After our Lagos – Lanzarote crossing, we arrived into a sheltered little anchorage at La Graciosa – a small island just north of Lanzarote’s mainland. We didn’t stay long – the lure of a marina with fresh food, hot showers where the water didn’t run out and dry land was just too strong, so we made our way another couple of hours south to Arrecife. Our berth was mere metres away from a Burger King, so a couple of Whoppers later, we set about putting the boat back into shape after a few days at sea. We now had to start thinking seriously about the jobs list for the next few weeks, so we put together a long list of items, and started trawling the local chandlers for supplies – Marty’s new favourite pass time!
Lanzarote is small enough that with a car, you can see most of the Island in a day, and we managed to squeeze in a tour through the Volcanos in Timanfaya national park, a trip through a lava tunnel (I won’t ruin the surprise, but well worth a visit!), and a visit to a black sand beach. The landscape in Lanzarote feels like you’re on the moon, and there was little to no greenery to be seen. After exploring further north to Orzola, we stopped into a Pirate museum on a large hill, where we read all about the Canary Islands unfortunate history with the pirates of the world! While we had use of a car, we stocked up on a few supplies, checked out the local Decathlon (essential visit for all stops on our journey!), and made general preparations for our planned departure to Fuerteventura – our next stop.
We departed for Fuerteventura, and arrived into beautiful anchorage on Isla de Lobos – Island of the Wolves, we were told. The water was unbelievably clear, and the most gorgeous turquoise colour, so as soon as we arrived, we hopped in for a swim, and tested out the new snorkel gear, fresh out of Decathlon on Lanzarote! The BBQ got another outing, and there was just us and one other boat to enjoy the sunset. We spent a couple of days swimming, SUPing, and generally lazing about in the sun, and then motored over to the tiny, chaotic little marina in Corralejo, where we met up with some former work buddies of Marty’s for a drink, and found the local Indian restaurant – Marty may shortly start his own blog on Indian restaurants around the world!
From there, we made a brief pit stop in Gran Tarajal to patch up the main sail (the sewing machine has been an invaluable addition to our inventory!) and few other little maintenance tasks, then made our way to Morro Jable, which seemed like a good jumping off point for the slightly longer crossing to Gran Canaria. However, the Anchorage we’d stopped in was very rolly, and shortly before 3am, Marty decided that he’d had enough, so he pulled up the anchor, and started our journey a few hours earlier than planned! The upside of this was that I had a small pod of dolphins to keep me company on my dawn watch, and we had plenty of wind, so we zipped along nicely, arriving into Pesito Blanco marina shortly after lunch. We had an interesting time “med mooring” in 30 knots, but the marina was excellent, and after we were safely tied up, we wandered over to the nearby beach for a swim and a nap.
Whilst in Gran Canaria, one of the highlights was a hike out to Roque Nublo, in the national park. The scenery was absolutely stunning, and we had a white knuckle drive up the steep windy roads through the mountains. We both felt better for getting out to stretch the legs properly after a few days on the boat.
We were in a bit of a hurry through Gran Canaria, so our next stop was Mogán, which was absolutely beautiful! Mogán is a really pretty little fishing village, and we moored up on the town quay, and wandered around the pretty streets, with all the brightly coloured flowers and the little bridges. I’d have loved to have stayed longer – but in this case, time and tide wait for no man (or woman), so the next day we were off again, en route to Tenerife, where we would be spending a few weeks, and doing all our final preparations for the Atlantic crossing.
As usual in the Canaries, we had plenty of breeze, and we made the 50 mile passage in about 7 hours. We stopped in the Marina San Miguel, where we tied up and were met by friends from Dublin, just finishing their holiday, and called in en route to the airport. Such a treat to see some familiar faces on the dock!
We hired a car for a couple of days to explore the island, stopping at Los Cristianos, where they have imported “golden” sand from the desert to replace the black sand. We saw the enormous cliffs at Los Gigantes, and took a drive up to Santa Cruz for a wander around the capital.
We then left Eàlù for a week, while we went to Valencia for the Melges 32 Worlds. We had an amazing time catching up with friends, some great racing, and enjoying the luxuries of life on land for a few days!
Feeling a bit tired and emotional, we had a 6 am flight back to Tenerife, and were glad to find Eàlù still sat happily on the marina. Yet another friend from Dublin was on holiday in Las Americas, so we headed out there for the afternoon to catch up and enjoy a couple of sundowners.
The list of jobs was growing longer by the day, and eventually we decided we’d have to tackle one of the larger ones sooner rather than later – our front starboard window had been leaking, so we needed to remove the whole window, clean off the old seals and re-seal. This took HOURS! But, after giving it a good test with the hose, it seemed to work, and the boat should hopefully remain dry!
Whilst in Tenerife, Marty had booked us in to do a free diving course, in the north of the Island. A little unsure what to expect, we drove up and met our Hungarian instructor Mate, and before we knew it we were in funny suits, and in the swimming pool with weights strapped around our waists. That afternoon, we headed out to the sea, and tried to put the theory into practice. The course was excellent, and we spent almost 3 days learning our breathing, swimming and rescue techniques. As usual, Marty decided to push the boundaries a little further than required, and decided to take himself down to 20 metres before he was quite ready – so we had an afternoon off, and had to come back a couple of days later to finish our Level one course! But it was really great, we learnt so much, and had loads of fun – so another trip to decathlon required to buy more toys! Eàlù is definitely sitting a little lower in the water than before with all the new additions to the toy cupboard……
Other Tenerife highlights included a very hot, but very scenic hike up Roque del Conde – the same height as Snowden, only infinitely hotter! The views were stunning. We also drove the beautiful road to Masca, down the steep valley and into the old village, which really did look like something you’d find in Machu Pichu! We had friends Frank and Emma over to visit us for a few days too, which was excellent! We spent a fabulous weekend sailing, swimming, eating and drinking, and all too quickly it was time for them to go home, and Dad and Jude arrived for us to begin our final preparations for the crossing, which at this stage was only one week away!
Our final visitors in Tenerife joined us with their 9 week old baby, Thanks to Pa, Edel and baby Claire for providing a welcome distraction from all the boat work.
Our final week has been a complete blur of boat work, rig checks, provisioning, spares inventories, cleaning, packing, route planning, meal planning, etc etc. Dad and Jude were both put to work to, and between us, we’ve got everything ship shape and ready to go. We had a bit of a “moment” this evening when we discovered the bilges full of water, and found that two of our emergency water containers had leaked most of their contents all over the boat…. A quick sponge out, and a re-fill of the containers and we’re all good to go!
As is often the way in boat life, we had a slight change of plan, and have decided to call into the Cape Verde islands, instead of heading directly across to Barbados. This has made things much easier, both from a practical sense (we can top up with fuel and water etc), and from an anxiety perspective! It’s been much easier to mentally prepare myself for 6 days to the CVs, and then a further 12 -14 days to Barbados – the original plan for roughly 21 days at sea was a bit of a challenge for me!
So we’re now basically ready to go, and settling in for our final night here, before we head off first thing tomorrow morning. We’re expecting a decent 20 + knot northerly tomorrow, so we’re aiming for a 6 or 7 day passage to Mindelo, Cape Verde.
We have a tracker that should update everyday or two. https://sailingealu.blog/tracker/
Until next time…..