Volcanoes, La Graciosa and Rosario
Tuesday 22 November
Dave Tremain and Morag Findlay arrived in Arrecife , Cesar Manrique Airport, on the 14th in the evening and had been amazed that, due to the Plymouth ‘network’, a lady sitting in the seat behind them on the plane said, ‘you must be Morag and Dave’. Katie Taylor, the daughter in law of one of Diana’s friends, was travelling out to re-join her husband, Leo, and their daughters on ‘Bojabe’, in Lanzarote.
I had hired a car to meet the new crew members at the airport but it also allowing Brian and myself to drive to a builders merchant, in the morning, to purchase a 100 litre dustbin as we had decided to pump the diesel out and clean the fuel tank ourselves. This worked well and we cleaned the tank thoroughly and put the diesel back into the tank through a fine screen with lots of biocide.
Having the car we did a big shop the following morning to stock the boat for a few days and in the afternoon took a tour out to the Timanfaya National Park to the volacanism museum which closed about four minutes after we arrived and we were unceremoniously ushered out, but the lady closing the car park behind us did suggest a walk out to a small, long-extinct volcano near-by called El Cuervo. The walk was through a wasteland of volcanic ash. Don’t imagine cigarette ash, this is great, jagged clumps of lava that has fallen evenly over vast areas. Each clump is hard and sharp and looks porous and light but samples that were liftable were surprisingly heavy.
The walk was longer than expected too. Twenty or 30 minutes on loose, clinker path through the jagged ash fields took us the foot of the cone and we started to walk around the base expecting a quick circuit. Multiple signs indicated that we were not allowed to climb the cone. After some distance we found that there was a crack in the wall of the cone that allowed access to the crater. The inside was eerily quiet and, out of the wind, very still and awesome. The continuation around the perimeter back to the path took a long time and the sun was setting as we returned to the car park, tired but quite pleased with the little expedition. In the evening, having the car, we travelled out of the marina to a fish restaurant on the dock at Playa Blanca and enjoyed a good supper.
The following day we left the marina for an overnight anchorage by a nearby beach and swam into the beach the next morning. At midday we set off for La Graciosa, a small island which is also a marine park. The slow, windward passage turned into an overnight sail arriving at dawn on Friday. There was no berth in the marina and we were not allowed to anchor outside because of the marine reserve, so moved to the only anchorage in Playa Francesa, 29:13.06N, 31:69.13W, about a mile from the small town. We went ashore at midday with the dinghy and walked through sand dunes to the town and did some shopping and had a beer. The marina appeared to have lots of empty berths.
We stayed on the boat at anchor on Saturday and Sunday lying to anchor in 25-30 knots of wind with little shelter from the low-lying land. It was too rough to take the dinghy out but Brian and Morag swam. Tomorrow the wind strength reduces and we intend to sail downwind to Fuerteventua and then on to Las Palmas to shop for our long passage towards the end of this month.
We arrived in Rosario 28:29.80N, 13:51.50W, the capital of Fuerteventura, on Monday evening after a fast downwind sail. We were met and directed to a berth by very friendly and helpful port police officer who took us through the formalities -passports, boat insurance/registration, etc. In the evening we had a beer and ate out as we had used up most of our fresh stock. We did a bit of shopping on Tuesday morning followed by a lazy afternoon and I got a haircut.
We are passaging overnight to the port of Morro Jable on the south of Fuerteventura tonight. The Puertos Canarious online booking system for berths or anchorage spots has denied us a berth in Morro Jable but they have denied us everything we have applied for so far. We’ll find somewhere to anchor if we have to and then head over to Las Palmas on Gran Canaria. The ARC fleet sailed on Sunday so there should be some room in the marina.
All best, Tony, Brian, Dave and Morag.