May 08 – May 24, 2020; 2899 nm and 430 days after departure from La Rochelle
YES! On Monday we had our first cappuccino since the lockdown started – 56 days cappuccinailed! Such a great feeling sitting in a cafe and being allowed to enjoy a nice coffee and seeing other people walk by. It does feel good!
Our weekend was already nice too. Sunday at around midday we heard some knocking on our boat. Curious as I was I jumped up to see who was knocking and to our happy surprise it was Alain. One of the french guys from our platform. He came to ask, if we would like to have lunch with them. Of course we immediately, enthusiastically accepted the invitation. French boat, french cuisine – a dream came true😋. When I asked what time we should come over, he said: “Dans un quart d’heure” (in 15 minutes). I replied: “Mais oui, nous aimons venir et venons tout de suite” (We love to come and we’ll be there in a minute.) At least that was what I wanted to say. So, we got quickly and neatly dressed. Ok, we just got dressed as we didn’t want to show up in our sunbathing outfits. It was a bit of a short notice but as well a funny coincidence as we haven’t prepared anything yet to eat that day, so it kind of suited us double!
It turned out to be a very pleasant and fun afternoon with a yummi rum starter, delicious “bœuf bourguingnon”, a dessert à la Pascal “gâteau au fromage” (another French man, who did not join the lunch but prepared the cake) and -even more important- very nice company. Hubert, the great cook, Alain the entertainer and Eamon the nice Irish sailor who is berthed as well at our platform and speaks french. We did have a lot of fun with interesting conversations due to our limited language skills. English was not really an option in this group 😁. Unfortunately we found out that Alain and Hubert would already leave Tuesday morning. What a bummer! Without the french guys a platform party would not be half as nice. (I still do dream of a platform party after the lockdown!)
Well, there was only one conclusion, we had another gathering the next day to say goodbye to our french friends. With Eamon we decided to cook for the french team and have them over for a nice last dinner. Generously Eamon offered to meet on his beautiful big boat named “Pamela”. Even better, he said he would cook a “Laksa”, a coconut milk soup with lots of seafood, very yammi. Easy for us. Our contribution was just wine, Ricard and a dessert. The other two french guys from the platform Philippe and Pascal were also invited but unfortunately they had better offers this evening. Ok, I don’t really know, but they couldn’t make it. Eamon did a very good job with his Laksa but even more impressing, he had done 3 different salads which tasted very oriental, delicious and unusual – I’m still waiting for the recipe dear Eamon 😋.
We started at 6pm and we got back to Altimate at midnight. No doubt we had again much fun and I wouldn’t mind continuing the food gatherings… but then it wouldn’t be special anymore. By the time we got up the next morning, they had already left and the boat was abandoned😥. The poor guys had a flight to Madrid and then needed to drive 1300km back to their homes in Brittany. They finally arrived safely the next day. Hope to see you two again sometime👋.
The last two weeks went by super fast. With so many options to do – it was great! We were officially allowed to visit Lothar and Renate in their apartment. They are the nice guys who allowed and still allow us to use their address for deliveries, which makes life for a sailor in regards to equipment supply so much easier. The Canary Islands are part of Spain, so part of the EU, but from the customs perspective it is non-EU. Don’t ask why but it makes deliveries time-wise and cost-wise quite a challenge! This time we – ok more El Capitano – were happy to help them to get started with Renate’s new mobile device.
Most of the smaller businesses were already back open. During the lockdown we decided to get a new spray hood. I had restitched a lot of parts over the last year but by now the canvas was not water resistant at all anymore, the window vinyl was very blurry and breaking everywhere. So we ordered a new one and as well two more solar panels to extend our power supplies for being better equipped at anchorages, which we hopefully will be allowed to sail to in the near future.
At the end of the week we rented a car and enjoyed just driving around Gran Canaria. We were happy with just seeing different places, buying groceries in other supermarkets or finally refilling our empty gas bottles. What an exciting day! Yeah! Even though we were not sure wether we were allowed or not we went for some walks. We were so brave😁! The rules of phase 1 lockdown were not in all areas very clear. We understood we were definitely allowed to use the car but it was not clear about walking somewhere on the island…
Anyhow, British friends recommended a nice trail at the “Barranco de los Cernícalos” which was a couple of miles west of Telde. So we gave it a try and drove up there. Such a nice change from the last two month. Beautiful views from either rocky character to very green and flowery scenery. The feeling was actually the best. FREE! On the way to the gulch we passed by some happy calfs and long haired cheep.
Though the weather was nice when we left Altimate, up in the mountains it presented itself sometimes foggy and very cold in other parts. The temperature went down from 24 to 10 degrees celsius. Shiver. Fortunately by the time we reached our trail it was above 20 degrees again. Not being prepared for very cold weather we probably would have had trouble to walk that route. We surely could have run the trail (to keep warm) but with our not at all trained condition we might have ended up in hospital. Long story short we were pleased about the temperature and started our trip. It was a pretty and easy walk alongside a creek which meandered its way through the canyon. A butterfly which I named “Wirbelwind” followed us the whole path. El Capitano said it was not the same one as there were so many of them but I insisted it was only “Wirbelwind” who followed us😉. Our end of the trail was a little waterfall where we had a short break. Some sailor mate said we could have gone further but as we’re not that keen on climbing we just turned and walked our way back to the car.
Amazing what we did in those two weeks! I’m still surprised about myself😁. After so many weeks of not being able to do anything, it felt soooooo good. For example, we gathered together with the German speaking meet up, which was again possible since the starting of phase one. (10 people were allowed to gather together). We had coffee one afternoon with the British couple from platform “S” at the sailors bar. We even had a fancy meal at a restaurant one evening. We went swimming and borrowed Eamon’s kayak to paddle to the anchorage where we said hello to some sailors. We bought an induction cooktop and when I returned the borrowed burner to Veronika, both of us enjoyed the possibility to have a nice, allowed and relaxing chat on her boat. Not a hidden toilet talk which we used to do in the last weeks because of the lockdown. Thursday we spontaneously had Petra and Rainer over for dinner and yesterday after the first adjustment for the spray hood we headed off to the nature park of “Tamadaba” and walked another completely different trail at the “Pico de Tamadaba”. It was awesome! The drive there was absolutely stunning as we had perfect weather with beautiful and clear views in valleys or over the sea. We walked, completely alone, (thanks to the lockdown😉) through indigenous Canary pine trees and could also enjoy the fantastic view of Teneriffa at the horizon. Despite the huge fire which destroyed thousands of hectares of land last year in August, it also hit the park, a lot of trees were starting to grow again. It was amazing to see how fast nature comes back to life!
Fortunately this time the weather lord was in a sunny summer mood so we could enjoy a hot and sweaty walk around the peak of the park. Seeing so much dead flora, especially trees was a bit sad but on the other side to realise that the nature is able to recover in such a short time, was absolutely impressive! We did not see much of any kind of Fauna. Maybe because the wildlife is not yet back or it did hide very good. The only fellow we saw was a busy woodpecker who was not too shy so we managed to get a picture.
Exhausted we came back pretty late that evening, changed our planned bbq to a fast supper and went early to bed yet veeeery happy.
Monday phase 2 will start. How exciting! Again less restrictions! Though we still won’t be allowed to sail around the island, but that is ok for us as we’re happy to keep on exploring the island…