Lanzarote II

Thu 10 Nov 2022 14:52

Thursday 10 Nov. 22, Marina Rubicon

Blog two days running, I hear you say, what is going on?.   The reason is that my daughter, Nicole, has pointed out that the Mailasail Teleport, email to diary, system has not been picking up our location since back in Portugal – so I’m writing a short note about yesterday’s excursion to Arrecife to try to rectify this.    Mailasail advise not to include the vessel email address in these blogs in case it gets picked up by spamming robots, but any feedback would be welcome to: vessel name at   [just change vessel name to the name of our yacht and replace the 'at' with @].  If you email, please do not send any attachments.

At the moment we are still in Marina Rubicon 31:51.50N 13:49.50W (that is the bit that is supposed to alert the diary system to our location and I’m being particularly rigorous about the format today).  We will be returning to anchor to save on berthing fees later this morning.

Yesterday was a fun day out to deal with a bit of bureaucracy as we had to get our passports stamped ‘in’ to Shengen Europe.  The police that deal with immigration are in the capital city, Arrecife, about 40km away by road – and technically we should have gone there first to ‘sign in’ but, at the time, I was having engine/fuel issues and wanted to head for a location where I had a chance of sailing to anchor if I had to.

Getting to Arrecife: the car hire place in the marina had overbooked cars and had nothing available for days.  We then took the folding bikes to the town of Playa Blanca, about 20 minutes by bike, from the marina to find another car hire outlet.  They also had no cars but were hiring scooters so we thought that would do us.  OK, but the scooters were at their other base at the Hotel Sandos about 20 minutes in the opposite direction from the marina but they did phone to check availability – and the morning was starting to warm up.

The Hotel Sandos was an enormous complex on the very edge of town with opulent pool and bar facilities right up against a barren moonscape backdrop.  The hotel reception staff were charming and efficient as was the scooter hire man who was working from a desk in the hotel foyer. Having done the paperwork, we had a coffee in the hotel bar before setting off.

The trip to Arrecife was straight-forward and the scenery was dramatic at times; we had both had motor bikes in the past, so our survival skills were reasonable and the scooters with automatic gears were easy and quite nippy even traversing the mountainous moonscape of extinct volcanoes.  Having got to the cruise ship terminal we got re-directed to another port, Marmoles, about 5km away but that was fine, and the police were not concerned whether we had arrived that day or a week previously. We parked the scooters on the pavement for a bit of lunch on the waterfront in Arrecife and, since we had the wheels, planned a tour for the afternoon.

Heading inland and north(ish) we could see the northern tip of the island and Graciosa (which is calling us now) in the distance from a high point.  A bit like some places in Cornwall, we could often see both coasts at the same time.  

Seeing signs for the Cesar Manrique Foundation (museum), which Cilla had recommended, we turned off (almost back to Arrecife) to spend an hour there.  I knew that Manrique had influenced the island development back in the sixties and seventies suggesting (determining?) that all the buildings on the island were white and single story giving the whole island a north African feel, but knew nothing about the person.   How he achieved this I still don’t understand;  Manrique was an artist, not an architect and I’m not sure  he had a role within the local government.  In fact, it seemed there had been local protests against his decadent life-style, but he influenced so much development of the island. The museum had been his house and was cleverly integrated into and over linked lava bubbles (room sized voids) in the lava flows from eruptions between 1730 and 1736 that had been turned into living accommodation.  Manrique also lived the life-style of the swinging sixties and pictures of parties, fancy dress and quite a lot of girls, featured in the exhibits.

We took the long way back via the Timanfaya National Park, through miles and miles of lava flow but it was primarily the ash deposit which amazed me.  The fields of ash were on an unbelievable scale and difficult to describe.  As far as the eye could see, the ground has been thickly covered with black, jagged clinker, some of the pieces as big as cars. 

Scootering on towards Playa Blanca the sun was getting low and we could see the vast hotel Sandos in the far distance.  Handing back the keys we decided we deserved a beer in the hotel bar and were delighted not be charged; no one was being charged!  What was going on? Did the hotel do a gratis happy hour for guests? How did they deal with non-residents?  It was beyond us but we left without any alarms going off and a free beer was great end to good day out.


Photographs of the Manrique Foundation building by Brian