Thursday 23rd September 2010
We slipped the lines at 0930 on Tuesday and set off for Lanzarote, some 300 miles to the South East of Madeira and the most Northerly of the Canary Islands. The forecast was for very little wind for a couple of days before it picked up, so we had prepared ourselves for a boring motor.
As expected, there was little wind and we were motoring on a flat sea, so Steve decided to try out the new fishing rod he bought in Mersin. Rob on Serafina had already landed a 4kg tuna within a couple of hours of setting out. Not long after setting it up, I noticed that the reel that holds the line was empty, and it turned out we had something on the line without realizing it! Steve tried to pull it in but in the end it got away, probably because it had managed to get a long line to play with. We ended up with a piece of fish mouth on the hook. Some advice was sought via the VHF from Rob who was a few miles ahead of us and a veteran of landing big ones at sea, and after a few adjustments to the reel Steve set the line again.
A few hours later it became apparent that there was something on the line, and we had visions of trying to land an enormous tuna over our very cluttered stern. However, it turned out to be not one big fish but three small ones, and Steve was able to land them easily enough into a trug on the aft deck. Each one weighed in at 0.6kg and we were happy with that for a first catch.
The eagle-eyed among you will notice that we caught one by its tail!! We later identified them as skipjack tuna.
The excitement over, the rest of the day and night were uneventful and we continued to motor until the wind picked up unexpectedly early the next day. We were pleased to have wind, but not pleased that it was coming from ahead of the beam. Then the wind dropped and along came the rain. Then the rain stopped and the wind picked up again and it continued in this way all day. The log reads “Raining again – it’s just like sailing in the UK!” During the night the wind strengthened and headed us before finally settling down to a fairly consistent force 5-6 mainly on the beam with horrid big seas and rain. It was unpleasant but we made very good speed and this meant that we would not be another night at sea. Every cloud and all that…
As dawn broke we sighted land and eventually as we sailed into its shelter the seas and wind died down. As we rounded La Graciosa and the northern tip of Lanzarote the sun came out, the wind switched direction and we had a very pleasant run down the coast under double headsail.
It was an exciting arrival in Puerto Calero as the wind picked up to 30+ knots as we approached the marina, but by teatime we were safely tied up on J pontoon, having been greeted by Jim and Michelle on Wind machine who had decided to give Madeira a miss and use the weather window to come straight to Lanzarote from Gibraltar. Serafina was, of course, already tied up, washed down, polished…
It was not the nicest passage we have made and we were certainly glad not to be at sea another night, especially as the strong wind that had sprung up as we arrived continued to blow all night and well into the next day. However, by the time we were sipping our G&T’s in the cockpit couple of hours after arriving, it was all forgotten.