We made our first landfall in the Canary Islands on Lanzarote. We were exceptionally pleased to see Arrecife emerging in the distance, as this 36 hour sail was our roughest passage to date. We think we were in 5-6 meter swell most of the time, with wind about 30 knots and no doubt gusting more. When looking at the wind map beforehand we carefully avoided setting off in such conditions, but when we were finally able to leave the quaint fishing harbour at Essaouria (our bolt hole for much longer than intended) we found ourselves in these seas. The best thing about the trip was that the boat felt good, and even though it was rough, we both took our share of tasks. No messy seasickness from me, and the Captain even slept!
Some new experiences included:
- Visiting the Canary Islands! (only new for me) Magnus has visited several times, including with his family many years ago. Whilst here we had a historical tour of the popular Swedish family mecca at Playa Blanca, and recreated a scene with stones from long ago, albeit minus an eager 7 yo Johan, and a sprightly 73 yo farmor.
- Walking up and around volcanos – these subtropical islands were formed by countless volcanic eruptions millions of years ago, and there is some volcanic activity still.
- A guided tour of a super yacht thanks to a Swedish crew member. We were fortunate enough to have a 33 m racing yacht docked opposite us in a marina, and we were privy to a very interesting tour. It was preparing for the Transatlantic race, with 15 crew aboard, including several Aussies. The boat had a bathtub, but to keep racing weight down each crew could bring only 7 kg of luggage! The boat was to have its container of removed (read “heavy”) cruising comforts shipped to meet it in the Caribbean, as you do.
- Playing paddle! Thanks to our compatriates from Västerås from SV Marie Louise; Anki and I tried a new racquet sport. It was super fun, and very good exercise especially for the abdominals. We were breathless with laughter much of the time, and were grateful that no passing tourists were concussed by wayward balls, which seemed to comprise about 50% of our total shots. The very kind and patient Marie Louise Captain and first mate were much better than us newbies!
- Doing the grocery shopping and returning with the nutritious haul by taxi. So far our trusty bikes or less trustworthy legs and arms have borne our fodder requirements, but we needed a big restock this time.
- Having dear friends visiting. We had the pleasure of the warm company of Jan and Anki for a week. This couple truly scatter “joie de vie” around them like confetti – and their sense of fun is infectious. Their sailing expertise and energy were gratefully received, and I know Magnus appreciated Jan’s technical support with several unexpected electrical problems. On one of these occasions, I was hovering helpfully? nearby while Magnus had his head buried deep in the engine compartment, but fully understood when he instructed me curtly to go up and steer, and “send Jan down here!”
- Reuniting with our fellow Västerås cruisers on SV Marie Louise. This lovely family live on same street as Magnus and departed Sweden just before we did. They have sailed all the way down to The Canary Islands, and have had many adventures on the way. We have kept in touch, and it was super fun to meet up and exchange stories and laughs, and share information.
- Really nice sailing days, and some beautiful anchorages – the adventure has really begun!
- Using our new anchor successfully. (The anchor is AKA the Captain’s stillnox…) Magnus slept on the first night, and by the second was snoring like a train. Tick.
- Bidding a sad farewell to a well loved family heirloom… The dear 30 year old egg cooker began to flag a little this week, and was finally laid to rest in Marina Rubicon, almost 5,000 km south of where it began its faithful service to Magnus’s family long long ago. RIP little white egg shaped appliance.
- The batteries fully dumping charge, and almost concurrently the engine not starting. They were independent problems, but occurring close together made it harder to separate and solve them.
- Having to wade shoulder deep to clamber back into the dinghy from the beach. My pleasant shore expedition from the anchored boat ended in an unscheduled and quite chilly swim! This happened as Magnus faithfully returned to shore to collect me – (we have joked about this NOT happening, so as you can imagine I was somewhat relieved…) and summoning me to wade out to the dinghy as it richoched around in the chop a fair way off the sand. When I got to chest deep, holding the phone aloft, I had to stop and hope the dinghy may approach a little further. Not only was it pretty cold, the clumsy dinghy embarkation was hilarious for the people on the beach apparently!
- MANY conversations over the week that were interrupted by involuntary bouts of giggles. We concluded that some of our crew were “part time senile”, which was bad enough, but also resembled Patsy and Eddie from “Ab Fab” more often than anyone would like to admit – albeit minus about 90% of their liquid diet.
Food and Bevvy highlights:
- Undoubtedly all the Swedish goodies personally imported by our generous visitors. Our bounty included Swedish favourites such as smoked salmon and special sauce, kaviar, sil, plock godis, anchovies, marabou chocolate, HOLIDAY DIP etc etc etc and also some Christmas fare….
- Glögg! How have I known a Swede for so long before being introduced to this special kind of beautifully spiced mulled Christmas wine! Jan and Anki made sure we had plenty of the special spice blend to make glögg when the real day for it arrives…
- Delicious Italian food, complemented by the most gigantic pepper grinder I have ever seen!
- The novelty of an enormous FRIED calzone…. the frying completely changed the texture of the wheaten casing. Who knew?
- A early Christmas celebration, complete with Chinese food, Christmas decorations, music, presents, fortune cookies, and Swedish food!
- Delicious Lanzarote cheese accompanying sundowners on Marie Louise when reuniting with the Västerås gang.
- I hate to repeat myself here…. but, AGAIN auto pilot repair. The Captain says “the final fix.”
- Upgrade to 4 x 100 Ah AGM batteries – we hope our power problems will disappear now.
- Hot wiring option to bypass faulty ignition if required… why not? I am starting to wonder about Magnus’s (possibly chequered?) past.
- Many photo credits must go to Anki P H. Not only was she good company, she almost single handedly filled the role of Almazul’s chief photographer this week. Thanks Anki – AKA Patsy!