|Blush Canaries and thence onward and upward|
THE BLUSH TRIP
Grand Canaria Cont'd Mark and Amanda Pirie Blush
Following the completion of drydock and maintenance work in Puerto Mogan we moved out to anchor outside but the anchorage is exposed and the shifting winds make the location a rolly experience so we moved on to Arguinigan which is more sheltered but still quite rolly and during daytime one can enjoy the delights of the jet ski types hurtling round the boat.
For those that may have been there before, there's now a swimming area marked off which pushes anchoring boats further out into the swell. Finally we went to Anfi to anchor off and oddly it looks more exposed however it was the most comfortable anchorage - we were advised by other Brits that 'they' allow a couple of days and then come out and move you on ! How do they do that ? Open anchorage not in any harbour or fairway !!!!! We had no problems but were moving on so maybe they didn't get round to it.
We moved into Puerto Rico Marina to store up and get weather information prior to going to Tenerife - why do Brits seem to require cr*p bars like 'the Rovers Return' !!!
Well you can find them there!
During the stay it we noticed a tad of a diesel smell in the dock and I could here a pump running periodically so I investigated and found a motor cruiser ( not occupied ) with a bilge pump discharging fuel direct over the side into the dock about every 2 mins. I found a marinello and he reluctantly came along to see the problemo and then muchos activity.
They - amongst other things - dangled over the side with a bucket, caught the diesel discharge and opened the engine compartment and tipped it back in ! ( great way to spend an evening ) then they moved the marina dinghy under the bilge overboard and captured the out pouring diesel into the dinghy! By now the whole dock was rife with diesel so we asked to be moved to another berth - non comprehendo - was the reply so I asked again in my best Spanglish and suddenly they could speaka da English !!!
We left for Tenerife knowing we were going to go through an 'acceleration zone'
( couple of these in the Solent would thin the numbers down a bit !!! ) we thought we were ready and approached from a fairly average sailing breeze towards white caps and a darkening sea. Then we were in and the wind shifted from 10 to 28kts in as many feet, the sea went black and looked evil. As ever Amanda was below doing something and got thrown round the cabin so I said nuts to this and reversed course out of it. So we returned to anchor and reviewed the weather options and decided to leave the next day early before Mr Wind woke up. We had reviewed all options and secured everything we could think of and see. We entered the same place and it didn't look so bad, this time the weather suggested no more than 10 - 14 kts inside the zone. We had one reef in and the No 3 jib and soon found ourselves over powered as the wind went over 30kts regularly however it was a broad reach so we feathered off the sails and kept the speeds down to about 8kts. The wind eased down to a steady 25kts and Amanda said ' shall we put in reef 2 ?', ' I said no as we are probably about ½ way across and should be through the first zone.' About 15 minutes later wham, we were in 40kts ! So dropped the main completely and reduced the jib. I noticed a charter boat coming up after us under full sail - hmm don't think buying a boat to charter in that location is a smart move.
We arrived in San Miguel Marina and only stopped one day - discovered that we had lost yet another batten from the main and that's not the sort of thing you can get easily round those areas. We found Club Sail very helpful but the lady we spoke to didn't mention to the Maintenance chap our request so when we met him in Las Galletas marina he said he had one like we needed but it was miles away. Las Galletas is a new marina and the town is more Spanish but a tad run down in appearance but facilities were fine.
Departing from there we went to anchor at Los Christianos but the anchorage within the harbour is now closed so anchoring off the beach is the only option and again changeable winds make it exposed and rolly as well as parascending boats, jet skis and under age drinking Brits in pedalos harass one continually. More seriously there are rocks and old mooring blocks on the bottom so as one rotates with the wind one's chain can get caught and fouled - we were ok but others had problems.
Whilst there I was eating a crusty roll and I crunched out a crown complete with securing peg. I found a dentist whom I thought I had asked to plug the cavity where the peg was but she looked at the removed crown and peg then changed her mind, breathed on me with muchos garlicky breath just about knocking me out ! and fitted the crown back in, which in fairness is still there.
We left Tenerife for the Island of La Gomera and sat out some windy weather in the marina. The crossing had its acceleration zones but nothing like the one previously mentioned and we enjoyed a good sail.
We took a hire car for a day to look round the Island, its very beautiful and more green than more easterly islands, the roads are almost empty and in good order and without the huge drops experienced driving in Grand Canaria. We found a sailmaker and he produced some batten material but next time you are in the UK chandlers moaning about the price ........ we paid €70 for batten. We met up with a boat called 'Tin Lizzy' having first met them in San Miguel, they had engine problems so were stuck although seemed happy with their location but were going back to anchor in Los Christianos later.
Our departure time from the Canaries was approaching so we planned our departure to Santa Cruz de La Palma. A break came in the windy weather and we were away into a slight 30kts headwind where we motor sailed until clear - again Amanda was below when suddenly no wind and sail activity was required on deck. We turned to La Palma, set one reef in and the full No 3 - 15kts at 60 off the wind and we were touching 8kts. We saw that the angle we were sailing was similar to the angle we needed to go from La Palma to Santa Maria ( Azores ) and noted same. The local Yacht Club safety boat was out as we approached escorting a Laser - he saw us and dumped the Laser to join us for a chat - I guess we did look impressive with now full sails out and a good turn of speed.
Santa Cruz La Palma is a brand new marina and empty ( ok 250 berth and 6 boats in ) its unfinished so no fuel dock and the facilities are all in portacabins but as they are unused they are immaculate. BUT - the construction work continues with mence mixers diggers, jack hammers etc etc. Now that's the day, at night the Olsen ferry secures to the other side of the marina mole and the noise is like the 'Clangers' set to tortured steel as well as the ro ro cargo boats working cargo all night. The berths are expensive at €20 ish per night and have constant surge so the boat jolts and jerks most of the time, so I wont be rushing back there. However again we took a hire car and La Palma, in our view, was the most beautiful Island with far less tourists to pollute the place and more Spanglish required to get by.
Empty marina Santa Cruz La Palma
We went up to the observatories which are above the cloud line and the air was reputed to be much more pure - it is and it was a serious wow moment to be there. The Island was probably the first I would consider moving to given an option but not good for sailing.
We stored up and studied the weather predictions for our trip to the Azores. The pattern settled down and would give us NE winds of no more than 20kts with possible Northerlies setting in if we dawdled, so with Santa Maria Azores as our target we departed for what turned out to be a rough ride.
To be continued....
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