After over three weeks it was time for Ellen to go home. We where both a bit sad. We had such a wonderful time together.
But there was other company on their way. My cousin Ellen and her husband will visit me for a week starting the next day.
Although they are no sailors at all, I still would like them to see a bit of this beautiful coastline.
We snorkeled and did some sailing. After that we discovered the town and they offered me to do some shopping, while they had a rental car. Well that is very kind. After this stop, things like wine, etc., will become more expensive and even hard to get.
So we did big. To give you an idea;
75 bottles of wine
10 kg rice
10 kg pasta’s
For me on a bike, that would be quit a job.
In the evening we did find a very good restaurant and Ellen suggested to ask the owner if he would be prepared to sell some coffee. I did search all of town for decent coffee, but failed. The owner was very cooperative and I bought 10 kg of the best coffee from him.
We had a very good time together and they really cheered me up after my Ellen left.
Now the journey continuous. This stop at Cartagena was forced upon me by this propeller accident. Next stop would be Gibraltar. But as always in the Meds, the wind was not very kind to me. I had to pause halfway. I noticed a small marina in the middle and according to the weather forecast I could continue the next day.
The marina was small indeed. She just fitted in. Notice the small space between the boats and in front of the boat little room to maneuver. Quit a challenge.
The next day I left and the route was almost all up against the wind. I got a message from Dave, a guy I met in Cartagena, he was on anchor at Gibraltar and there was enough space. So that was encouraging.
Underway I spotted fishing vessels towing a tiny boat. Curious.
I did arrive too early. It was still dark. So I waited in front of this big port until daylight.
After entering the port you sail around “The Rock”.
Nice to recognize the UK in here. All those colors.
And the port is a natural harbor, very large.
But at the near end, after one hour of sailing, I came across two marina’s with in front a bay where it seems permitted to anchor. Here I met Dave again. He invited me over for a beer and later for supper and later again for some beer. It was nice with him around.
At night I could see the Gibraltar Rock in the lights.
With Dave we discussed the route for the Canaries. He will stay there for over a year and then his boat will be ready to cross.
The wind is almost always good for the Canaries, but the Strait is something else. Strong currents and strong winds. So we must pick the right day and the right time. You have only a couple of hours to do it right.
To the Canaries it will be at first calm, but after a day or two we should be able to pick up the trade winds, blowing from Portugal to the South.
In the North it is even dangerous now.
There will be a hurricane coming from The America’s heading for Ireland. But because this was so unusual, the forecast mentioned that the route it will take is uncertain. We thought it would never come across our route. So we left the next day.
Dave bought a classical boat and wanted it to use her as a house while rebuilding her. He is a carpenter and has a family with three young children. Quit a challenge!
Notice the pole halfway the first mast? He will use an old fashion sail on that. It’s ideal for the trade winds though. I could only use my headsail. On my own and first time on the ocean, I do not want to raise the spinnaker.
In the first two days there was little or no wind, but on day 3 it picked up. We lost each other out of site, but that was what we anticipated for, because our boats are so different, we will not likely have the same speed. Besides, I wanted some room on the ocean.
I can tell you. This was by far the best ride I had with The Ellena. She is really build for this. No swinging side to side, just steady and fast. I really enjoyed this ride.
The waves where also something else compared to the Meds. At start they where huge. Could be, they came over from the hurricane. Not even that high, but on top it had a platform. The boat stayed on top for several seconds before going down gently. It was a massive amount of water. You could easy imagine what they will have looked like a couple of days ago.
Later on, they disappeared and the usual waves took over. The trade winds are quit strong. Between 4 to 6 beaufort. So the waves did become more steep. Every now and then I looked upon a wall of water.
But the boat just handled everything as business as usual. I was as happy as a man can be! This went on for four days. Did some cooking, navigation, enjoyed the lovely weather and some fishing.
And then, there they are. The first rock of the Canaries.
Mixed feelings though. Wonderful that I made it, but sadly the end of an awesome ride. The first island you can anchor is Islas Graciosa. A very small island North of Lanzarote. These volcanic islands are dry with black stones but white sandy beaches.
At the South there should be an anchorage, just behind a small reef. The wind became quit strong, because now the trade winds are narrowed down between these islands. That turned out to be almost always, so the anchor must hold well.
The dark wall behind the girl are the mountains of Lanzarote. Very nearby.
Dave arrived the next day, but because of some defects he had to go to the marina in a very small village. The next day I visited him and we toasted on the successful and wonderful ride. I took a small peek in the village. No paved roads and a special atmosphere I really liked.
I will stay on the Canaries for a couple of weeks to discover some of the islands.
Besides I will need crew as my insurance company does not allow me to cross on my own. Well, I will see if I can find some nice company.
The trip from Greece to the Carribean is about 10.000 km. When I saw that on Google maps, I tought, this is an ambitious plan. But now I am halfway!