070902 – 070908 Tenerife
The two day sail south from Madeira to Tenerife was fairly uneventful. Our hasty departure from Funchal meant that we did not have ideal weather and the winds were light most of the way, resulting in some of the 250 mile passage being done under engine. James tried out his new fishing gear, and spent hours deliberating which lure to use only to then change it a few minutes after putting it out (it’s a bloke thing, she just doesn’t understand the science involved….J). He did manage to catch a couple of fish though; one small highly silvered fish which turned bright yellow when James held it and a pretty Barracuda with a bright blue stripe along its back and vicious sharp teeth. Both were no good for eating so James unhooked them and let them go. One day while I was asleep below James woke me up with excited shouting. A huge Mahi Mahi had bitten into the lure and was fighting hard to free itself. After a short struggle it won, taking with it one of James’ home modified lures. (As it turned out the cheap Lidl lure I had bought in the UK to which I had added a double hook and some strips of red plastic bag was the most appealing out of my otherwise expensive arsenal… J)
Neither of us were particularly excited about visiting the Canary Islands. We had both been there before with the Navy, and had not been impressed with what we saw. However, it is a convenient stop off point for boats crossing the Atlantic, and the last well stocked place to provision and buy boat bits before getting to the Caribbean on the other side. We headed for Tenerife initially to meet up with Denny, a fellow cruiser we had met in Cadiz. He had sailed straight to the Canaries from Cadiz shortly after we left for Madeira and had been emailing us with top tips on marinas to go to in the Canaries. It was good to see him again and we soon caught up on each others news. We spent a few days in Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife, checking out all the shopping facilities. We had a long list of this we knew would be difficult to get hold of once we had left Europe, so we marched around the hot streets of the city looking for chandlers, hardware shops and supermarkets (and shoe shops again… J). We went to a huge Carefour on the edge of the city to check out their tinned food and staples supply. I had become accustomed to shopping in small local shops in the villages and towns we visited, where I had to buy what they had rather then what I wanted, and there was usually very little choice. Suddenly I was strolling through a cavernous supermarket, pushing an enormous trolley that I could barely control along aisles that towered around me like Canary Wharf. I was daunted by the amount of choice on offer and didn’t have a clue which brand to pick. There was even a whole aisle devoted to tinned tuna! I had no idea there could be that many ways of canning a single fish, but it appears that the Spanish like to buy them all. My rudimentary Spanish was no use in making selections, so I went by pretty packaging or price. There was also no logic to the way things were arranged. I spent twenty minutes trying to find the rice, naively assuming it would be next to the pasta, only to find it next to soup in a completely different corner of the shop. I gave up on finding the mustard when it wasn’t with ketchup and mayonnaise… In the mean time James was prowling the hardware/toys/music sections, but even he couldn’t cope with the enormity of it all and retired to the café with Denny to wait for me.
Other than shopping we tinkered around the boat. We wanted to disguise our brand new shiny outboard engine to make it less attractive to thieves. The initial plan was to paint it and put some strategically placed bits of masking tape to make it look old and battered (my idea, involving about ten minutes work…J). I then decided that maybe personalising it would also work, so set about “pimping” our little engine. I was really pleased with the final result, and wonder if there is a market for an outboard pimping shop!
Pimp My Outboard!
Santa Cruz was a big concrete jungle with not much going for it. It was full of big square high rise apartment blocks arranged in a grid system. The old part of town was run down and crumbling, with some of the houses being knocked down to make way for more apartments. The only building of note was a large white building at the entrance to the harbour which was the new Tenerife auditorium.
We plan to return to Tenerife and see if it has any more to offer beyond Santa Cruz.