Friday, 28 November 2008

On to La Palma

It was a cold and rainy overnight sail to La Palma, not very pleasant. The cloud cover was so great that it was still dark when we arrived around 8am. We have spent a couple of nights in the new marina here which is horribly surgy. The boat is being thrown around all over the place and we've gone through a few ropes. The one benefit of the marina is free entrance to the Club Nautico here which has 2 outdoor pools, a huge indoor one and sauna, steam and jacuzzi etc. It has been the perfect antidote to the cool, wet weather.

The town of Santa Cruz is worth the visit. It's incredibly picturesque with pretty buldings in distinctive Canarian style - colourfully painted with lovely balconies. We hired a car and explored the island yesterday, exploring huge La Caldera crater and the smaller, more recent volcanoes from 1949 and 1971. We drove through acres of banana plantations and beautiful pine forests and ended the day with a delicious dinner in town.

We are leaving here this afternoon to return to Tenerife. We will be in the marina there to provision for our trip to Senegal. I am also flying back to London for a couple of days to pick up boat parts and have some treatment for my prolapsed disc.

Friday, 21 November 2008

A great day exploring in La Gomera

We rented a car for the day and explored la Gomera. It’s a spectacular island of high mountains and lush, green forests. Many of the steep hillsides have been extensively terraced over the centuries with stone walls; it is impossible to grasp just how much hard work must have gone in to this. We went for a couple of walks in the stunning national park enjoying the contrast of an earthy, green environment to our normal surroundings at sea. The clouds gathering across the mountain tops in the afternoon added to the moody atmosphere. Our second walk was more ambitious than the first, ascending a steep mountain with the promise of returning to the car via a tunnel. Unfortunately when we got to the mouth of the tunnel we discovered it was narrow and totally unlit. There was no way we could use it as it is 3/4 km long so we had a long walk back up again!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Birthday and on to La Gomera

I celebrated my birthday at anchor with a champagne brunch. It was a clear, sunny day and perfect for swimming and chilling out.

We sailed over to La Gomera on Tuesday. We had a gentle start to the passage, just lots of dolphin around us, but about 10 miles off the island we were suddenly hit with F8 winds gusting F9. They aren´t joking when they warn you about the wind acceleration zones in the Canaries!

We are now moored in San Sebastian (Columbus set off in 1492 from here) and plan to explore the island by rental car tomorrow. We had an interesting sighting in the marina here yesterday - a stingray (over a metre across) which apparently hangs out here and decided to check out our boat!

Friday, 14 November 2008

Fast sail to Tenerife

We sailed over to Tenerife yesterday. After a couple of hours of motoring in no wind we were very suddenly in a steady F7 gusting F8/9 with the seas to go with it. It was a great fast sail (max 9.2 knots) but we were cold, wet and salty by the time we arrived! We had an incredible visit from about 20 dolphins who surfed the huge waves around the boat and were leaping out of the water, sometimes 4 or 5 at a time. It was an amazing sight.

On arrival at Los Cristianos, we were trying to get in all the sails before anchoring and found that a reef tie on the mizzen had knotted itself around the spreader. It took quite an effort from Nic to climb up the rigging and release it, involving the loss of a Croc shoe and a Man Over Board to retrieve it!

We are now a few miles up the coast at Pta de las Gaviotas. No tourist development here just a lovely sandy beach with clear water circled by some fantastic rock formations and caves, complete with trogladites! We even have a view of Spain's tallest mountain.

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Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Off to Tenerife

Well, our instruments finally arrived today - posted "priority airmail" from London on 21st October, arrived in Madrid on 31st October and here 12th November!!!!!

We are sailing across to Tenerife, either tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Still waiting..

Still waiting for our parts to arrive from England. We have been anchored in a bay on the south coast due to an westerly front coming through. Now back to Playa de Mogan hoping that the instruments will arrive, it's been 2 weeks.