Mittwoch, 26. Juni 2013
By the time we were ready to leave Gomera for La Palma, we had entered a phase of stronger trade winds and so we had a boisterous ride through the acceleration zone north of Gomera. Add to this that we forgot to fully close the hatch in the forward bathroom, which then received some serious salt water shower. Still, we had a good, if rough sail to Santa Cruz de La Palma. We really like the little town and the fact that you just have to step of the boat to be in its middle. For Taniwani this was the fourth visit and it doesn't get boring. Together with our friends from Endelig we again enjoyed touring the island, up to its top at almost 2500 meters, where the clear air and quiet atmosphere provide for a very special way of relaxation. In the south, the relatively new volcanos remind one that the island is still volcanically rather active. The latest eruptions occurred less than fifty years ago and enlarged the southern tip, but luckily spared the lighthouse and the salt pans.
La Palma was the last island in the Canaries and we planned to leave from there for the Azores. After a week in La Palma there was still no easing of the strong trades in sight and so we eventually left prepared to sail modestly close hauled in 25 knots of wind and 3 meter waves for the first two days. Well, we thought we were prepared, but this time none of us checked the main hatch in the saloon and when the first massive wave travelled over the deck, it pushed it open and delivered a huge waterfall down into the cabin. A shocking sight, water wobbling around on the saloon table, the floor and all the upholstery. Not a good start. Nevertheless we had a swift trip and it just took us 3 1/2 days to Santa Maria, averaging about 180 miles a day.
Sonntag, 16. Juni 2013
As expected, the wind around Tenerife varied from almost calm to quite a fierce blow. Yet, the two boats had a nice Sunday trip, the 75 miles around Tenerife and across to the west of Gomera.
And in the more quiet zones we were even able to sail close by a relaxed group of pilot whales. The anchorage at the west side of Gomera lies below towering cliffs and is quite calm in the prevailing NE-trades. It is one of our favorite anchorages and so we decide to skip the main town of San Sebastian with its marina and rather rent a car in the little fishing town near the anchorage. The impressive and beautiful Valle Gran Rey which ends right at our anchorage, is probably the most impressive sight on this island. There are fantastic views down and across, from the street that winds up the steep wall on the north side of the valley. On Gomera, the north is green and very scenic with nice views onto Tenerife with its majestic volcano. The main town of San Sebastian is exactly opposite our anchorage, and as usual the place was quite windy. We toured back via the dry south including a visit to the little harbor of Santiago where we had a nice meal before returning back to our boats. The plan for the next day was to move on to La Palma.
Donnerstag, 13. Juni 2013
With the boom back on, we left Puerto Calero in the afternoon and had a smooth overnight sail to Santa Cruz de la Tenerife, a place we haven't been to since the start of our world tour in 2004. Not much seemed to have changed in the harbor, except for a new marina building, which by now looks like it has always been there. The harbor itself is as sleepy as always, and it seems just the ferries and the occasional cruise ship which dock in the next basin up north. But the town, which we always liked, had improved and now features a nice central pedestrian zone.
Our friends had already started exploring the island by car when we got in in the late morning. So we took off for another island tour the following day. First along the north coast to the rather pleasant little town of Garachico, which once was the major port on the island, until a volcanic eruption filled most of the natural harbor basin with lava. A new harbor has recently been built to the east and the new marina is just becoming operational. It's quite a large basin, that contains a little fishing basin, the marina and a ro-ro terminal for a ferry that is supposed to go to Tazacorte on La Palma. Right now, the still narrow and fast shoaling entrance would not allow any such ferry to make it into the harbor. So, that's ll future. But yachts are welcome and in decent weather the entrance should be fine.
After exploring the old town center of Garachico, we moved on west and south towards the large caldera that surrounds the mighty Teide at an altitude of about 2000m. From in there the big cone goes up another 1700 meters. It si possible to take a cable car up to almost the top and a limited number of pre-registered people is allowed to hike up to the summit from there. We skipped all this and just enjoyed the views from the mezzanine level, which is still way above the clouds.
The next day we started early for a long long 75 mile day cruise, first down the east coast of Tenerife, then along the south and across to the western side of Gomera, where we anchored in our favorite anchorage at Valle Gran Rey.
Fixing our boom took some more time, than initially anticipated. The main reason for delay was, that the expert at the yard in Puerto Calero, not only wanted to just weld the cracks around the boom-vang attachment, but thought the material around the whole area has weakened over time, and that a proper re-enforcement would be the only way to do it right. Well, except from getting a new boom extrusion, but that would have taken until mid August to get shipped from Sweden. Bending the re-enforcement plates to properly follow the rounding of the boom, required a hydraulic press that could do the delicate multi-step bending process. While the shop at the shipyard is rather well equipped with machinery, it doesn't feature such a press. The only one on the island is in a large shop in Arrecife, a shop that was recently equipped with the latest machinery, after getting the order to build the new radar dome on Lanzarote's highest summit. At the time of our arrival, that press was rather busy punching out hundreds of similar parts for the local electricity company, this way introducing the first 3 day delay. But then, when all the parts were done, they found that they had the wrong measures and started all over again. So, in the end we had to spend exactly two weeks in Lanzarote.
This wasn't really bad though, maybe except for being in the most expensive marina in the islands, as we kept discovering more and more new beautiful sites on this island. Manrique has left his traces everywhere on the island and his good puristic style, that is so pleasing to the eye, seems to have caught on to the whole island. With its clean and minimalistic appearance, that island stands out from the rest.
After exploring the vicinity of Puerto Calero, walking over to Puerto Carmen, and on another day taking the dinghy there, we again rented a car to check out some of the popular sites that we hadn't yet seen during our past three visits. We found the lava caves, again different to those we had seen in other parts of the world, especially due to the well thought out lighting. Then there is a wonderful old fort containing an impressive museum of modern art, and another lava cave with an underground lake reflecting the outside world. Via a beautiful outdoor poll, this is connected to a vast underground auditorium in a large lava cave.
So, in the end we were not too unhappy to be forced into a longer stay at this fascinating island. Meanwhile our friends Henry and Kikki on Enderlig had sailed on to inspect Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria. We know Gran Canaria, but haven't been to Fuerteventura, so that will maybe be on another trip. On the day we got our boom back, we took off through the night, to join our friends again in Santa Cruz de la Tenerife.