28:29.46N 13:51.3W Puerto Rosario, Capital of Fuerteventura
Mon 2 Nov 2015 13:46
30th October Further adventures in Fuerteventura. On approach to the harbour it looked as if there was not much there but industry, apartments and offices and indeed it is not a tourist town at all, but it is the island capital and the pilot book said “the beach protection mole remains well sheltered by the cruise ship quay and the holding is good in sand”. Good old African Scirroco wind has for centuries blown golden sand to these shores. I disciplined myself ‘Give the place a chance!’ just as I had in Seichal with its hidden secrets and charm.
The hook bit well and soon a fine steel junk-rigged ketch from Rotterdam was anchored near us. We went ashore in baking sun, with an empty Camping Gaz Butane cylinder in one trolley. Soon we summised that as this charming place was not geared up for visiting yachts they would be unlikely to cater for foreign Gas bottles. But in the exploration we came across many smiles in a busy town full of big sculptures and statues telling its history and massive models of shells reflecting its association with the sea. Murals painted on the walls of buildings added colour and interest to otherwise featureless architecture. Children made their way home from school and suited men with briefcases did their daily business.
At the open Tourist Information Office on the promenade another member of this elite breed of enthusiasts told us in perfect English, with passion, all he could about his island. Teams of school children and university students are involved in an ongoing project to reinstate colonies of turtles on the beaches to the south. When the turtles are old enough to release GPS trackers are attached so their progress can be studied. A tick in the box for conservation. He also gave us some ideas on places to visit away from the capital. But he could not think of anywhere that would be showing the Rugby Final the next day!
Back in the harbour ships came and went a few feet away and planes took off towards us from the airport to the south, with amazing frequency. There must be a whole bunch of tourists somewhere! Around us the local sailing school tutored youngsters in Optimist dinghies and teenagers in the faster 420s dashed around. Woman were coaching crews of four in the rowing boats, sometimes really yelling at the kids, poor things I thought and wished I understood the language. Rob’s iphone and the Navtex revealed a weather front was due to pass through the next day.
31st October, “Where’s the wind and rain Barbs?” Rob asked from his position while reading in bed. I looked at him from my favourite meerkat lookout in the aft hatch and pointed north. “Its coming babe.” Minutes later the weather set in for the day. But we were not to be put off going ashore to the sailing school slipway a few metres distant. The outboard on the back would ensure we would not be blown away. In the modern three floor shopping mall (aimed largely at cruise liner customers judging by the chic fashion shops full with cold winter clothes) we shopped in the Hypo Dino supermarket and found more Irish butter and fresh Canary cow milk. Yep those UK visitors must be here somewhere. Toyshops were full with Halloween accessories and we wondered if we would get a firework display that night.
Back aboard and unpacked we sat and watched the sailing enthusiasts deal with the fresh wind. The Oppies stayed closer in towards the slipway but the older ones took the advantage of some good practice in stronger airs. Parents waited in their cars for their youngsters to return.
Another sailing yacht arrived, with a Swedish couple. Then a German yacht came in dragging along fish net and line caught around his rudder. He anchored and made every attempt to clear it and retrieve it aboard. He managed to fill a bin liner but despite many attempts more of it seemed to be trapped around something on the sea-bed, so he marked it with a float and left the next morning. Mental note for when we leave, to avoid the area offshore from the visible float.
1st November and one sole firework later we walked to the bus station, as usual on the outskirts of town, and took the number 6 to Corralejo at the north of the island. We had motored past it on the way. Once a small fishing village and now completely submerged by tourism, this is where many of the tourists are! In between Isla Lobos and the beach is a vast shallow area where the swell builds up to long, cresting rollers which are perfect for surfing on boards and in canoes. It reminded me of Widemouth Bay in Cornwall but with the added protection of the island. This exposed coast has led the developers to build well back from the shore. Instead there is a wide promenade where everyone can enjoy the exercise and views.
Eggyolk-streaked pavements were testament to the Halloween fun the night before. As is true of all significant human developments there was the Chinese Bazaar, and on the well proven theory we went in to buy a tiny battery for one of our anti-mosquito devices, and yes the lady had one almost in her hand ready, amazing. As we ate tasty tapas we watched a canoeist row his big black dog back to his boat and thought of Toby, and his love of being on board.
The return bus gave us a fine view of the beautiful dunes that stretch for miles along the coast but not before passing ugly half-built tourist ventures that missed the boom and could do with being flattened. But I guess even that costs money. Just after our return aboard, the German cruise liner, Aida left and today, 2nd November, a man with a harris hawk is giving it flying practise from the same quay. I have just told a Red Cross rib, out for some exercises, to mind the white float in case it gets caught on their propellor. Rob is playing at fishing while at anchor, using some of the rods and gear he had as a boy. So all is well on the good ship Zoonie as we hope it is with you.