Challenging our guardian angels

February 08- February 16, 2020; 2899 nm and 331 days after departure from La Rochelle

How dumb can someone (we) be? I thought by now we’d been in an age where we are able to consider and reasonably distinguish a dangerous situation. Not even close!

Leaving Arrecife was great. A beautiful sail down the coast of Lanzarote. With a great catch just after a couple of hours.😋 We were sooooooo proud. A beautiful big Bonito. Yammmi.

2,7 kg , yeaaaaaaaaah

The easterly winds made it uncomfortable to stay at anchorages along the east coast. So we headed directly to the south end of the island, Rubicon, where we’ve been before and anchored there. A few days later we hopped over to the little island just in front of Fuerteventura which is called ” Isla de Lobos”. It is a very small island, rather a big volcanic stone, that makes her sister “La Graciosa” seem like a bustling tourist hot spot. There is nothing but a handful of cottages – so I read- and a small restaurant. Enough to make us curious to go ashore and check it out.

Altimate at the anchorage next to the marina Rubicon


Well that was not the smartest idea! At least not with the easterly swell and breaking waves coming in. There were a few smaller local diving boats coming from Corralejo/Fuerteventura finding their way through the riff and rocks east of our anchorage still well outside in the open water. Clever as we were we thought we could try the same. Jalu our dinghy was already waiting for us to jump in. A backpack, some sneakers and flip flops packed (you never know what you need ashore) and off we were. Our goal was to sneak as smart through the riff as the other boats did. BUT as closer we reached the difficult area as scary it looked like. In between the rocks and the island there was the riff. Because of the lately easterly wind conditions the wind waves came around the island and quite a lot of them broke there. Breaking waves are not very fun to cope with in a small dinghy with not much power. Instead of being wise and safely heading back to the boat we gave it a try. As soon as I tried (I was steering this time) to surf with the wave to get through the difficult part of the channel it happened. And it happened fast! The wave came, broke and the dinghy turned almost over. El Capitano fell first and I was sure to fall as well. In this millisecond our adrenaline rose to the highest level we felt for ages. Me thinking, what will happen when the outboard is still running? (Does anyone uses the kill cord properly? We don’t.) The waves still breaking, the rocks coming closer- all a big shit! I don’t really know what happened or how it happened, but I DID NOT fall, just before completely turning over, the boat straightened up again. I do think we had guardian angels, because that would have been a very serious situation. The motor still running, the boat upside down, the current pushing us and the boat against the rocks…

at the anchorage, Isla de Lobos


Shocked as we were, El Capitano in the water, me trying to get the motor blade away from him and at the same time trying to fetch him, we managed to stay cool. Laurence – We folloowed your ABC advice, “always be cool”. I got him and pulled him away from the breaking waves first and then he managed – in a surprisingly fast and easy way, to get back into the dinghy. Adrenaline helps somehow. We were both scared to death that the motor was still running but in the end it helped us. I don’t know if I’d have been fast enough to restart the motor again to prevent further unpredictable situations. That all happened within a minute or maybe two but felt much longer.
Still full of adrenaline we couldn’t stop talking about our absurd behaviour on the way back to Altimate and we both were very thankful that in the end nothing happened. Only a wet Capitano, loss of a pair of sunglasses, some bruises and a huge lesson learned.

Just4Fun

As exciting as the day started as relaxing it ended. Surprisingly Thomas from “Just4Fun” announced his arrival at the anchorage in the afternoon. Happy to meet him again we invited Thomas and his visitor Mari over for a sundowner. We enjoyed their company and the quiet and unspectacular end of the day.

Thomas, Norbert and Mari

In the late morning we said goodbye to or friends and we all took off. Just4Fun decided to sail back to Arrecife, our destination was further south to an anchorage somewhere at the east coast of Fuerteventura. A few hours after we left we realised that we were following the English boat named “Olli”. They captured my interest already at the anchorage at Isla de Lobos as I call my brother Olli. 😁 As it always is, if you have two boats in the ocean – you have a race. They started about an hour earlier than we did. Their boat was roughly the same size than ours so it was a fair race. 😉 Our goal was to outrun them! AND we made it – almost. On the way we decided to stay at anchorage at Gran Tarajal bay at the east coast, in the southern part of Fuerteventura. Olli our competitor decided to do the same. They let their anchor down only a few minutes earlier than we did. We felt like winners in a our pretended race. We waved to and smiled at them and let our anchor down as well. Yeah! The anchorage felt really good and we thought we’ll finally have a quiet and non rolly night. NOT at all, just after dinner the swell started and of course it was not aligned with the wind direction. A maddening situation which drives one crazy. Everything needs to be fixed unless you want to find it broken on the floor. Still we made it through the night and it was slightly better in the morning. Some ambitious early swimmer passed when we had our coffee and the whole world felt in peace again.(Swell does make me angry!)

The bay of Gran Tarajal and some of the swimmers passing by


Our original plan was to spent around another week at anchorages along the coast, but with the experience of last night and the nights before we decided to sail directly to Gran Canaria /Las Palmas.
Before we left we went ashore with our dinghy (no trouble landing this time) to visit the town Gran Tarajal. It seemed like an authentically little Spanish harbour village still untouched by mass tourism.We followed the seafront promenade starting from the black sandy beach leading to the small harbour. The centre compromised some narrow and steep streets built into the hillside with murals painted on almost every house wall. In one of the quaint cafes we had a rest and enjoyed the daily life of the friendly locals. Back at the beach we hopped into Jalu to paddle back to Altimate. Well I hopped in, El Capitano did not make it and again he preferred to have a little dive. 😉 Fortunately this time it was just fun.

one of the murals

At 2 pm we headed towards Las Palmas. A great sail with 2o + knots astern, only the genua pulling us. We were looking forward to some comfortable night shifts for each of us but again the night was unbearable as the waves came from each side and gave us a good shaking. No possibility to find some rest. We were happy to have only a short trip of 17 hours and arrived early at sunrise in the anchorage of Las Palmas. A couple of hours later when the marina was awake 😉, we moved into the huge marina of Las Palmas. A new island and new things to explore.

the anchorage at Las Palmas next to the marina

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