Wed-Fri 16-18 Sept 09 - Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, Islas Canarias
Stern steelwork for solar panels, wind generator., antennae, GPS and radar ..... with Hydrovane windsteering doing a good job at dawn:
One rocky islet to avoid! .... A bird sanctuary....
Lanzarote - old volcanic slopes:
It's nice to be somewhere warm! Although there's been quite lot of grey cloud and wind, I'm in shorts and vest and enjoying the excuse to play with water as I clean Nereida's decks and cockpit after her journey.
Arrival here was 7pm Wed evening, after tacking the last section in flukey winds, which often suddenly gusted strongly (I actually had to reef both sails quickly at one point coming down the coast!) & often swung all over the place,.... and then finding myself becalmed in lovely clear water, I was very tempted to jump in for a swim! But eventually, I made for the marina entrance, downed sail and headed in as darkness was falling.... to be greeted by a smart 'marinero' with check-in papers he wanted completed... a chance to polish up my Spanish again....? No, the forms were bilingual!
Having had little chance to sleep Tuesday night, since we were so close to land, I nearly went straight to bed .... but that just didn't feel right - you don't make landfall after 12 days' passage and ignore the fact that you're in a foreign country.... even if it did mean what seemed like a half-mile hike around the enormously long, protective, high seawall from my 'check-in' berth to where I could see the bright lights of restaurants and bars, with people moving about... just across the water if I could only have jumped that far!
Of course, I had no idea of the local time and had no Euros on me ... and I was famished! I approached one place & was told their kitchen had just closed (9 o'clock, I was told) - but next door was open... What lovely people they were... In my bad Spanish, I pointed over to my boat, explained I'd just got in after 12 days from England - and please could they let me have some food - no, I had no 'dinero' to pay just now - but would have tomorrow... "I'll lend you from my own pocket," the chief waiter said with a smile - "Have what you want...!" They were all so nice and came over to chat while I waited for my meal (steak with mushrooms!) - what a lovely introduction to the Canaries!!
Thursday morning, both friend Tony Gooch and helpful, welcoming, marina manager Mel Symes came over to greet me and help with lines while I took the chance to top up with diesel before moving over to my berth - where I slept some more!
There are several cruising boats here and Tony made sure I met up with quite a few cruisers at the 'sundowner' get-together outside a nearby bar, later having a meal together - & I made sure I repaid Mohammed with interest for his kindness of the evening before. I'm still hopeful of getting propane - although not officially...
I've quite a long joblist, as you'd expect, but hope to get all done within a fortnight or so, ready to leave around the end of the month. No cruising of the Canaries, as I'd originally hoped - too much to be done. One thing I have managed is to get my XP laptop to 'talk' to the satphone - that's quite a relief but it would be great if I could persuade my 'Vista' laptop to do the same. That's proved impossible so far.. I need a computer 'whizz-kid' to help sort that out, if it's possible...
BBC Radio Guernsey called me up on my satphone for a 'live' update Thursday morning, which was nice of them. But they moved the time forward to 10 minutes before 9am instead of 10mins after - so friends in Guernsey will almost certainly have missed it - pity!
The excellent news of today (Friday) is that Weather Routing Inc, based in NY state, have agreed to help me with weather info over the critical parts of my journey - getting through the Doldrums with the least hassle (insofar as is possible, given they often jump several hundred miles unpredictably in no time at all!), both heading south and, finally, back north; Southern Ocean from Cape of Good Hope onward and around Cape Horn, with a 'heads up' any time really bad weather is heading my way.
This weekend I'll continue the boatjobs - the sooner I can get everything done, the more chance there'll be to relax for a few days before starting off.