Tuesday, November 29, 2016

La Gomera - Part 1

We left Santa Cruz in the dark to ensure we made it to San Sebastian, the capital of La Gomera before the sun went down. There was only light winds so we had a gentle motor down the side of Tenerife and rounded the south of the island before crossing the channel to La Gomera. 

Punta Roja, South of Tenerife
Calm conditions on the way to La Gomera

South of Tenerife
As we crossed the channel, pilot whales surrounded us and we slowed down and enjoyed them for about 15 minutes - what a treat!?

Pilot Whales surround us
Approaching San Sebastian

Askari tucked up in San Sebastian Marina
Double Rainbow in La Gomera

Main Street in San Sebastian
We met up with OCC friends John & Ellie from Serenity; the showed us around town and introduced us to the best internet connection.... So we took our FREDs - 'fricken ridiculous electronic devices' out for a drink....

Drinking with FREDs
We attended a fashion show in front of the church, however we had to wait for mass to finish and the church doors to be locked up before the show could start. The highlight was the little kids who were just too cute. We have loved the locals here, they are very friendly and have loads of events and a real sense of community.

Kids melted our hearts

John and Ellie were concerned about an issue with their keel so Andrew dived on their boat for a closer inspection and to take photos. After sending the pictures off they got a clean bill of health - phew! Having got the kit out we both took the opportunity to clean Askari.

Diving in La Gomera

Andrew cleaning the prop too
We took a bus and went for a walk in the National Park - the views were amazing and we have since hired a car to drive all around the island.

Looking at San Sebastian with Tenerife in the back ground

Amazing views

Cloud forest

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Santa Cruz Part 2

We spent a few more days in Tenerife after I got back from the UK. The plan was to head to the Cape Verdes once the provisioning was completed and we got back a hard drive that we had managed to corrupt..... another story! Andrew hired the 'yellow peril' to pick me up from the airport and we did and great day of touring on Mount Tiede and a lovely walk in the pine forest on the slopes.

Another crazy hire car

Mount Tiede
Lunar landscape

Driving above the clouds
Pine forest walk
We waved good bye to the 'name theives' - Sakari -  Susie and John from New Zealand heading to Barbados; unfortunately we slept in whilst Gillian, Neil and Jane on Silver Lining slipped out the next day on the Odyssey Rally. We are in touch with them all out on the ocean and are wishing them safe sailing.

Bye bye Sakari
While we had the car we did another provisioning trip - Andrew is now getting quite used to supermarkets (having not been in one for 5 years before we left).
More provisioning....
 We celebrated our wedding anniversary and got dressed up and went out for a fancy dinner.

GnT for our fifth wedding anniversary

Happy in the Gin Bar
We spent our final day with the hire car exploring the north east coast and found the lovely relaxing town of San Andres a real treat and then walked along the coastline in the gorgeous village of Igueste San Andres. We ended the day with sun downers watching the surfers at a fabulous beach bar on the black sand beach at Las Gaviotas.
Las Teresitas Beach - very local a real treat

North East Coast 

Looking down at Las Teresitas

Igueste San Andres

Church at Igueste San Andres

Great Surf Bar at Las Gaviotas

Stunning Black Beach at Las Gaviotas
Our last two days in Tenerife Andrew did all the boat checks while I did the final steps of provisioning - this involved the fantastic 'Our Lady of Africa' Market - probably the best market I have ever been to; with every type of herb and spice, amazing vegetables that are direct from the farms plus great meat and then a fish market which includes champagne and oyster bars (catering for the cruise ship customer too!)

Mercado Nuestra SeƱora de Africa

Fish Market - really quite posh
The weather when we first arrived in Santa Cruz was a bit rainy but our final few days were just beautiful and the town came to life and then started getting ready for Christmas - we really enjoyed our time here.
Sun came out in Santa Cruz
Lovely streets of Santa Cruz
The Post Office in Santa Cruz
Christmas Lights came on!
We had planned to depart for Cape Verdes on 23rd November however there was no wind and the forecast was not set to improve so instead we decided to head to La Gomera......

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Part 1

We said goodbye to Lanzarote and slipped out of Rubicon mid morning into a calm sea and gentle winds, then as we rounded the south side of the island the wind picked up and we set our sails for a fabulous downwind sail overnight to Santa Cruz de Tenerife - the capital of the island. We had 20-25 knots from the North East which was perfect for Askari to stride out at 8 knots average with a little help from the current.

Perfect Sailing

We made such good progress we spent much of the trip deliberating when we should start to slow down, however our experience is that the wind eases overnight to we pressed on. It didn't ease and we arrived two hours before it got light; at 15 miles off we tried desperately to slow down but even with the smallest bit of jib we were still doing 3.5knots. We coasted into the lee of the island and the wind finally eased and we drifted for the final hour before making our approach to the harbour.

The access to the marina is via a busy port, however permission to enter was quickly granted and a cheerful marina guy radioed to say we would meet us and show us to our berth. After we attempted to get in the first berth that was too far small we managed to get tucked in - again small but we were in! The marina was very busy with the Odyssey Rally due to depart in a week so we were lucky to get a spot. We had a quick nap and then went out for lunch in the old part of town.

Lovely old part of Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is actually a charming city, with wide tree lined streets, many art deco buildings and most importantly for Carolyn a huge El Corte Ingles!! Yay!!
8 floors of everything fabulous
A few treats and a sodastream cannister
I have to admit to being a bubbly water obsessessive and the only place in Spain that does sodastream canisters is El Corte - we also hoped they would help us with our meat and provisioning for our Atlantic crossing. So we went in to enquire; the meat section manager then came to help and then a translator - all very excited to help us with our vacuum packing, freezing and delivery. The service was just excellent. I wrote a list and dropped it in on the Friday afternoon, they packed it all and froze it down over the weekend and delivered it with all our other shopping on Monday morning. Bonus we got a voucher for champagne for 60 euros - even more fabulous!

Huge bill but big smiles at El Corte

Christmas is looking good
So provisioning stage 1 sorted, we headed to the bus station on Sunday and took the bus to the Anaga region for some hiking - we were held up when the bus got jammed in a street by parked cars so had to wait for the police to tow it off out the way.

Bus in a jam!

Amazing cloud forest

Incredible Valley walks

Valley of Los Batanes - historic flax industry

Sun and rain

Happy on top

The following week we had another warranty visit from Oyster - hopefully our final one. We had this planned for a while as we had some small gel imperfections we noted from our handover, so they sent out a guy from the hull moulders to sort this out. He also fixed up our scratch from Arecife. While this was all happening, I left Andrew to supervise and nipped off to the UK to surprise my Dad on his 70th birthday.

Happy Birthday Dad - a very emotional time