I am sorry for the delay in sending this - the last blog
for this second leg of the trip. I spent an age typing No.18 out a couple
of days ago, and it's gone AWOL and I have no idea where it went, but
it certainly didn't get transmitted! I'm not too good with this
modern-tech stuff I'm afraid.
After weighing anchor and leaving the lovely little
sleepy island of Graciosa just off the NW coast of Lanzarote, we
motored around the top of the latter island and sailed down the east
coast. Lanzarote is a barren and fairly inhospitable looking land.
Very brown and volcanic with little vegetation and a few HUGE tourist towns and
enormous hotel complexes. Eventually, after a lovely day's sail with
a brisk NE'ly wind, we arrived at a marina about 3/4 of the way down the east
coast called Puerto Calero. It was large and privately owned - and was
amazingly good value for money! One of the cheapest that we'd found
anywhere. We tied up next to a Canadian Geordie and his wife. Very
nice people who had lived aboard for 10 years and been all over the world on
their boat. The marina was very posh (it had brass bollards - see below!)
and was very sterile with fashion shops and restaurants all over the place -
mind you most of the marinas that you visit are the same!
After two nights there, we sailed south for only 12
miles to another marina (there were in fact very few well sheltered anchorages
anywhere along either the east and west of Lanzarote, so marinas were
really the only places to go - and very social places!). This 'marina
Rubicon', at the southern end of the island, was a huge complex
with even more facilities - and was only 21 euros/night for
'Catou' . We only had one night there before having to make our last trip
across to Las Palmas. We didn't get a chance to hire a car to visit the
island unfortunately. On our last morning, a market appeared on the quay
nearby. It drew in a huge crowd of Brits from all over the place - and I'm
afraid that we were all too embarased to admit to our nationality!
Sylvie's Swedish aunt in Canada had sent us some sailing caps with Swedish and
Canadian flags on (because we had a Swedish built boat)- so I put mine on and
pretended that I was from another country!
So, on Wednesday evening we set off on a night
sail for the 95 miles to Las Palmas in the main island of Gran
Canaria. The forecast was for light winds backing around so we would have
the breeze on the nose. And so it was ! We had to motor almost all
night - but as we approached the huge port of Las Palmas, we did manage a couple
of hours sailing. We entered the marina at 1100 hrs and tied up on the
visitor's pontoon to register for the marina.
So a successful 2nd leg without mishap. The
mainsail needs a little repair, so we have to remove it tomorrow morning.
A few jobs are needed and a good clean up. Terry and Janet leave on Sat
night and we go home to a cold Blighty on Sunday morning.
Sylvie and I fly out on 11th November for a 10 day
preparation for the BIG leg. Ben, our third crew member will come out on
the 12th for a few days to help with painting the bottom etc. We have
booked 'Catou' out of the water on 15th November - just for 24 hours, to
jet-wash her bottom and get two coats of anti-fouling paint on before the ARC
begins on the 21st November. (We need that extra 1/2 knots (over 3 weeks
it will make a difference of two days!) Ben will then fly back for his last few
days with family before returning a couple of days before we sail.
Sometime before the 21th Nov we will open up the blog
again. Once we get to sea, there will be no photos, since it will make the
satellite phone link too slow. Can't imagine how I can keep 3 weeks of
blogs to sound interesting, but we will try! It will give us all something
to think about each day.
Thanks to everyone for reading it. Hope it's been
a little interesting.
Best wishes to all. Paul and Sylvie.