March: The Birthday Month

Tenerife was a short stop, only spent a night at marina San Miguel and before the first light, around 4 o’clock in the morning we hoisted our sails and set course for Las Palmas. The trip was beautiful, we sailed upwind, but the sun was shining, the sea was almost flat and Libra glided through the blue waters, reaching often 7 and 7.5 knots of speed! We entered Las Palmas port by nightfall, around 7 in the afternoon, and after a small fight in the marina office regarding our reservation (they did not have a spot for us, despite having notifying them a month before), we threw anchor just outside the marina and we put our name in the waiting list.

The first of March set the mood for the rest of the month, which was celebrating, drinking, eating, dressing up and generally PARTYING! The first until the 4th of March we had many visitors in Libra, as one my best friends, Athina, is getting married and as her maid of honor, I was responsible for the most important thing of all; the bachelorette party! After endless messaging, calling and emailing, we managed to pull off a great bachelorette party, where Athina was brought to Las Palmas oblivious and almost blindfolded, only to be pleasantly surprised and have the time of her life here with some of her best friends by her side! But what happens in Las Palmas, stay in Las Palmas, so I cannot say more about our time here, but a few photos below can do the talking for me 😉

Following the bachelorette party, Jelle and I took some time to relax but also enjoy the carnival in Las Palmas, which consisted of great costumes, exciting parade, partying until the early morning hours and some impressive fireworks!!!

On the 11th March Jelle turned 33 (!) and we celebrated his birthday with lemon tart, coffee and our friends onboard. 3 days later I turned 31 and the coffee-tart with our friends tradition continued, with different people this time and cheesecake instead of lemon tart. On the afternoon we dressed up and treated ourselves in a fancy dinner at an Argentinian restaurant, as a birthday gift to ourselves. It sure felt great to taste some delicious meat and enjoy a nice Malbec again! Also, our parents were thoughtful enough to send us money for our birthday, which was well spent in our new gadget, a Boom Brake! Super excited with our new purchase, thank you mom, dad, Tom and Kitty!

On the 16th March, it was Han’s birthday (BenNL) and apart from the morning tradition (coffee-tart), we organized a BBQ on Libra, where BenNL with their visitors, plus Eirini, and Peter joined and we had the time of our life, joking around, tasting magnificent meats and emptying over 30 beers and 3 bottles of wine. The party mood continued as a good friend of mine, Thodoris, came to Las Palmas for a seminar and we met up at the afternoons for drinks and dinner and of course, the last night of carnival which was sealed with incredible fireworks!

We spent the next days of March doing chores, working, relaxing and also biking around, and we also discovered the other side of Las Canteras beach, which was very beautiful, with the waves smashing against the pier and colorful pictures decorating the otherwise dull walls. On the 22nd March we had yet another visit, this time from the de Leeuw family, good family friends from Jelle’s side, who were coincidentally in Gran Canaria for vacation but they also joined us in Libra for a “borreletje” and also went our for a dinner as a celebration for the youngest daughter’s birthday, Rosie. Lots of people were born in March!!! The same night, following dinner, we met with our friends in a local bar-restaurant with live music to say our goodbyes, as only we can; with lots of eating, drinking, dancing and fun!

Although we had a great time celebrating our last night in Las Palmas, the next day’s hangover was not the best start of the day and especially not the best begin of a sailing trip. Nonetheless, Jelle was feeling good and the weather window looked promising, so despite the best of me, around 4 in the afternoon we released our mooring lines and left marina Las Palmas. The sea was not welcoming, as the waves were high and the air cold. Although the prediction was half wind, we were almost sailing upwind, which was not the most pleasant trip considering the restless sea, the strong gusts and the often sea water showers, but we did good time and we reached Morro Jable, the south of Fuerteventura by nightfall. Despite the gusts reaching 25 knots at time, we managed to threw anchor just outside the marina and slept peacefully until the morning.

Next morning, around 9:30 and after breakfast we picked up our anchor and set course to La Graciosa, the smallest island of Canaries and the most eastern one. Sailing to La Graciosa was nothing compared to our sail towards Fuerteventura. The sun was shining, we were sailing downwind and we put in good use our new gadget, the Boom Brake, and we couldn’t be happier! Although it is an instrument not widely known, it is extremely useful, as it provides resistance in the lines, and makes jibing easier while avoiding any damage in the sails from accidental jibes. Moreover, it provides support to the boom, so the annoying cracking we often hear was completely gone, making downwind sailing a pure pleasure! We were quite fast again, until the early morning hours, when the wind died out and we had to start our motor. Until then though, we had one of the most relaxed and beautiful sailing trips in the Canaries, a warm sunny day, with Libra gracefully sliding over the almost flat sea and even our night sailing was great, with lights from the stars and later from the bright half moon and a few dolphins accompanying us to our trip.

We reached Caleta de Sebo, the only harbor in La Graciosa island at 4 o clock in the morning. We generally avoid entering ports at night, especially if it is the first time, but when you are sailing 100 miles it is hard to calculate your exact time of arrival! Everything went fine however, the entrance was straight forward and the conditions were super calm, so we quickly found an empty berth and tied Libra securely, opposite to our friends, the Karakter. Marija from the Karakter heard us mooring the boat and jumped to the pontoon to greet us. It felt so good to see her again, and Graciosa felt immediately such a welcoming and warm place.

Graciosa is a unique island, with lots of natural beauty and a quiet atmosphere. Do not miss the next post where we hike 16 km across the island and witness some of the most impressive landscapes!