On 30th November we lifted up our anchor and started our motor with direction the Lobos island. Arriving there, however, the sea was so restless and the swell so big, that anchoring there for the night did not seem a very good idea. So, we hoisted our sails and headed towards Puerto del Rosario, the capital of Fuerteventura, where we arrived early afternoon.
We anchored in a small bay, a small port within the harbor, which was very well sheltered. The land access was easy, as there was a stone pier for the sailing school and we could land our dinghy without too much trouble and avoid the nasty beach landings. Needless to say, I couldn’t be happier for that fact!
On 2nd December, we took a bus to the airport and rent a car, a new Nissan Micra to be exact. The mentioning of the brand is important, as my own car used to be an old Micra, a car that Jelle loathed but the new one turned out to be of his liking (maybe too much, if one considers the speedy driving on the windy roads!). We drove first on the north of the island and visited the Natural park of Corralejo, massive sand dunes overlooking the sea. Then, we took the off-road route towards North East and witnessed some massive waves, several meters high, smashing against rocks, all the way to El Cotillo. After we enjoyed an ice-cream and a stroll, we drove back to Puerto del Rosario, where our old friends- the Wandelaar had also anchored! We rowed to them and had a few drinks and lots of fun, chatting around. We spent the night at Libra, followed by a Greek dinner of spicy meatballs with rice.
The following day was filled with beautiful scenery, windy roads, and incredible views! First, we tried to visit a cheese farm, but there was no tour, so after taking a few photos, we continued towards Bentacuria. Bentancuria was the old capital of the Canary islands in 1404, and it still maintains the same grandeur of a capital. It is a small town, albeit full in flowers, traditional houses and stone-like roads. We tasted one the best cheesecakes we have ever eaten, and of course, we bought their traditional goat cheese. Our next stop was the Ajuy caves, formations of rocks from 70 millions years ago! We continued our drive towards the south, and the surroundings were just breathtaking! Mountains all around, green hills, palm trees, in some areas, whereas in other areas dessert-like volcanoes and cactuses complete the picture. Our las stop involved Costa Calma, a touristic resort but with a beautiful sandy beach, where we had no other choice but to enjoy! We finished our beautiful road trip with homecooked doradas, haloumi and salad!
The next few days were filled with working (for me), working on the boat (for Jelle), general chores (for both) and generally relaxing, swimming and enjoying the sun and fresh produce of Fuerteventura. The highlight was one night out at the bar “La Tierra” , where a local band played rock music and it was highly entertaining!
On the 9th December we started our motor and left our beloved Puerto del Rosario and headed towards Pozo Negro. We stayed two nights in this anchorage, and that was two nights too many, as the constant swell did not let us sleep very well, so on the 11th December we motored to Gran Tarajal, the 2nd biggest city in the island.
The anchorage proved to be good, as it provided shelter from the strong winds and despite the ground swell, Libra was not rocking violently and we could easily sleep and rest. Gran Tarajal is a quiet, peaceful town with almost no tourists. What strikes mostly out, are the wall paintings from locals which brighten up the otherwise grey and boring buildings and provide a cheerful and colorful ambience.
We tried some local specialties, octopus and dorada and did lots of grocery shopping and cooking. Beach landing with the dinghy was again not so successful for me, especially on the 14th December, when I tripped going out of the dinghy and fell in the water. Completely wet , I tried to get back on my feet, when Jelle accidentally hit me on the head with the paddle, causing a minor bump in my forehead. Needless to say, that was my last dinghy landing in that beach.
The next three days we had very strong winds, so we decided to stay on board for safety reasons , so we focused on cleaning, Spanish courses and caught up on our reading. On the afternoon of 17th December, we started up our motor, hoisted our sails and began our sailing trip towards Gran Canaria.
We started our trip precautious, with 2 reefs in our main sail. At first, we were sailing nicely with 6 knots speed , but soon enough the wind lessened and we removed one reef and continued our half/downwind course with 3-4 knots of speed. The sea was smooth and there were no boats around, but the wind died out so we changed our course to pick up more wind. Our plan worked and although we were only going with 3 knots of speed, we sailed smoothly downwind and had a beautiful sunset only to be followed by a clear night, brightened by so many stars! The wind picked up at some point again, and so did our speed and both Jelle and I saw dolphins during our shifts!
Early morning, around 6 I started our engine as the wind completely died out and we motored the last few miles and reached Las Palmas de Gran Canaria a little after 10 am. We threw our anchor outside the marina, in the busy anchorage, where we also saw Tutti, they were anchored there!
As the marina was terribly busy, we had to be subscribed to the waiting list and until we got a spot, we remained in the anchorage. This was by no ways bad news, as the anchorage is well sheltered and we could have access to the port facilities and enter the port with our dinghy.
The first days in Gran Canaria we barely left the port, as all our friends were here, including Karakter, Ben.nl and Wandelaar, which meant constant coffees, drinks, and eating, every day to a different boat. Due to true luck and probably because the universe thought I had practiced my Dutch more than enough, the neighbors of Wandelaar were a German and Greek couple in their MyWay boat! Peter and Eirini are great people and we had lots of fun!
On the 22nd December, we had a restful morning as we were trying to recover from the non-stop drinking the last days. At the afternoon, together with Karakter and Ben.nl we walked to the old town, Vegueta, where we enjoyed the beautifully decorated town and watched live music from a local all-man choir. We finished our nice night out with a visit at Motown, a live music bar!
On the 23rd it was Bart’s birthday and we celebrated all together at the beach, as Jelle and I brought coffee and Janekke had baked a delicious apple cake and brought other desserts as well. The night we had movie night with Karakter, as Jaap and Madelief (the kids) had not seen Home Alone before and Jelle and I thought it was our obligation to initiate them into this Christmas tradition.
24th December was not a nice day. We had very strong south winds, at some point our windmeter showed 40 knots! Although we were close to the port and well-protected, this was not the case for other boats. A two-mast catamaran crushed against at the stone pier and we watched in horror as it slowly sinked until only one mast was visible. Another boat drifted towards the stone pier as well, but the rescue boat was quick at their actions and they managed to salvage it and bring it to the port, not without trouble nonetheless.
At the afternoon the wind reduced considerably, and we could manage to row to the shore and enter the port to celebrate Christmas with the rest of our sea family. But more on that on our next post!
We finally entered the port on 29th December afternoon, after 40 days anchoring! Our personal record!!
Stay tuned as our Christmas special post is coming up soon!