Preparing for the next leg to the Sahara

Mina2 in the Caribbean - Where's The Ice Gone?
Tim Barker
Fri 23 Oct 2009 10:23

Marina del Atlantico Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Position: 28:28N 016:14.57W

Date: 23 October 2009


Once again, apologies for keeping you in the dark. Since we arrived in Tenerife in the Canaries, things have (as usual) been frantic.


The last part of the passage from Madeira was very exciting. During Sunday night the wind went light and a number of the other rally boats passed us but in the early hours of the morning the wind picked up and we started hauling them all in. We had been flying the cruising chute continuously until just a few miles off Tenerife. In the approaches to the island you enter a “wind acceleration zone” where the wind funnels between the islands and the wind can increase from light to gale force in the space of 200 metres. To be prudent we took down the cruising chute to avoid it being blown out. A boat just behind us, which we had been holding with the chute up, suddenly started gaining on us and was in danger of pipping us at the post. Throwing caution to the wind, we whipped the chute up again and held our place. At the line, of those who had sailed all the way, we were 2nd, beaten only by Dieter and the two Claudias on “Flying Kefi” an incredibly light and incredibly fast trimaran.


One bit of additional excitement on the passage was when we saw a whale – just. About 200 metres from the boat we saw the “blow” several times and whilst I was rushing below for the camera, Richard saw its snout appear momentarily before it disappeared.


Richard was due to leave on Wednesday morning so we hired a car and on Tuesday went for a drive down the length of the island. In the centre of the island is El Tiede an enormous volcanic mountain. At 3718 metres (over 12,000 feet or more than 2 miles)  it is the highest Spanish mountain, nearly half the height of Mount Everest. We took the cable car to the summit, and looking down on on the clouds way below, one felt puffed and light-headed with the slightest exertion. All around were massive, spectacular lava flows from eruptions which took place hundreds of years ago. The island is incredibly barren at the northeast end and incredibly lush at the southwest end with acres and acres of banana plantations on the steep, terraced hillsides.


Lawrence meanwhile, had gone off to meet up with his wife Carri, and Keely their delightful daughter who had flown out to spend some time together. Richard and I joined them all for lunch at the incredibly luxurious Abama resort hotel. For Lawrence, some contrast to the bunk cabin on Mina2!


Now Friday, and preparations are underway for our departure tomorrow morning at 1000 UTC to Dakhla in West Sahara, part of Morocco. Dakhla is slap bang on the Tropic of Cancer, so we will now be in the tropics – how exciting! The position for those who want to look it up is 23° 39.2N 16° 57W.


This is the last place for serious provisioning until we get to Brazil just before Christmas, so on Wednesday I headed for the hypermarket and filled two trolleys. When eventually back on the boat, I had to unpack all the meat, divide it into meal portions and vacuum pack it. The exercise, carried out alone, (Richard had left, Tom hadn’t arrived and Lawrence was sipping champagne by the pool at Abama) started at 5pm and I fell into bed at 1.30 in the morning shattered.  In consequence of all the heavy lifting of tons of water, fruit juice and other provisions, by back has started twingeing, so I am taking it very easy at the moment.


Tom Mallaburn arrived yesterday evening and will be with us until we get to Dakar in Senegal. In Senegal we will be in malarial mosquito country so yesterday I went off and bought 19m of mosquito netting, Velcro, hemming tape and lead tape to hold it down, which I now have to construct into a tent to go over the cockpit. Easier said than done!


Here are a few photos of the last week:




The start of the 2009/2010 RIDS rally



El Tiede on Tenerife, from a distance



The view from 2-miles up



Lunch with the Wells’ at the luxurious Abama Hotel




The provisioning exercise is underway – this is only a small proportion!