Sunday, December 18, 2011

Canary Islands, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, La Gomera

After a particularly lumpy (beam on) passage from Madeira we arrived at Lanzarote. Great island with awesome volcanic landscape, and we had a free anchorage at Puerto de Naos in Arrecife, which unexpectedly turned out to be a very pleasant Spanish ( sorry Canarian) town. Janet joined us for 10 days and we explored the weird and wonderful landscape, extinct volcanoes, lava fields and tunnels and architecture c/o Cesar Manrique,  by car and bus. Enjoy the photos :

Volcanoes, thankfully extinct
La Graciosa

Vines, in individual wind bunkers. No wonder it's so expensive!

Architects have the best swimming holes - this one is in a lava tunnel
Never underestimate your landfall!

Enjoy the surf when you are not on board your yacht...

In the volcanic park we met the guy with the best job in the whole world. How could you get bored pouring water into a hole, to make a geyser explode for the delight and fright of tourists from around the world. I have a great video of it, but it's upside down thanks to my smart-ass phone and one day I will work out how to right it and post it here.
It's really cool and he can't stop grinning. I want that job.

Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, saw the departure of the ARC, Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. Happy to watch the 210 boats sail over the horizon with all their hype and market created paraphernalia, the cash tills singing love songs as they left, creating their own credit crisis in their wake. See the boat leaving to cross the Atlantic fully prepared with sun loungers ready on deck :

Steph's mum had an exciting holiday on board here. Narrowly missing a impromptu swim in the harbour, as the boat rolled in the Atlantic swell. Stu rugby tackled her into the dinghy and all was well! Crisis averted.

Next stop La Gomera. We can't recommend it highly enough. Beautiful scenery - rocky coastal paths (read we did an 8 hour walk) enormous 25km downhill cycles ( we took the bus to the top), gruelling uphill cycling ( 3 hours in lowest gear, got the route wrong), and fab walking in rain forest with cedar trees, mossy paths, perpetual mists, emerging into cactus, date palm and goat country.
The terrain is so severe here, that the locals developed a whistling language of 4000 words to communicate across the barrachos or ravines, as they are impassible (hence the 8 hour walk!)

The uphill!!!!!!!1350m ascent
So, not really feeling that we have done La Gomera proper justice, we are off again, but it is high on the list of places to spend more time in....someday.

We have shopped and stowed, shopped and stowed all the way out of the Med, then eaten 90% of what we bought for the crossing. Now every locker is stuffed to the brim and there are bags and baskets all over the boat,nowhere to sleep, so I guess it is time to cast off tomorrow and head out to sea. Maybe Cape Verdes ( where there will be national mourning for the loss of their most famous singer) or if conditions are right we will turn to starboard (right for landlubbers) and head for the rum factory in Barbados. Perhaps the worlds second best job !!!
Gotta go, yet another group of old guys with guitars has just turned up outside to play folkloric songs in return for a warming glass of something.