27:48.94N 15:45.81W Puerto do Mogan
Tue 17 Nov 2015 19:19
9th November. So we have left behind us the third island of the Canaries and are approaching the fourth, Gran Canaria.
In 2007 Rob and I were aboard the 182 foot square rigged sail training brig, Stavros Niarchos, affectionately known as Stavvy. It was the voyage on which I had the good fortune to met Rob as he was in my watch as a trainee and I was his Watch Leader. Our cruise took us all around the Canaries so this time there are various places where our paths have crossed.
We were heading north one night up the east coast of Fuerteventura and asked a harbour master in, what I now know to be, Puerto Rosario, if we could enter for the night. The lady said there was not room and I can now see that with a cruise liner and a couple of ships moored up there wouldn’t have been room. Still we were a bit miffed at the time. I vaguely remember we anchored at the south of an island instead, with a big hotel complex to our right as we faced the shore. I am pretty sure it was where we anchored in Playas de las Colorades and kept a watch on the transits all night to see she didn’t move.
At another point of the same cruise we anchored off a little bay and were ferried into the marina on the ship’s rib so we could walk to the beach for a swim. By this time in the cruise I have to declare I was starting to feel decidedly attracted to this warm hearted, good listener called Rob, or was it Bob? We had chatted about our lives and Rob had made a few suggestions about how to deal with two very nice guys I was stringing along on Dating Direct at the time. I was starting to think I was getting things sorted when my heart took over. Standing under the beach shower with him, to wash off the seawater seemed like an infinitely nice thing to be doing. To say nothing of lying on the beach admiring the view.
The place was, of course, Puerto de Mogan and we could not think of bypassing it on our travels this time. We tried to be really authentic and anchor in the tiny space between the harbour entrance and the rocky mole that protects the swimming beach and keeps the sand in place. The bottom was rock and stones and despite the pilot saying the holding was good we could not tell whether the rumbling of the chain was that or the anchor moving. The transits suggested she was holding just fine but we didn’t want to take the chance, especially as we were staying overnight. The marina manager had a space for us and with the help of his marinero we moored bows on to the harbour wall picking up a mooring line on the way in to keep her stern at right angles to the wall. The pilot warned us of chafe on our lines from the concrete wall, so we rigged the tough line protectors, set the big ball fender between the anchor flukes to protect her bows and settled down for a delightful two days in the heart of this picturesque little place.
People have been living on the hillside of Mogan for over 1600 years in circular stone houses with Greek Cross shaped interiors. Houses built back then were a work of art, but after the conquest in the 15th century (remember Betencuria) subsequent house building was a rush job by comparison. A small fishing village preceded the present complex of Italian style villas, complete with little canals. The abundance of flowering bourgainvillea and palms completes the picture. This is a second home to many British visitors so finding a restaurant with Canarian food was a challenge.
Our beach cruce (crossroads) was planned for the next day and equipped with the gear and beach brolley we set off and set up our pitch. The swim was blissfully refreshing but strangely, both of us remember the beach area being bigger than it is. We had a beer in the same bar as before, just to seal the occasion.
From our mooring position we could see the fishermens’ area and alongside the moored fishing boats were a couple of restaurants. In an attempt to taste local fare we dined there and it was fresh local fish, but expensive compared to other local restaurants we had eaten in as indeed was the tapas. Wandering back to Zoonie in the evening we decided that true tapas was only to be found in Galicia, where it is a gift to the visitor from the hosts, small in amount but big in generosity.
11th November. Early to the Spar supermarket where we found, among other necessities, some gofio. Used in the Canaries from way back this highly nutritious flour has a long shelf life. It is made by roasting herb roots or rhizomes, maize, corn or wheat and then grinding it into flour. Mixed with any liquid it can be eaten uncooked, I guess because it has already been cooked, or used to thicken soups, stews and ice cream! So don’t kill those dandelions with deadly Weedol or Roundup, roast and grind them! (Beef over)
We relaxed on board after lunch and wandered over to the old village and as the sun sank slowly in the west prepared for our eight o’clock departure in unison with the Norwegian yacht next door. They left on the hour so we followed 8 minutes later and watched as they headed south to what could only be the Cape Verdes and we set out on a night crossing that defied the idea that the acceleration winds drop at night!