sitting on the dock of the bay

Kirsty and Lee's Excellent Adventure
Lee Matthews
Sun 25 Nov 2012 12:00
still at 28:55.03N 13:42.04W
Wed 21st Nov
As winter weather creeps south into the Canaries, bringing rain showers and the need for long sleeves as dusk falls, it's time for us to weigh anchor (que Jaff: 'wayyyy-anker!') and head southwards.
The plan, assuming the wind 'does what it's supposed to' (according to Cap'n Matthews) is to head out of Lanzarote on Sunday, after Steve joins us on Saturday, and head 800 south-south-west to skirt the Cape Verde's and then turn right and head 2000 westwards (270 yippee). We anticipate a speed of between 5-6 knots (roughly the same as mph), which means we'll sight the sunny shores of Barbados, all being well, in the third week of December.
So the last couple of weeks in Lanzarote have involved final prep for the crossing. Lee's honed his rum cocktail recipe,
I've created a crossing play list (mainly Bob Marley, intersperse with other cliched Caribbean numbers...recommendations welcome). We've created a few last minute 'inventions'... a bimini rain catcher
 m_P1010584... thanks Zara and Phil from Loch Marin for the inspiration and a hammer house of horrors drink pump.
We decided at the last minute to buy a solar panel and after some 'advice' from the local supplier(Mr Monty Python aka Cheese Shop man) .......
Lee: We'd like to speak to someone about solar panels
Expert: You're talking to the right man
Lee: We're thinking about buying one
Expert: You'll need more than solar panels to sustain your power
Lee: Yes we know, we already have a wind generator
Expert: Oh, they're rubbish. There are two types; unbearably noisey, but produces power OR quiet but unproductive
Lee: we bought a quiet one so not to annoy people it does the job really
Expert: oh yeah so did I!!!!
Lee: We also have a tow generator
Expert: You'll be lucky to make it across the Atlantic with that...sharks eat the propellors. Usless.
Lee: So about the solar panels...
Expert: They're not that good, they loose 90% of their production if there's even a spot of shade on them.
Lee: Oh we'll leave it then bye!
.......we decided to buy one in the UK and Steve is bringing it over with him.
Prior to arriving on Lanzarote neither of us were particularly inspired by the thought of the Canaries. However, having explored a little, we've really grown to like them. The landscape is sparse with volcanes and volcanic rock and ash being the dominant feature. It's amazing to see how the Lanzarotians (?) have used these features. Unlike normal vineyards, the vines are grown individually, planted about 3-4m apart, each in a 1m deep trench, with a semi circle stone wall around to protect them.
The wine we've tried was very good - even better than the two Euro tetra pack vin blanc that's the main stay of the yachting community! (budget conscious as we are).
We also loved the lava flow cave conversion (Cesar Manrique, local artist and peer of Andy Warhole). He developed a section of a 7km cave, left by a lava flow, into an amazing party venue with eating and drinking terraces, a pool, dancefloor, 600 seater underground stadium, bar with stone seats - very Flintstones meets Austin Powers. Groovey baby.  His home was amazing too - built around 5 huge bubbles from the volcano - he made the bubbles into rooms. It suited us well as I liked the creative arty side and soft furnishings and Lee loved the idea that it was a party house made out of volcanoes. Rock on.
Sun 24th Nov
you will note by the upbeat optimistic tone of the above blog that Kirsty wrote it. This is Lee back again now and Im in a bad mood!!
We spent thursday in the volcano park Timinyafana was amazing. The landscape had to be seen to be believed. It looked like a film set, in fact it was used for 20000 years BC and planet of the apes (no comments Mitch). The coach trip round was really well done (and compulsary, you cant walk around) at the end we went to look at another of Cesear Enrique Elgesias Manuels constructions a glass restaurant at the top of a lava flow where they cook meals by the heat of the volcano.
Guess what, it was cheap, the parking was free. (Take note England) and one of the best panoramas you could eat infront of.  We went out Friday night and said all our goodbyes by phone and email skype and in person. We went to the pub and had a few, after which Kirsty came out with quote of the trip so far...."did Christopher Columbus cross the atalntic?!!!" (I blame the teachers and parents). We pinned up the rota for shifts and watches (we have created a novel shift rota where you take the persona of a character from a well known TV comedy show and change character each day)  and got very excited if a little nervous.......good Times
So why am I annoyed???......Steve arrived Saturday as planned. In that morning I checked the weather only to find that the low that had been threatening had decided to join us all on monday and put paid to our plans to depart. 3 days of sailing into a Force 6 on the nose is not what we planned for. Deja vous???? Never mind I thought we can still make Gran Canaria and all the ARC boats (a giant cruising flotilla that have been clogging up marinas from Lisbon to Gib for the last 3 months) will have left and we can nip into la plamas, head to the winchester, have a pint and wait for this to all blow over.....just as we were literally about to let go the the lines I read on the ARC website that the start  was being delayed for another 48 hours(first time since 1989),  making getting  into Las Palmas (or any marina on GC) impossible so we have had to stay put again. Ok so the sun is shining and the beer is still cold and the last grandprix is on in the Irish bar this afternoon .....but when you mentally prepare to do something epic like this its a bit of a comedown. We went to the pub anyway! Tuesday is looking a possibility now .
As for my thoughts on Lanzarote.....its ace!!! One of the best places we have been to, and to be honest you need a week here to appreciate it. I hope we come back. Marina Puerto Calero have been welcoming and lovely and we would definatley come here again. The people are friendly and dont seem to worry about your useless spanish skills. When we arrived 2 local guys moored next to us after a morning's sailing, immediately a beer was thrust in my hand, I couldn’t refuse (it was 11 o clock after all) and we chatted away as best we could for 2 hours. (helped along by Senor San Miguel and Senor Tropical) They consider themselves more Saharan than spanish and maybe thats the reason most the businesses open here in the morning and close in the evening.....what a novel concept. Interestingly the local chandler I believe is spanish and on the 19th on the mainland there was a national strike. Obviously I whole heartedly support such action but here nothing happened, except the local chandler ( private business) closed with a sign on his door saying (closed for national strike!) I was wondering why he didn’t just pay himself more money! Or maybe he fancied a day off! 
The next time we write will be on passage I promise!! We will be posting about once every 2 days so don’t worry if you don’t see any updates. Contact us by text only now please via Iridium to keep data low. As we have so many music buffs as friends we have decided to title the blogs from here on in as lyrics to a song that sums up our mood, you can play along by guessing the song and artist if you wish and signing along! (an easy one to start)
Anyway off to the Irish Bar to hopefully watch someone beat Vettel! (I cant believe I going to be cheering for a spaniard lets hope he doesnt stop half way round for a siesta)