To Tenerife (or three islands forward & two back!)

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Fri 27 Feb 2009 18:41
In position 28:02.988N, 16:43.531
Having exhausted our interest in La Gomera - yes it's a beautiful island but we have other places to see and with some more work to do onboard prior to crossing to the Caribbean we felt this could be better achieved in Tenerife.
Conditions out at sea this time were more favourable, however caution was a strong ally - two reefs in the main and a reefed Genoa were all we offered to the wind gods on leaving La Gomera. What did they respond with? Very little to be honest, at least not a first. In fact it was quite pleasant as we headed for the harbour on Tenerife we had intended to make for the previous week - Puerto Colon, situated between Los Gigantes and Los Christianos on the south western coast. With the wind now in the northwest it was blowing straight into the marina at Puerto Colon, and it didn't look very inviting as we surfed our way into the crowded marina. There was clearly no space for us with our 5.5 metre beam. As we came to that conclusion so also had the marinero emerging from the marina office with a spring in his step. "FULL FULL" he shouted - "No room for Catamarans" which carried the same feel as if he had substituted the word Lepers for catamarans. We turned around and headed back out of the harbour slamming into the heavy waves the northeast wind was piling up at the marina entrance. Next stop - Los Christianos about 3 miles down the coast. This would be an anchorage for the night but well protected from the northwest wind. No it wasn't. There was no anchoring allowed in Los Christianos harbour any more. Well, our pilot was about 20 years old - we are updating it as we go. So we joined a small collection of yachts at anchor outside the harbour and settled down for a rolly night on the hook.
The quality of sleep you get whilst at anchor is directly related to a number of crucial factors. The location of the anchorage. The direction and strength of the wind. The surrounding terrain - if the anchor dragged would you be on the rocks or on the beach (beach preferable if it has to happen at all) and finally, the proximity of other craft in the anchorage around you. On a scale of 1-10 this anchorage scored about 3 as we were open to miles of sea, if we dragged we would be on the breakwater of Los Christianos and it was still blowing a little more than we would have liked. So sleep was rather disturbed that night. That evening we decided that Mogan back in Gran Canaria would be a more preferable alternative as there was easy access to Las Palmas if we needed vital spares.
Now this is the daft side of cruising. Having battled our way over to La Gomera from Mogan just the week before in what can only be best described as a night of hell on the high seas - for us anyway, we were now heading back to the very place we had started from!  An aquatic form of snakes and ladders comes to mind. However, there is another aspect to cruising that also prevails - the short memory.  After all that was last week - but this is what we happen to be doing this week.
If we were to make Mogan before dark the next day we needed to be raising the anchor early and heading south-eastwards round the southern end of Tenerife before heading across to Mogan some 53 miles distance. The northwest wind had died overnight. In fact had we re-voted on the anchorage quality at 0500 it would have been re-rated at 6/10. In fact it was a beautiful morning - calm and with Mount Teide dominating the skyline. At 12000 ft high Teide is a beautiful spectacle when it can be seen - often shrouded in cloud you can spend 2 weeks on holiday in Tenerife and still not catch a glimpse of this grand lady. Today it was showing off.  "Look at Me" it seemed to be saying and we did for most of that day - needless the say the camera was in action as we tried to capture the best images of the splendid mount.
We were blessed with calm sea much of the way across to Mogan. We constantly reflected on just how the same stretch of water can be so hideous on one occasion and so tranquil the next. So tranquil in fact that we were seeing all manor of wildlife in the glassy calm - well Nikki did almost run over a loggerhead turtle when she was not paying attention to the waters ahead. Then,  at some 100 yds distance behind us she saw a large whale break the surface before disappearing again into the depths. Another turtle floated by followed by hundreds of jellyfish with their sails up, catching what breeze there was to get to wherever they happened to be going. Flying fish skimmed the surface. Dolphins passed at a distance obviously not in a playful mood this particular day as they kept clear of the boat. Days like this at sea are magical - but still the fishing lure we were trailing remained unattractive to any passing fish.
We arrived at Mogan at 1800 to find there was no room in the marina. We settled down to another night at anchor under the high cliffs with the wind now coming from the southwest straight into the anchorage. Another 3/10 on the anchoring Richter scale. Hopefully we would get a berth inside the marina the next day.(Pic is the lighthouse at Punta Rasca at the southern end of Tenerife with 12,000ft Mount Teide in the background)