La Restinga, El Hierro
27:38.421N 17:58.855W Thu 7th Mar 2019
Well that was some passage! The forecasts showed getting on for a week of strong NE trade winds which would have meant cloudy, cool and possible even wet conditions in Santa Cruz, so we decided to head off to the remotest Canary island and the most downwind of the lot. We had a real sleigh-ride mostly in F6 winds with gusts to F7 (30kts), but with 3-4m ocean swell coming from a different direction. The result was some really rough conditions, which L thought were possibly amongst the worst we’ve had. Judging by the things that were thrown off normally safe perches below decks, she has a point. We only used our foresail, so at least we weren’t troubled by any hard sailing work – just hanging on! We did the 66nm to the most south and most westerly tip of the islands averaging 7kts (which could have been much faster had we not be so conservative/lazy with the sails). Arriving in La Restinga was not all that we expected either, as it has a reputation for being in very sheltered waters. We experienced 25kt winds right until we were behind the breakwater, and as the harbour is tiny, that meant a bit of faffing about whilst L got warps & fenders rigged. D was trying to manoeuvre the boat in the gusts and pretty small spaces. They must have got our online reservation as we were waved into what is though to be the safest berth, although it is scarily close to shallow rocks, making the manoeuvre to get in a little tricky. We’ll leave thinking about how to back out to when the time comes!
This is a seriously tiny town which has so far charmed us. What started as a fishing hamlet has been developed somewhat with a really nice seafront, mostly catering to divers who come for the amazing underwater scenery it seems. We look forward to kicking back, doing a lot of walking and seeing the March wildflowers the island is famed for. We might we here a while as the trade winds make sailing back towards any other place in the canaries a challenge. Over the last few months the trades have been very sporadic, but the next 9 day forecast shows them contrarily well set and strong, well beyond our willingness to sail into them!
Goldcrest betwixt pontoon & rocks:
Little town beach to the right: