Leaving windy San Sebastian took some time, first a few walks to the marian office and back, eventually with the proper receipt from Gran Canaria where we had payed the lighthouse dues for one month, the minimum, even if only a day in the islands. Now San Sebastian tried again to charge us the 50 plus Euros, but this was soon sorted out.
Then on to the fuel dock with careful maneuvering in the narrow marina and the gusty wind. Fuel is much cheaper in the canaries than elsewhere in Europe, Diesel goes for 89 cents right now. Strangely, you cannot just fill your tanks and pay whatever odd amount this may result in, no, you have to tell them for how many Euros you want to take fuel. Guessed and said 300, but it wasn't enough, was still far from full. So, asked for another 30 Euros. All done the nice man at the dock wrote the bill and walked of to process the credit card. When I looked at the bill it was €300.30! Told the man and took him a while to understand and then he couldn't believe I told him, not in the Canaries where everybody tries to take any little advantage or try to add something to a bill assuming the foreigners wouldn't notice, and there is usually no repeat business anyway. So this was completely outside the normal behavior and the good man now declared me the best friend. Then the credit card machine didn't work and so the two of us walked around the marina to the marina office one more time. From him I learned that this much wind even annoyed the local folks, and that it was not normal to just blow like that for now over a month.
We just unfurled a little bit of the genoa and surfed off towards the south of the island, maybe 3 miles and it went to zero wind as expected and stood that way all the way to Vueltas, the old fishing village at the Valle Gran Rey. Just a few miles further one could see the white crests, where the wind was coming around the other side of the island.
But we anchored in same place as in 2003 and 2004, a scenic anchorage under a huge cliff, half a mile from the village. A peaceful and quiet anchorage we thought. But around midnight salsa music exploded inside the boat, as if we had turned our stereo to the maximum volume. Incredible, the band was about 1 kilometer away and it sounded like they were playing inside our boat.
Not much sleep and from what we learned at the tourist office, two more nights like that. So we decided to move three miles south to a bay with the ruins of an old cannery. No music here, but certainly more swell, so that we slept just a bit better than the night before, but decided to move back to Valle Gran Rey. And now it was actually ok, as the band that played on the last night had decent rock music at a fraction of the volume. One could hear it, but it wasn't painful.
Our plan had been to sail to Hierro, before departing for the Azores, but it turned out we may have problems fitting into the harbor at Restinga and there was no way to get a rental car there, when our main purpose for the visit was to explore the island. So we thought about going to La Palma, where we had already been twice. It is indeed worth more visits, as it is a really beautiful island, and this time we would have sailed to the west side to Tazacorte, rather than the main town of Santa Cruz. From there it would also be 45 miles shorter to the Azores.
But then, looking at forecasts we noticed the opportunity to leave soon, with seemingly decent wind all the way, rather than too much wind at the beginning and none towards the end. And so we decide to leave on Saturday, July 23 directly from Valle Gran Rey. The course would lead us to the south tip of La Plama and then slowly away from the island on a Northwesterly heading. A total of 968 miles to the westernmost island of the Azores - Flores.