Friday, October 26, 2012

Out of the water in the Canaries

So with no other option Magnum was lifted out of the water to investigate further.  No-one likes to see their home hanging in a sling.

Magnum up and out

Magnum does not like being that far from the water
Once up in the sling she is moved across the boat yard still on the lift to get a good wash off.

Being jet washed
She was then carefully manoeuvred onto a cradle which sat on an electric trolley which was then remotely moved across the boat yard
On the move
The boatyard would now be our home until we could resolve the problem - the boatyard staff were all great but living in a dusty, dirty and hot building site is never going to be fun!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lanzarote - Can we leave now

Once our visitors had headed home we were keen to get moving, we had a couple of days getting the boat ready to leave and making sure we were up to date with washing and cleaning.  We found time to watch the Korean Grand Prix in the pub which was a treat as we have only watched one this year.  The marina was also close enough to walk to Puerto Carmen which is the typical Brit abroad holiday resort lined with bars and restaurants.  The beach is nice with golden sand and beautiful clear water so we enjoyed a swim, it is not that easy to get out for a swim at the marina as the local access to the beach is rocky.

On the morning we were ready to leave Amanda decided to get up early and have a quick run, unfortunately that saw her flat on her face with a cut, gravel ridden hand and shoulder, so our departure has to be delayed whilst Mark played nurse.  

The next day came and we decided on a short sail to Isla de Lobos an island between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, we left the harbour to 15-20 knots on nose (westerly forecasted which would not have been on nose) within 15 minutes the winds were building, by 6 miles out we had 30 knots on the nose with rain heading our way! 

Looking back at a grey Puerto Calero 
Looking forward to an even greyer Fuerterventura
With the wind in this direction and no sign of it easing we would not have been able to anchor at the island and the harbour at Fuerteventura was over 40 miles away, Amanda was struggling to move around the boat with her cuts and bruises so we turned around and surfed the waves back to the marina with the rain chasing and occasionally catching us.

Mark waiting for the rain in his summer wet weather gear - his pants!

Leaving the marina in the sunshine

Blue skies over Lanzarote

Ignore the dates on these photos someone has been playing around with the camera!

Lanzarote - Still being a tourist

Whilst mum and dad were still in Lanzarote we were still on the tourist trail, next stop Cueva de los Verdes  - the green caves although they are far from green and is actually a series of tunnels and caves produce from the lava flow when the volcano erupted which made them particularly interesting at they where not the usual caves formed by water.

Looking into the tunnel

Mark walking through lava tunnel
We also visited Arrecife which is the capital of Lanzarote, it has a small pretty harbour along with a commercial dock in which there were 2 cruise ships on the day we visited.  The walk around the port is quite pretty and gave Mark & I the opportunity to check out the anchoring options although unlikely that we will ever pass this way again.

Small harbour at Arrecife

The castle at Arrecife with 2 intrepid explores 
The next day we had a visit out to the Volcano visitor’s centre, just outside the Timanfaya national park which was full of information which would be useful to support the coach trip we had taken a few days earlier and the best bit was it was free!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Exploring Lanzarote

Amanda’s mum and dad had kindly booked a holiday to Lanzarote to see us and as always with visitors we were treated to the tourist experience.  Day 1 we all pack in the car (Vikki, Amanda and Mum cosy in the back) and headed out to Timanfaya and join the cue of hire car to enter the park.  When you actually headed into the park you left you car and jumped onto a coach for it to take you around the remains of the lava film which stretch for well over 100km.  The volcano in Lanzarote erupted from 1730 for 6 years and is very evident throughout the island. The lava fields stretch as far as you could see and there were various spectacular craters.

Volcanic landscape

The tour took around an hour and then we drove out Salinas and onto Playa Blanca and marina Rubicon for a browse around the tourist shops.

That night we headed out for a scrumptious Mexican in the marina at Las Magaritas, delicious and even better for Mark & I as Vikki treat us.  The food was great and the owner is a very nice and has lots of stories to share.

Look at our fancy cocktails

All dressed up for our night out

Day 2 we followed the trail of Cesar Manrique who is a famous Lanzarote artist, first stop was a random piece of artwork and a local crafts centre.

Odd monument designed by Manrique in honour of the farmers of Lanzarote

Odd Inca looking statues (replicas) found in Canaries
Then off a long the coast to Famara, stunning surf beach shame no time for a swim.

Famara surf beach

Then up to the view point which over looks Graciosa where we had a great view of the anchorage where we had spent the previous week.

Graciosa from Lanzarote
Mum, dad, Mark & Amanda overlooking Graciosa
This was not the end of the day and the next stop was the Cactus garden  opened by Manrique, never knew there were so many cactus and actually some were very pretty and it was a green oasis on an island that can seem like  very desolate,

These are all cactus!

Amanda & Dad in doorway to windmill overlooking gardens

Mark blending in with the green

What a pretty cactus

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lovely sail to Lanzarote

We left Graciosa with a light north easterly breeze and  motored along Estrecho del Rio which is the channel between Graciosa and Lanzarote, as we rounded the north west point out came the sails.  We had a force 3 from north east so just enough to keep us moving but at a pretty slow 3 knots. Vikki took control.

Or was this more like it!

Lanzarote’s volcanic landscape is quite spectacular from the sea and is dotted with whitewash developments along the coastline.

As the hours passed the wind increased to a force 6 we flew along on a relatively flat sea, we hardly touched the sails which was good for Mark since Vikki read her book and Amanda went for a lie down!  Around 35 miles we passed by Playa Carmen which was a sprawl of hotels and apartments along the coast although it still looked quite attractive.

Within a mile or so we arrived at Puerto Calero.

Monday, October 15, 2012

At anchor in Isla Graciosa

Isla Graciosa is an island just north of Lanzarote, it is 6.5km long and 3km wide with not much more than a small village and a marina. It is a perfect place to anchor to shelter from the north easterly winds, with a beautiful sandy beach and lots of space.  On arrival there were 18 other boats in the anchorage and we easily found space and settled in. It was stunning locations looking up at the cliffs on the north coast of Lanzarote and the mountains of the west coast in the distance.

The mountains of Lanzarote
The beach at Graciosa
The beach was about 45 minutes walk from the village, all along the almost deserted beach. There are ferries running around every 30 minutes from the mainland so the main village does get reasonable busy with tourist but you still feel like you are out on a limb, perfect.

Mark overlooking marina at Graciosa
After a couple of days we were joined with Vikki for a week, life continued at our leisurely pace with swimming/snorkelling and exploring the island.

Vikki arriving
Amanda & Vikki off to find some fish
Looking back on the busy anchorage whilst exploring the island
Isla de Montana Clare, uninhabited north of Graciosa 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Madeira to Canaries - Atlantic squalls and rainbows

We set off from Quinta Do Lorde with the sun shining and 15-20 knots, showers closed in over Madeira and as we looked back on the marina a rainbow appeared

Rainbow of east of Madeira

Rainbow over Funchal
Our initial course was to take us close to the Desertas islands (part of the Madeira archipelago) which look nice from a distance but not so nice as we approached, the depth dropped off and the waves became steeper and steeper, the wind was gusting well over 20 knots and we were getting bashed around.

Wow the swell was big
By mid afternoon we were getting hit by Atlantic squalls with over 30 knots of wind, 3 reefs in the sails and heavy rain, it was not the smoothest of crossings.

Here comes the rain

Hiding from the rain
This continued for most of the afternoon and we took shelter as much as we could but by nightfall we were both shattered. The next day brought steadier winds with 15-20 north easterlies, the sea was calming and we were able to set the sails and take a bit of time to relax.  During the night into the morning as we got closer to the Canaries we saw the only 2 boats of the journey.  Mark had been on watch most of the night and finally collapsed into bed on the final few hours approach – the photo below was taken by Amanda trying not to leave the cockpit whilst Mark slept.

Lanzarote in the distance
300 miles and glad to anchor off Graciosa, a small island north of Lanzarote.

Graciosa and our safe anchorage

Madeira – Never a moments rest

We dropped the car off at the airport and caught the bus into Funchal (capital of Madeira) and Mark was suddenly amazed by the number of people and oh shops, yep that is what you get in a town.  The town is quite old and decorative in places, the marina/town quay was busy mainly with local boats and we were pleased we decided to go in the marina at the east end of the island as Funchal was not very secure and it would have been like living in a goldfish bowl.

The next 2 days were busy with completing our Padi Open Water Dive course, we had taken the pool and theory elements of the course in the UK and needed to complete the sea dives within 12 months and finally we had both time and somewhere secure to leave Magnum.  We had contacted the dive school before arriving and with Madeira being such a small island it was ideal as they were able to transport us to and from the marina.  is a Portuguese dive school and although they did not all speak perfect English they were more than able to instruct us to complete our course and we were thankful that the wind held off just enough, on the 2nd day there was much amusement as Amanda was thrown around by the waves getting in and out of the water but luckily without injury.  Unfortunately no photos!

The remainder of this week was spent dodging the rain, some of which was torrential.  Quinta Do Lorde marina provided adequate protection from the unexpected southerly winds that blew for days.  Although the marina was out on a limb there were boats of every nationality doing the same journey as us so it was nice to meet other cruisers.  The staff at the marina where exceptionally helpful, there were regular buses that ran into Funchal and the marina ran a free mini bus twice a day to the local supermarket.  The marina is odd in that the development around is still being built so rather than move people in phases it is completely empty but almost looks complete.

Church at Quinta do Lorde

The water run off through Quinta Do Lorde and a very muddy sea from all the rain

Overlooking Quinta Do Lorde

We had one final visit to Funchal, on the bus journey you wonder how the buses get up and down the hills and it is a good opportunity to see more of the island.  The old town of Funchal is worth a visit although you need to avoid the many restaurants trying to tempt you in for lunch but the small streets are particularly interesting with their decorative doors.

Shame it was another rainy day in Funcal, not so pleasant without an umbrella but the  teashop -  Loja do Cha Tea  with over 100 teas is worth a visit if you want to warm up.

Rainy day over Funchal harbour