Isla Graciosa, Lanzarote, Canaries
29:13.115N 13:31.760W Wed 19th Sept 2018.
We had a fantastic sail to reach the Canaries at last– 45.5 hours at sea, 274 miles (averaging 6kts) and only 5% engine time! Mind you, the start was not promising. After several windless days, just enough wind was forecast for Monday, and expecting to have to motor out of Madeira’s wind shadow we planned to get away just after lunch. By that time we found ourselves in 20kt winds blowing across us in the hitherto totally sheltered harbour and having to hatch a cunning plan to get out without damaging our neighbour. The harbourmaster wasn’t happy though and insisted on us warping out – using ropes to move Goldcrest into a safe position before casting off. It was a real pain and wasted a good half hour, but at least we ran zero risk of collision. The main harbour where we had to put ropes and fenders away for the voyage was in the full blast of the wind – really pretty rough for deck work! However it turned out that with the particular wind direction the harbour was in an acceleration zone making to local wind 5-10kts stronger than out at sea. So we mostly had a great sail after that with just one short period of un-sailable light winds in the middle.
We reached Isla Graciosa just before midday on day 2 after a fast beam reach. Playa Francesa is one of our top 3 anchorages (top place having gone to Gramvousa on the NW tip of Crete) and it was great to be back. However the fantastic views of Lanzarote’s cliffs opposite have mostly been shrouded in thick cloud and we’ve had very little sun since arriving. Despite the warm sea and inviting Spanish life ashore, I think the weather is going to force us onwards sooner than we wanted.
We don’t expect to be posting much more to the blog now, not until we reach new islands early next year (new to us – the western Canaries have been there a while…). We will be mooring up in Arrecife, Lanzarote for a couple of months whilst we travel back to see family and for the (hopefully final) scan & op follow-up. Then we plan to rest a while in Las Palmas until it’s time to explore westwards, probably in around Feb-Apr before we head back to mainland Europe in spring 2019.