and informs the adventure traveller to go from the idea of “someday I would like to go on a sailing trip”, to sipping a coconut on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean celebrating the achievement. After reading the book excuses will be thrown overboard for good and action modus is on.
27th and 28th of October book Ocean Nomad will be launched on the classic wooden Sailing Vessel Grace in Arrecife & Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, Canary Islands. The book launch event aka pontoon party will be a gathering of (aspiring) sailors, travellers, adventurers, ocean savers and the curious. The 28th of October S/V Grace will sail south to Puerto Calero for the Ocean Film Festival where a screening will be hosted of the Caribbean shot movie Vanishing Sail, to not only help revive the traditional wooden boat building, but also tourism in the Caribbean, that needs encouragement more than ever.
First in the Ocean Nomad ocean adventure travel guide series, the Atlantic Ocean edition, inspires to get out there, explore and discover the ocean while making a positive difference. “This ambitious guide book is the spark that will ignite your sense of adventure and provoke your compassion to create a better world,” says Monique Mills Captain & Ocean Advocate. Ocean Nomad encourages an alternative and nature-minded way of adventure travel. The Caribbean edition is yet in the making.
Called the “doyenne of sailboat hitchhikers!” by captain Lyon, Suzanne emphasizes that traversing an ocean by sea is not just about finding a boat. Finding the right boat, careful investigation and preparation are what makes it a fun, safe, and meaningful ocean adventure. Book Ocean Nomad explains what to be mindful of. In addition to practical tips, information and stories, Ocean Nomad includes +75 actionable takeaways on how sailors can make a positive difference for the ocean. “As ocean nomads, we can ‘just’ cross an ocean and have a memorable adventure, but we can do more! The ocean brings us so much. As fanatic users, we are responsible for bringing life back into the ocean. We have no time to lose when it comes to preserving the ocean” says Suzanne.
Join the book launch pontoon party: 27th and 28th of October in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain.
About the Author
Suzanne van der Veeken is an adventure-loving, curiousity seeking ocean adventurer and advocate. For over ten years, she has been slow travelling around the world, of which last four years, mostly under sail, while living a minimalistic nomad lifestyle as a location independent entrepreneur.
Suzanne hitched her first ride across the Atlantic as a complete newbie to the world of sailing. She has now sailed across the Atlantic three times on a strangers’ sailboat. In fact, she has explored almost every ocean on the planet with this alternative way of travel. She has figured out how (and how not) to catch rides on other people’s boats. Her ocean adventures have amazed her to the beauty of nature, but also the challenges the oceans are facing. With Ocean Nomad Suzanne aims to help adventure-seekers experience the magic of the high seas, to broaden horizons, and encourage positive change for the ocean.”When people have felt that connection to the ocean, they’ll be more triggered to care and act,” she says. As the ‘Oceanpreneur,’ she creates ocean adventure travel content, trips, and expeditions to excite and inform others about ocean travel and conservation.
https://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/OceanNomad-boathitchhiking-guide-atlantic-ocean-sailing.jpg8671300Suzannehttps://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Ocean_layout3_blue.pngSuzanne2017-10-11 07:56:172018-02-19 02:50:51Catch a Sailboat Ride across the Ocean | Press Release
SV Eau Too – October 17, 2016. I’m 8 days at sea now.
I open my eyes and see the reflection of water moving on the ceiling. I sit up (which is a luxury on board!) and look outside. All I see is water. That’s a change of scenery from the starboard stern cabin. I always saw land when I woke up. We have made about a 1000 miles from France now. Is it a new day? I check the time and it’s 17.00. I feel like I’ve just experienced a few days since I was on watch from 21.00 – 00.00, 3.00- 6.00 and 10.00 – 14.00, and there were so many happenings and incidents. All on a few square meters of the island called a sailing boat. With all the naps and watch-keeping shifts, rhythm on a boat is nothing like on land. It may sound tough but it takes a few days and then you’re used to it.
Rewinding 11 hours….
6AM. I text my Tarifa friends with a photo of the chart plotter. 3G is working well. We’re 17 miles away from Gibraltar. With an average speed of 6 knots we’ll be passing the Strait in a few hours. My watch is finished so I crash to sleep. I’m on again at 10.00.
I hear a familiar sound. The sound of the easterly levante wind zoofing around. I hop out of bed, climb into the cockpit and catch the sunrise when I look over to portside(live shakey insta video update). Looking starboard side, I see the rock of Gibraltar. I scan the horizon and there’s dozens of tankers around, most of them ‘not under command,’ and many leisure fishing boats. It’s Sunday and there’s a full moon. Full moon means more fish closer to the surface. It’s awesome to see Gibraltar from a different perspective. Usually I drive past it on the other side when I go to Tarifa to kitesurf and see my friends there.
I just came off watch 2 hours earlier but I’m too excited to go back to bed. We’re sailing into another continent today AND along Tarifa, which I’ve made basecamp over the last years. I already called my friends to get out there and wave from the land.
We planned to be around here at exactly this time. And we are. Good navigation plan, skip! At 9.19 the tide changes and we want to go with it, since tides can be strong here. With the full moon the tidal differences and current will be strong. Our COG (Course Over Ground) is 5 (degrees). We’re super lucky with the weather. The forecast gives a mild levante. Last time I passed through it , it was everything but mild. Apparently, the whole summer has been hardcore levante, since my kitesurf friends could hardly kite due to the strong winds.
‘All ships, All ships…’
Someone on the radio broadcasts about a boat with an estimated 9 refugees floating around, if we can all look out for them. The weather is calm today, which is not that common for this zone. We, westerners making our sailing dreams happen, are not the only ones crossing the Strait of Gibraltar. It’s also those that don’t even have a passport risking their lives to be alive. They make the same passage, the other way around, with a different boat, crew and destination. There surely is no ‘guide’ for that crossing! This is a daily event here in the Strait and it breaks my heart. No numbers on refugees exist and only Neptune knows how many get taken by the current…
Looking out over the Strait of Gibraltar and Morocco, photo taken in Tarifa, Spain
9.30 AM The wind speed meter is slowly going up. We’re having around 9 knots of wind now. With only the headsail up, a little bit of wind and current, we slowly glide towards Tarifa, running a speed of 3.5 knots. I’m on the helm now and zigzagging mainly between leisure Sunday fishing boats. On our port side one tanker after the other is passing by, navigating through the TSS (‘Traffic Separation Scheme’). Hundreds of them pass through each day. On the AIS (Automatic Identification System) we can see where they are going: Nicaragua, Mexico, Recife, Gran Canaria, Rotterdam. Our global sea transport system is fascinating, yet such a polluted element of our society. Not just the fuel but the noise does a lot of damage. Sounds reaches much further underwater than via air. It kills the whales. And here’s more reasons to Go local.
11.30AM We have 12 knots of North East wind and the compass is pointing 83 degrees now. We slowly sail into the strait. From my obsessive kitesurf wind checking and analyzing back in the days, I know that around noon the levante wind usually picks up. I already see the kite surfers playing around at Balneario surf spot next to Las Paloma’s Island, the most southern point of continental Europe. Like last time I crossed the ‘Strait of Gib’ from the other direction, I get on the phone with my friend Vince, who’s walking the dog and waving. We locate a yellow buoy in front of us, indicating a hazard, and we have to pass it south. 16 knots of wind now.
We locate a yellow buoy in front of us indicating a hazard and we have to pass it south. 16 knots of wind now.
Looking out for Vince!
13.20. With a speed of 7.6 COG we are sailing across the Strait of Gibraltar. It’s a bit quieter with the tankers now. It was super timing to do this passage on a Sunday! There seems to be less boats than usual. Great, because we have to somehow cross one of the busiest Traffic Separation Schemes in the world. The wind picks up and with 20-25 knots we cross the TSS to ‘the other side.’ It’s like we’re going through boiling water. Here is where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic. There’s no straight line separating the seas. With a different salinity, different layers mingle and create a wild water lane across the strait. Little Moroccan fishing boats show up. I can’t believe the danger they put themselves in with all these tankers passing by on both sides. Tarifa gets smaller and smaller as the mosque of Tangier becomes bigger on the horizon. With a separation of only 14 km, we have gone from Europe to Africa, sailing the Strait of Gibraltar.
Tankers, little fishing boats and the Mediterranean mixing with the Atlantic in the Strait of Gibraltar
Sams Pirate socks
Ozzie Carly has prepared a Moroccan style cous cous salad to bring in the Moroccan vibes.
14.00 I hand over the helm to the next watch. I take the best seat of the boat, in the corner at the stern. This restless soul finally gets to sit down. I clip my toenails and enjoy the view of Morocco. Sam is putting her pirate socks on the guardrail to dry. George is talking Arabic on the phone. Carly is on ‘mother watch’, preparing foods. Bart is somewhere and Kirstin is asleep. Then I’m off for a snooze. Snooze number 3? 4? of today. I have no idea anymore.
Captain Steve briefs on the journey so far and the next passage to the Canary Islands.
At 17.00 I wake up. I look outside and all I see is water. We sailed the Strait of Gibraltar and are in the Atlantic Ocean!
I’m off to the cockpit to check out the Moroccan Coast. We have the Atlantic swell now meaning big long waves and a relatively non-rocky dinner outside. We have dinner and dolphins are stealing the show. We already got spoiled with dolphins on the bow but the show we get now is unbelievable. I have never seen so many dolphins together. There’s hundreds of them, jumping, playing and swimming to our boat! Seriously this has been such an exciting, lively and eventful day! It tastes for more. And there’s so much more to come; it’s just the beginning. Thank you Eau Too for having me part of your crew! I have to close the laptop now because at 21.00 I’m on watch again and I need to take a rest. The exciting day isn’t over yet!
What a day, what a day!!!
21.00 We have calm seas, the full moon in the sky and with Sam I chat about this memorable day on sailing the Strait of Gibraltar.
In 7 days we sailed from Fréjus, France to Morocco. Now in the Atlantic! To be continued…
Later THAT day <3
About this Atlantic ocean hitch-sailing adventure
October 9 I hopped on boat ‘Eau Too.’ An 57 foot Black Sea Yacht built in 2007 and refitted by the current owner over the last years. ‘Eau Too’ sets sail for a circumnavigation. We’re seven people on board and have six nationalities present: Lebanon, Poland, France, Australia, UK, and me from Holland. How cool is that? Surely we’re going to have lots of stories to exchange during the ride. I’m joining for the Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps longer. Or perhaps another passage or island exploration later at some point. Let’s see. We have an ocean to conquer first! And then I have to finish a book on exactly this.
With Eau Too we join the ARC+. The ARC is a sailors’ bucketlist thing and I’m a lucky bastard to join the spectacle. Together with 74 other sail boats we leave the harbour of Las Palmas for the Atlantic ocean, via Cape Verde. We made it to Las Palmas and are now preparing for the big trip. The first passage has been Frejus (France) to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary islands (Spain). We’ve made 1522 miles in 12 days.
Sailing across the Strait of Gibraltar was a day from this passage I will never forget. In a good way!
Ahoy! xxx Suz
Thoughtful Travel Take-Aways:
Learn more on the refugee situation in the Strait of Gibraltar:
https://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Boathitchhiking.jpg6731200Suzannehttps://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Ocean_layout3_blue.pngSuzanne2016-10-30 18:53:502020-04-03 21:07:26Sailing across the Strait of Gibraltar - into the Atlantic Ocean
A lighthouse. Beeping phones. Airplane stripes. Fishing boats. The smell of pine trees! We are approaching Cabo Sao Vicente, the most western point of mainland Europe. That’s what struck me most: suddenly having the smell of pinetrees… after days of ocean breathing. Very special. It’s the start of the most exciting and challenging part of the passage: the Strait of Gibraltar!
https://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/All-sails-up.jpg8511280Suzannehttps://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Ocean_layout3_blue.pngSuzanne2015-07-01 23:12:162020-04-03 22:30:28Sailing back into Europe: The Strait of Gib!
Dear all, Im happy to tell you my opinion about Suzanne and her initiatives. I feel blessed to have met her and Im... happy and excited because im sure this relationship will last for long!!! :)Suzannes is one of the most generous souls I have ever met.She gives all she has! Literally! She offered me the opportunity to learn and enjoy sailing, as the most precious gift, even if she didnt know me!!! AT ALL!!! She will give all she has: knowledge, food, bright and calm energy, wonderful experiences, beautiful photos, hard work, safety... But the most important presents you will get from her are definetely a bunch of amazing and powerful dreams!!! She is a dreamer, opening doors around her for everyone!!!Suzanne made many of ther dreams come true and will make you feel that everything is possible!!!It is overwhelming her will to care for the Sea, the Earth and the people; and her vast knowledge about sailing, which she shares, in an easy and calm way.She is kind, calm, cooperative, open-minded, self-confident, very generous, very understanding, very patient, very curious, determined and brave as Hell!!! Believe me!!! (I saw a few things...)She will take you to the most beautiful, remote and isolated places, enjoying every adventure, while making you feel at home and safe...Suzanne, take me with you, as a Towaway, in your sailing dreams!!! Love Ahoy!read more
Paula Gonzalvo Marco
Inspiration, joy and determination. Her lifestyle and personality will make you to rethink priorities in life. Great... spirit, great person, thank you Suzanneread more
מעשיר מאוד את הידע להצטרפות להפלגת טרנסאטלנטיק אטלנטיס
Pim van Hooff
Ocean Nomad, Eco pirate and a very hard worker. This girl puts inexhaustible energy into getting us out on adventures... and save our beautiful big blue along the way. She really knows what she talks about. Supporting the Oceanpreneur won't only benefit yourself, but truly has a positive impact on the future of all of us!read more
Jose Maria Perez
Suzanne is living her dream in a nomad lifestyle. She promotes meaningful projects aiming to awake awareness and... propose solutions for the increasing dangers our oceans and their communities are facing due to irresponsible/uncontrolled human action.With outstanding determination and strength, she lives and acts very consistently according to her values grounded in environmental protection, sustainability-oriented solutions and network creation between likeminded people working in similar fields of action.In my opinion, sailing adventures organized by Captain Suzanne are: 1. A reward for the senses by discovering incredibly beautiful places and breathtaking sceneries. 2. An unbeatable way to get introduced into the nice world of sailing, 3. An open window to learn watching our world and the people from another more conscious perspective. I see her as an inspirational person who, with her example, inspire others with ideas and proposals to define or redefine life projects and use inner energy for more noble purposes.Please gather support in every possible way at your hand for Suzanne. Our oceans need strong committed people like her to advocate for our natural resources and leave them intact for the generations to come.read more
Suzanne is a great woman, a real defender of the ocean. All sailing people should follow her and listen to what she has... to say. <3read more
Matthias E Zeitler
What to say about Suzanne? You have to meet her in person, but she is everything you would expect after you look at her... Instagram.She has a deep love for the sea and she is helping others to experience the same. It was an amazing experience to sail with her. She constantly inspired us to explore, to test things out and enjoy her little surprises along the way.I highly recommend to sail with her and was always feeling safe with her at the helm.read more
Jose van der Veeken
Do you want to live on this planet a little bit longer? Stand by and stick with the Oceanpreneur. She knows what you... and I need to do and not do to keep the earth in shape. Living a dream life with a minimal footprint is her thing. Make all of us love the Ocean so we' ll finally start taking care of it, is her mission. Follow and stay tuned.read more
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