Lanzarote to La Gomera

Brian Bonniwell and Claudine
Fri 20 Nov 2015 21:39
28 05.00N 17 05.00W

We arrived back in Lanzarote to warm weather and clear skies...Such a stark contrast to the cold rainy departure from the UK.  Sam had looked after the boat well and it was still in one piece!  We were planning on seeing more of the Island as we had not seen much prior to our departure but an unexpected email from some friends of ours, Malc and Wendy Swait, changed our itinery some what! They were in the Canaries on a.little Island called La Gomera.  This is from where the Atlantic rowers depart. They suggested we meet them there.  A great idea and we promptly started organising the 150 mile passage.  The weather was favourable, although I think Brian would have preferred more wind.  We arrived at La Gomera on Thursday evening after a very pleasant trip with interesting coastal views of Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Tenerife on the way.  Malc and Wendy were on the harbour wall waving and calling to us as we entered the marina.  It was such a lovely surprise as we had been trying to meet up with them at home in England for so long and hadn't managed to.

Once we had moored they came on board and we all sat and drank G&T's under a balmy star lit night, catching up on news.  We then went to one of the traditional Spanish restaurants which Malc and Wendy had discovered and had one of their wonderful fish dishes.  The manager was quite a character and he spoke and gesticulated about how many fish he had caught and how big they were!. I suspect another fisherman's tale!

The next day Malc and Wendy showed us around the Island in their hire car.  The Island is very green and picturesque and as you ascend the mountains the temperature changes quite dramatically and it also became quite humid.  The tree leaves in the dense forests at the top of the mountains apparently collect water from the passing clouds and the dripping water on the ground below provides water for much of the island, which is why parts are so green.  The roads were surprisingly good and had little taffic.  The sightseeing tour ended at Malc and Wendy's Parador Hotel which was situated at the top of a rocky outcrop overlooking the harbour and marina below.  It was a typical Spanish style, with internal courtyards and dark polished wooden floors and surrounds.  It seemed unreal as we sat drinking more G&Ts on their balcony overlooking one of thr courtyards which was so peaceful until birds came to roost in the trees, creating a tremendous din!

The next few days were spent preparing for our Atlantic crossing, which of course meant stocking up with food and more food!  Claudine never wants to see another supermarket!  We were surprised at the array of food that we were able to buy on the Island, with a good supply of fresh veg and meat.

The other highlight for us in La Gomera at this time were the ever present rowers preparing to row across the Atlantic.  This is a bi-annual event for singles, pairs and fours and this year 26 boats are due to depart on 15 December.  The event appears to be highly organised and regulated with safety naturally being a top priority.  We were lucky enough (through Malc and Wendy) to be introduced to one pair (Neil and Hamish) and this subsequently led to Sam being invited to row in their boat on one of the practice runs. At one stage we thouht we might lose him to the 'rowing cause' but apparently Brian's transfer fee was too high!   The design and specification  of the boats and equipment fascinated Brian and the boy's and much time was spent (wasted?) talking to the various crew.  Very sadly, one crew of 4 ex-soldiers raising money for Help for Heroes, had 3 legs between them, but what a cheerful bunch of lads - true heroes.  Some crews are racing and others just doing ' the Atlantic Challenge'    

 We went to Marios for our last meal out before departing.  This turned out to be a very eventful evening with excellent food and a great atmosphere.  Claudine ended up dancing a Spanish dance with the cook!   We also met a very interesting Scottish man who had settled here several years ago as he loved the weather, the people and the way of life. I can understand this, as La Gomero is quite unspoilt and less commercialised then the other parts of the Canaries we have seen.  Christopher Columbus, on his way to the New World, also spent much time on the island where he was rumoured to have a mistress.  On the way home we helped some locals pull down a poster outside their shop, with which they were struggling.  They invited us in for a beer,  which of course we graciously accepted and eventually arrived home about 2am!  

The boys met up with many of the rowers on our last night.  This led to a succession of early morning visitors to view our boat, including the ladies rowing 'four' - all young mum's from York.  This was a real delight and the girls really made Brian's day!  We really admired their courage and determination and wish them lots of luck and a safe passage.
After re-fuelling we set off on our transatlantic crossing.  Quite a rough start and we couldn't help wondering whether all those rowers we left behind, realised what is ahead of them.  We have the luxury of Wishanger for our approximate 18 day crossing, they have the discomfort of a rowing boat for their estimated 40 to 60 days.  Good luck to them all.

Brian Claudine and the boys.




Sam rowing with Neil and Hamish






G and T - Sam, Wendy, Claudine, Brian and Malc


Spanish restaurant








Attachment: m_Neil Hamish and Sam.jpg
Description: Binary data

Attachment: m_P1020265.jpg
Description: Binary data

Attachment: m_P1020245.jpg
Description: Binary data

Attachment: m_P1020221.jpg
Description: Binary data

Attachment: m_P1020183.jpg
Description: Binary data

Attachment: m_P1020176.jpg
Description: Binary data

Attachment: m_P1020198.jpg
Description: Binary data