17 Nov – 25 November 2011
Before we left Rubicon Marina we organised a get together of all the boats we had heard on our morning cruisers net but had not met, plus the ones we did know, and invited everyone for happy hour. We are all planning to cross the Atlantic soon, so it was time to put faces to names, and names to boats. We squeezed 16 into the cockpit which instantly makes everyone very close friends and a good night was had by all.
It was time to move on again so we left Lanzarote and had a ripper of a sail down the east coast of Fuertaventura. The winds were solid but the seas were flat so we zoomed down the side and around the bottom and tucked up next to British boat Macushla at Cala de las Playitas. Macushla was another boat we had had contact with but never met, so it was great to finally meet Mark and Sue and we spent the next few days in their company. Cala de las Playitas was a great spot, a tiny village nestled into the hills on one side of the bay, looking all remote and quaint - but then if look look about 500 metres across to the other side of the bay there is a huge hotel complex, oh well at least it was low rise.
There was some excellent walking in the area with tracks going off in all directions on all the hills. The island was quite different to Lanzarote, and I am sure I read somewhere that it is known as the flat island. this can only be in relation to the other islands in the Canaries as is sure wasn’t flat, volcanic peaks were everywhere yet again, but it was certainly not as dramatic as Lanzarote.
We stayed a couple of nights in comfortable conditions but then the wind switched mid afternoon to an unforecasted south easterly, bringing with it a chop and swell and putting us on a lee shore – time to find a new home for the night, we just hate it when that happens but at least it was daytime. We were able to relocate just a couple of miles further west, we had been able to see into the next bay on our earlier walk and it looked to have reasonable protection so around we went. We tucked up by the town of Gran Tarajal for the night, protected from the wind and chop but it was a rolly old night, yuk!
So we moved on again the following day, always in search of flat water! We had a comfortable downwind sail in company with Macushla, nice and easy with just our headsails rolled out. We headed along to Morro Jable and found where all the tourists go. The beautiful long white sandy beach was packed with holiday makers – umbrellas up and deck chairs out, the bay was alive with windsurfers and hobbycats and just around the headland there were hundreds of kitesurfers making the most of the strong winds and surf.
We didn’t quite feel in a holiday mood, I suppose if you had just arrived by plane from 4c and ice somewhere in Northern Europe it probably felt warm and sunny out of the wind but each day for us was feeling more and more wintery, the tropics were calling us!!!! We stayed a couple of nights, had a very long walk along the beach for some exercise, and did more boat aerobics than we would have liked as the swell sneaked around the corner and had us rolling again, oh and then there were some rather violent wind gusts funnelling down the gap between two volcanic peaks that kept our interest up. Sometimes it would be nice to live in a house and not worry about wobbly floors and jolting wind gusts – but then think of all we would miss out on.
One such thing would be screaming along on a beam reach in 20 knots of breeze, watching the speedo hit 9 knots, and the lively seas rise up to meet us as we flew across from Fuertaventura to Gran Canaria, actually it was one of those days that I wouldn’t have minded missing out on but it was good practice for the Atlantic Crossing and we sure covered the miles quickly.
So now we are anchored inside the commercial harbour at Las Palmas where will be be until December 12th when our good friend Tony Knight flies in from New Zealand and will stay onboard with us until the Caribbean. We are looking forward to his company and to having an extra person onboard for the crossing.