Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Acceleration zones

At last! It felt like vaccation being away from Las Palmas! We went south, planning a few stops there before going to Gomera and Hierro.

Fist stop was Pascito Blanco. A sleepy wealthy neighbourhood with a lot of "hibernated" germans. The most common way of transportation is the golf car (the course just a couple of minutes away) and the most popular activity´s walking the dog. We took the bus to Maspalomas, the famous/infamous playa. It´s a small piece of the Sahara desert, blown here by the wind. The dunes was so hot you got burnt standing barefoot. And of course the roumors was true, it´s a gay paradise. But how they manage without getting burnt I don´t know. Peek a bu!

Next up, Puerto Mogán. This was almost a spa experience since they got HOT water in the showers. Of course you have to pay for it! For us, 50 ft with the bowsprit, we payed 30€ and then water end electricity on top of that. We anchored at first,  had a suspicious about it being expensive but after a couple of hours of the roly poly we gave up and sought shelter in the marina. It´s a really touristy place but  in a small scale. No huge hotels and just two story buildings. The marina´s safe and lively and there´s a beach nearby.

Off to Teneriffe! Finally leaving the island. But then, in the middle if the acceleration zone the winch broke. It might have been 35 knots and the waves was breaking. Nothing else to do than to turn back so we´d could use the other winch! We got a tip that Arguinguin was an ok anchorage. Repaired the winch, went in to see the village and in the meantime deciding a new destination. In the afternoon we saw a rescue helicopter going out. The next morning a boat was towed into the marina by a rescueboat, the mast broken but Hampus regognized the boat from Las Palmas. (When we got back in Las Palmas we got to know it was Mark who we´d met before.) He´d been out the same day in the same accelaration zone. Got dismasted, trying to engine and got a rope in the propeller. Since they couldn´t establish a working radio contact and get the right coordinates a helicopter was sent out and he and his dog had to abondon the ship and get rescued by air. Now his adventure´s taking another course, selling his boat at a bargain price (Best price ever, he probably spent the same amount just on the windvane) and flying to Australia.

New plan. We figured since we had to turn back north in a week so maybe it´s just stupid and a waste of time to have to go back and forth through the acceleration zones. The new plan was to go back Las Palmas, fix the genua sail that got a few rips in UV-cover in the acceleration zone and then continue to Graciosa which got the best angle to Madeira. The acceracion zone back here took forever. We had to tack and eventually we gave up and engined close to the coast. The trip that took us 5 hours the other dirrection now took us  over 12 hours!

Still we had a few days of "summer vaccation". Swimming, lying on the sun deck with sea turtles paddling around us and Las Palmas fainted to a bleak memory...

This very moment it´s very alive though and we ´re waiting for the next oppertunity to get the hell out of here!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Leaving Las Palmas

At last! 

We stayed here about three weeks and eventually it became pretty boring. Not the people and the parties but the feeling of being locked in. It´s a huge marina, rather unpersonal and every pontoon has it´s own gate with seperate keys. It took us about 20 minutes to walk to the harbour office. So you better find yourself a nice pontoon with great neighbours just as we did. The other way is of course to use the dinghy to visit friends, going to the marina office and minimarket. Don´t think we used the dinghy on the whole trip as much as we´ve done inside this marina.

The marina is cheap, here´s wifi and water and electicity is included. It´s a good place if you need chandlerys or repairs done. Theres a great beach on the other side of town and Vegueta, the old town, is really cosy. Think we just overstayed our welcome.

Las Palmas is together with Santa Cruz (in Tenerife) the capital of the Canary Islands. Its the biggest city with a population of about 400.000 inhabitants. When we came here it was carnival and great fun! I´ve never seen so many dragqueens in one spot. They all looked magnificent, with hats, hairdoes and of course HIGH heels. In the street I suddenly, in all the fuss and commotion, found myself a drink holder to one darling while he/she bettered his/hers make up. Everyone dressed up, old and young. They say after Rio, Las palmas is most famous for the carnival.

Fuerte Ventura

The island is the second biggest of the Canary islands. It´s got the longest beaches of all, and I guess this, combined with the tradewinds and atlantic waves, is the reason why it´s a Mecka for surfers. Windsurfers, wavesurfers and kitesurfers and yes, a one or two sailors too. Wish I had known this when I was younger: THIS is where all the tanned, cool dudes hang out! We took surfing lesson but realised it´s easier to look like a surfer than to actually be one.

Especially Corralejo in the north has a nice goove, it´s a small town but got everything you need (not a chandlery though but a dozen hardware stores. You can even get the 3 kilo camping gaz here). Here´s tourists, but mainly surfers so it´s got a different feel to it compared to  the other "touristy places".  There is 3-4 guest berths, but the staff is friendly and will do it´s best to find you a space.  Actually there´s really a whole guest pontoon but it´s mostly filled up by live-aboards that enjoy the layed back beachlife here. Wouldn´t recommend entering when there´s swell from north east. Oh, and when  the Fred Olsen ferry is in, you got wifi for an hour or so if you got a good antenna.

My sister and her daughter came visiting here and we had a great time. They´re both half mermaids so it was good to have company when swimming for once!  There are golden beaches running from the city centre and the whole way going south. "Vamos a la playa"!

We spent one night at anchor at Lobos, the little island right outside Corralejo. It was a roly night but the island was well worth a visit. Once it was a lot of seals out here. The natives used to call them seawolves and in spanish wolf is "lobos" and that´s how the island got its name.

Gran Tarajal has a more spanish feel to it. Not that great beaches but more a genuine spanish town. Since Agadir we´ve gotten allergic to search in the marinas so we just stayed one night and then went on to Morro Jable.

Morro Jable might as well have been a german village. German menues, german tourists but still a nice "german" resort. The marina is ok and we saw rays in the basin that must have been 2 meters between the wings! The beach was good fun, big waves rolling in to play in. It´s a long sandy beach and it gets mory touristy the further you go from the marina and the sunbathers gets nuder...