Good mix of shorter day sails with a longer crossing from Lanzarote to Tenerife.Weather a bit mixed but great company, good food and wine and the wonderful Brighton Belle. Crew Phillip Ford (skipper and TEFL instructor), Neil Hurrell, Shelley Hurrell, Peter Wales, Micheal Prewer and David Roberts.
We started in Rubicon, setting up the boat on Saturday afternoon for a prompt morning start to get up to Lanzarote Marina at Arrecife.Wind good, made 5 to 6.5kts.Lanzarote Marina is vast, has a large cruise ship dock and lots of horrible shops for the more mobile cruise passengers.The staff were keen to assist us with our Spanish but not so keen on telling us where to tie up. Anglo-Spanish relations hit a bit of a low, but Phillip did his best to help them learn more colloquial expressions.
Next stop was La Graciosa and the anchorage at Playa Francesa. Wind a bit light, so some sailing and motoring, enlivened by a surprise MOB exercise, the first of many. The island is a nature reserve, very quiet, with not a lot to look at.We began to appreciate the simple austere beauty of its bleak aspect, but not sure we got much further.The bay itself is easy to identify with a noticeable litter station on the southern end. We ate well with Micheal's terrific tuna traybake, maintaining the high standards set by the restos. We turned in early for the long trip to Tenerife following careful and thoughtful passage planning resulting in a plan to stay north of the shipping channels and then go south-westish along Tenerife with more options for parking if the weather changed.
The 170nm to Tenerife took about 35 hours.The wind was good at first in the morning but by evening had lessened and was starting to move easterly.As so often happens it could not make up its mind whether to shift now, or later, or just go round in circles.With the wind on the same course that we were wanting to make, it got tricky and noisy.At some stage the steaming light went and was replaced by the foredeck light, and the starboard jackstays argued with the mast.A long list for Friday began to develop.Luckily we had an ace catering team, Shelley and Micheal lead the way with some assistance from David and Peter. So things were good, especially the lunches.
In the morning we saw a large pod of pilot whales with a few calves.They rest in the shallower seas before hunting further and deeper out.Until then we had seen little wildlife so this was a dramatic improvement.
We were aiming for a bay in the wind acceleration zone.By then the wind was south westery and bang on the nose.Motoring along we noticed the white tops to the waves and expected the wind to increase from 5kts to 15kts or so as indicated by the pilot.But it grew to 30, 35 and even 40kts for a short while.We stopped for lunch then had to work our way past the large headland of Montana Roja.We were slowed down by the steep waves set up by the wind and the helms were refreshed by the streams of water over the foredeck and windshield. As we battled round the headland we were visited by kite surfers, anxious to show-off their skills, which were quite impressive.
Marina San Miquel is very friendly, a bit crowded with some rafting up.A couple of square riggers turned up including Eye of theWind, impressive boat. Neil volunteered to go up the mast to fix the jackstays and light to show that we could handle heights too.All the making good was sorted and we left BB clean and tidy.My key, in case you have forgotten yours, is with the marina staff. Please leave it with them so that I can pick it up later.
Eating Out and other info
In Rubicon, thanks to the excellent Lynn and Richard of Velvet Adventure, very knowledgeable about all things nautical, we ate in a great restaurant on the upper level just past the Blue Note jazz resto,into a side alley and up the stairs. A proper sailors' number with good fresh food. There is a small supermarket on the edge of the marina, stocks most things.
In the Lanzarote Marina in Arrecife we went over the bridge at end of the marina into the town(av Olof Palme),lots of restos around the lagoon(av cesar manrique), the first one with outside heaters was good, range of fish and meat dishes, wine list good too. Medium sized supermarket in marina. A good small, fisherman/womans bar opposite the marina on av Naos, past the nautical school, close to the trawlers.
There was a bit of a surprise in Radizul marina with a few restos at the top end, including a rather tasty bakery. We ate at the first one, Tasca, because of the fish, which was good, as was the wine (Martin Codax albarino! ).Tiny supermarket near to marina and a bigger one up the steep hill behind it.
Marina San Miquel is not well served by restos in the port. Head off to Los Arbrigos, taxi is about 10€, go down into the harbour with lots of restos and go to the excellent El Crangrejo Loco, great for fish, canarian wines and have a cognac with your coffee. Tiny supermarket in marina, large one out of town, use a taxi.
Playa Francesca requires prior permission fromthe Environmental Department of the local Lanzarote government. Anchoring was straight forward with good holding in the sand.In the summer there are booze cruise boats full of young people and radio 1, they don't come out in the off-season.
Canarian marinas have very limited shower/toilets, even in the large ones, so get there early or be prepared to wait, and they use keys rather than codes. Wifi limited too, worth thinking about data package to get the weather files etc, and for some, the football scores.
FYI the bolt croppers are stored in the starboard rear deck locker with the life raft, logical, but handy to know.