19. January 2013 · 3 comments · Categories: Posts

Yes, inertia has been broken.

We are leaving? No!


After getting a disappointing weather forecast for our trip to the Cape Verde Islands we all felt restless and decided that moving to another port of call was in order.

We had planned on leaving Thursday night, but there was no wind, so we left offensively early on Friday morning.

I say ‘offensively’ because I am a lazy dog, that does not like to get moving before day light.  But the humans got me up at 5am in the morning and had me doing the last of my ‘toiletries’ before the sun came up.

They wanted to get an early start and escape paying for another night in the port.  Cheap skates!


It was rather ‘creepy’ heading out in the dark at first.  Fuerteventura is not very populated and the coastline around Gran Tarajal is very dark.  With no moon, there was no divide between the black sea and the volcanic cliffs.  The warm glow of the chart plotter was the only reassurance that we were on a safe route.

A gentle wind was blowing off the land, so we fumbled in the dark and raised the sails, heading off west, away from the lightening horizon to the east.


The morning sun brought warmth and the nights dampness started to dry off the boat.  Common around the island, the wind died in the late morning.  It was time to bask in the warmth and catch an early siesta as the boat waddled at a slow 2-3 knots.  There was no way that we would reach our destination before night fall, so there was no reason to waste fuel to move any faster.


I am not falling asleep. I am just resting my eyes.


By early afternoon the winds promptly picked up again.  This new wind was the cool damp air of the Atlantic rushing into the island.  As it built the temperature started to drop.  I was fine, but the humans found they needed to put on trousers and fleeces.

We passed by barren volcanic coast line with beaches that became more golden and sandy.  Small pods of dolphins visited the boat, but did not stay and play around the bow.  By early evening we reached the southern tip and the largest tourist section of Fuerteventura.

Tourism is Fuerteventura’s main industry, and they have been hit hard by the recession.  The island is not really what I would class as ‘scenic’ but if guaranteed sun, water sports or relaxing for a weeks break in a nice hotel is what you are after, it fits the bill for most.

We said goodbye to Fuerteventura and headed out into the channel for Gran Canaria.  We were promptly hit by strong head winds, that were predicted to start the following day.  We reefed (shortened) the main sail to reduce the weather helm (to make steering easier) and headed out into it.  Despite being very heavy, loaded with extra water, fuel and Spanish wines, we were able to make good progress and exceeded 8 knots in the gusts.  Thankfully the sea had not had a chance to build and the waves were small enough that we had a relatively smooth and dry run.


I do my best to help with the helming (steering the boat).


The sun started to set just as the outline of Gran Canaria came into view.

A long way to go yet as the sun goes down.


The strong winds meant a fast passage and the twinkling lights all the way up the mountains became closer and closer.  By 9pm we were only a couple of miles off the port of Las Palmas, our intended destination.  Normally we do not like to make ‘land fall’ at a new place in the dark.  The reasons for this are logical.  First, judging distances at night is hard.  Second, unlit sea walls or other objects can be impossible to see until you are right on top of them.  New extensions or additions are not always on the charts.  Thirdly, it is difficult to pick out navigational and other ships lights against the shorelines lighting.


All of these applied to the approach to Las Palmas.  It is a very busy port with commercial shipping queueing (lining up) outside, coming out and pilot boats zooming around amoung it all.  Thankfully the entrance and throughways are hugh and well marked.  Both the approach to the Marina and the anchorage beside it are well lit too.  We got in and anchored at just after 10pm.


Tuckered out, we had a lie in until late this morning and missed getting sorted and ashore it time for the shop closures a noon on a Saturday.  We will have to check them out on Monday.  The anchorage is well sheltered right in the heart of a hughley industrial port.  Despite it’s industrial nature the harbour is clean, well cared for and used by a variety of water sports enthusiasts.  Their is a town beach at the foot of the anchorage and you have access to all the facilities of the Marina including unlimited WiFi.


Commercial and pleasure boats sharing the harbour

Even big cruise ships come in here

You never run out of entertainment on anchor

Got to love the windsurfers, they have the best wipe outs.


Unfortunately it is not free.  The harbour authority now impose a minimum 41 euro ‘Lighthouse’ tax on all yachts over 12m visiting the harbour.  That covers you for one month.  Sounds like a hidden ‘luxury’ tax to me.  The Marina owns the anchorage, so they also try to collect a 2 euro a day fee.  Lots of people refuse to pay it, but if you do pay you get to use all the Marina’s facilities including the hot showers, WiFi and dock you dingy.  Note:  If you arrive after noon on Saturday they are closed, like everything else, until Monday morning.


Harbour beach with the city

The Marina is right beside the anchorage.

The Marina is hugh.  It is as big as Brighton, but has lots more supper yachts and has great commercial facilities to support it.  Every trade including a sail maker and 3, yes 3, chandlers.  Unfortunately, although the Marina itself is competitively cheap (14 euros a night for us), all the shops around it are overpriced, especially the restaurants and cafes.  But then that is what the tourists, who want to eat and drink with a view of the Marina, will pay.


Every size boat in here including supper yachts on the right


The winds really started to build during the day, so we did not get far.  New anchorage, so we like to keep an eye on the boat when the first time strong winds hit.  Hopefully we will get about town tomorrow, when the winds die, and fill you in.  Good thing, so far, is no one kicked me off the harbour beach.




  1. PPS _ Forgot to vote

    Mural 13 for me ‘The Stand Off’ thouh the Sea Bites Back pushed it close.

    Hope the winds get set fair for you soon.

    Keep em safe Quinny.

  2. Quinny, Harry said he doesn’t like getting up at 5am either

  3. still looking good!

    Weatgher here is atrocious – looks like you are getting ready for that first real big sail.

    Hope it goes well – keep em safe Quinny.

    PS – Hope you enjoyed that birthday matey – we are getting OLD!