15th October, 2000
Location: Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, Canary Islands
Position: 28 deg 55' N, 13 deg 42' W
Safi before midday on Monday, we had great winds for our passage towards
Lanzarote and decided against making any further stops on the Moroccan
coast. The experience of dealing with the formalities of clearing
in and out and coping with the adverse conditions of the freighter terminal
will no doubt stand us in good stead later on, but for the time being,
we were glad to leave them behind us!
That night there were a lot of fishing boats with flashing strobe lights off the coast north of Agadir and the following day was a lovely relaxing downwind sail, although with a 2 - 3 metre northerly swell.
Over the course of our passage from Gib, we got to try out a number of different sail configurations, and were able to use one of our Forespar poles for poling out the yankee - coupled with the inner jib this made for a decent downwind rig for the wind conditions (Force 3-4). In lighter airs, we can use the drifter.
We arrived in Puerto Calero after dark having had a surprising radar encounter with a charter aircraft as we both coincided on our approach to Arrecife airport. Needless to say, the plane was higher than the masthead light by a few (phew!) feet.
We spent the night on the reception dock, before being allocated a berth (with floating pontoon alongside, what luxury!) towards the north end of the marina, close to a number of other yachts preparing for a transatlantic crossing.
As in Gibraltar, the residents here are from all over the world - particularly Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Germany, South Africa, United States, United Kingdon, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Holland. Like ourselves, at least two of these are also Seven Seas Cruising Association members - Commodores Laurie, Carol & Ryan Paine aboard Dolphin Spirit, and Joel, Donna & Jayne Penne aboard A Bientot - all of whom have extended warm friendhsip and assistance.
The weather here is lovely and we are looking forward to seeing some of the island, particularly the volcanic region
Right: Oasis in Puerto Calero, which is a rather elegant marina with a high standard of finish - viz, the bronze bollard in the foreground.
We plan to visit Gran Canaria for a while before heading off across the Atlantic so that we can see Pablo, who is now working in Puerto Rico, but currently all the harbours there are choc-a-block with cruising folk. Hopefully once the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) takes off from Las Palmas, there will be some room for us in one of the marinas at Pasito Blanco, Puerto Mogan or Puerto Rico.
A number of the other NARC (Non-ARC) folks we have met are planning to make their passage to the Caribbean via the Cape Verde islands, which breaks the passsage up, making the longest leg only about two weeks. As we are currently aiming to have Christmas in the Caribbean though, it will be better for us to head straight across - our landfall will probably be Marigot Bay, St Lucia, where we had our honeymoon (unless we decide to go somewhere new and head to Bequia instead)
Oooh, this is a bit of a change! Here we are, back in Willingale, blackberry-picking with Arnold and Brenda! With the sale of our house about to complete, we have come home to pack up our furniture and put it into storage. Making the most of the early autumn sunshine, we took a wander down the lane to pick some fruit to go with the abundant apples from our garden - just enough to make another batch of our favourite blackberry and apple jam.....
While in the UK, we have of course been doing a bit of shopping. A new Lowe HF receiver and PC weatherfax software and some comfortable saddles and high pressure tyres for our wonderful Brompton bicycles are among the inevtable pile of baggage which we will be taking back to the boat. (see photo of the Bromptons below).
Graham hurt his foot on a dockside cleat in Puerto Calero and it swelled up badly - in fact so badly that he had to have a wheelchair to get around the airport. I'm glad to report that X-rays taken in A&E in Harlow showed no bones broken, and although still somewhat painful, the swelling has now subsided. Thaks to Laurie for special consultancy, and taxi services, and to Joel for ACE bandage and moral support!
Arnold, our dear friend and star engineer, has been toiling in his workshop once again, this time to make some fittings to improve security of our hatches. One hears stories about thefts that make you think it is better to be safe than sorry. We got some good ideas from boats that we saw in Gib. On Amadon Light, Gary has some neat removable bars in front of his companionway doors that have inpired our latest additions.
Speaking of Amadon Light, Gary runs a net on SSB radio each morning on 8108 Mhz at 08:45 local Gib time, to share weather information and position reports. On passage from Safi to Lanzarote, Belinda was initiated into the black art of radio transmission and reception. There is some troubleshooting to be done on the system however, as reception is not as good as we expected
Right: John & Joan Clarke, our neighbours in Wood Lane
Right: B eating breakfast (the Musto foul-weather gear is not strictly necessary, but it does get rather cool and damp on night watch)
Below: our Brompton bicycles folded up and on deck, ready for taking ashore
Right: the remaining contents of Wood House packaged up into 3 containers aboard Pretlove's truck. We were so lucky to have a sunny day for the move