November 24 – December 10, 2019; 2730 nm and 263 days after departure from La Rochelle
What a sweet little island! Not very known but very attractive. La Graciosa is a tiny desert island made up of sand and volcanic cones. Located off the north coast of her much bigger sister Lanzarote / Canary islands. It is only 8km in length and 4km wide and has two small villages Caleta del Sebo and Pedro Barba. The villages are home to a population of something between 600 to 700 people. Most of them live now in Caleta though Pedro Barba was the original settlement. Enough guide like information…😉
We just loved the lazy, relaxing, nothing-much-to-do atmosphere of little Graciosa. Beaches either smooth or with huge waves (depending on which side of the island we went), volcanic stones and cones, a few tussocks (or something like that) and that was about it. If we felt like we needed some civilisation, we jumped into our dinghy, took the paddles, tried to land smoothly at the beach and walked for about 3/4 of an hour to the bigger small village of Caleta. We spoiled ourselves with cafe con leche in one of the few bars/cafes at the harbour area and enjoyed the quiet life of this unspoilt piece of world. Surprisingly for us there were even two small corner shops with basic groceries supplies. One day we felt like we could do with some meat and were very happy to find some frozen spare rips . Those shops didn’t provide a lot of perishable food, a handful fruit and vegetable, a few dairy products and if you were lucky (like us) some frozen stuff.
Our friends from Monte invited us, the day after we arrived, for a typical dinner from the Canaries ” papas con mojo”. We enjoyed the potatoes and the salsa with some beers and stories about their and our not very successful fishing experiences. So far both crews were better in loosing lures (or catching birds) than catching fish. A lot of improvement is needed… At least we are not the only losers.😉
In return we shared our bbq rips with Andrea and Gerhard a couple of days later only to hear that they would leave us the following morning to move on to Arrecife.
Ha, I almost forgot we also did some amazing sightseeing. Yes! There is a museum in Caleta. It is the smallest museum of the world and we were there! It is bigger than our boat but not much though. Three little rooms tell about the history of Graciosa, the marine wildlife and the Salinas of the Canaries. A great small museum.
It sounded as we did nothing at all but being super lazy. It was almost like this but not quite. El Capitano found (at that time he at least thought so) another, “better” place for our electronic compass and reinstalled all the related electrical cabling with it. The issue with the initial location was that interferences generated by some close by items disturbed the accuracy of our heading sometime by more than 30 degrees. Beside of the funny picture having our boat icon moving sidewards on the plotter screen, it also created a mismatch between the land on the chart and the radar echo of the landmasses which can become pretty dangerous in bad weather situations or at night. However, all the work was useless as the compass detected another significant interference at the new location. More to come.. 🙂
My humble self had to repair the Lazybag AGAIN as it ripped off while one line of our main reef got twisted around the pole from the Lazybag while reefing. That was so annoying as I just repaired it…. Well, well, well sh… shame happens.
But apart from that we really, really enjoyed our pretty little anchorage and stayed as long as our provisioning lasted. (Ok we could have stayed longer with our provisioning but I thought it sounded a bit more dramatic.😉)
Saturday morning, the 7th of December, we got ready to sail to the south west part of Lanzarote, anchorage Rubicon. After lifting the anchor El Capitano was excited to do some circles with Altimate to calibrate the new positioned electrical compass. We did it one, two and three times only to figure out that the compass was interfered again. Yeah,yeah shit happens, though at this time not knowing that it literally happened. 😂
Slowly realising that this morning was not our luckiest morning, our desperate needed toilet decided to be clogged – just like this, without any pre announcement. OMG, that is not going to be a fun repair… The good thing is that our toilet system has two outlets so we were and are still able to use it. Yeah, thank you Alubat for this construction! Imagine using a bucket or … I don’t want o think about it! By the time we got over the shock of our toilet issue – we still don’t know what caused it- we realised that our depth metre didn’t work either! It was not even 9am in the morning – and we were already done with the day. What a start of a day. At least the to do list was happy to get longer. Hahaha.
Anyhow, the rest of the day was great, nothing more to complain about, a beautiful downwind sailing day. Just before sunset we anchored at Rubicon almost at the same time with the crew from Lady Charlyette (we met them in Porto Santo), what a nice coincidence. They were so kind to invite us for a drink, but we passed as we were somehow exhausted from our day. Are we getting old? That was sad as they already left the next morning so we didn’t have the time to catch up. Sorry guys, next time we will meet however our fitness might be. Promised!
Our walk over to the marina Rubicon was nice, very rocky with a lot of retired tourists.😉 People like us?
But before, we had to struggle with the landing of the dinghy paddling ashore. The trick is to find the perfect wave to surf to the beach with your last paddle stroke and jump out at the right time without getting turned over. And very important: ABC – always be cool. (The strategy of our friend Laurence, especially in situations you don’t feel comfortable with and when people are watching you.😉) Even more difficult was to get back in the water. This time one has to find the perfect time in between waves, so that the water is quiet. Push the boat in, keep it straight and than you need to jump in and paddle immediately to pass the next coming wave. We just about managed to do it, a wave almost turned us. El Capitano thought only my squeak lifted us up over the wave. Who knows…
The marina and the surrounding resorts/hotels were decent but boring to us. All shops and restaurants looked artificial and pretty but with not much flair. It gave us a good feeling to have made the right decision to stay in Arrecife for our x-mas home leave. If staying in a marina then it’s nice to have the benefits of a proper town.
Our last anchorage day was a very sunny, summer feeling fortune which we appreciated very much, knowing not to be able to go for a swim at anchor for quite a while.
Tomorrow we will head up to Arrecife against the wind. Arrecife we’re coming!