July 05 – July 23, 2020; 3047 nm and 490 days after departure from La Rochelle
After two more shaky nights we left our beautiful but uncomfortable anchorage Playa Blanca in Tenerife on Tuesday the 7th of July. The leg was only about 20 miles and it was an another expected tough crossing with 30+ knots and manageable waves. No fish was biting but our friends the dolphins came to visit and followed us for a while. Yeah, finally after so many month we could say hello and our endolphins were back at the upper end of the happiness-scale😁. Just after those guys left some bigger kind of their species came. We don’t know what they were, maybe whales or maybe dolphins?
As it was only a short hop we already arrived in La Gomera in the afternoon. Oh it was so nice! No swell what so ever, no shaking, no flying items, no necessity to hold tight – just calm water. The marina is pretty, small and very well located. More or less in the middle of the village. Everything is close by. Not only the sanitary but also cafes, shops, supermarket, just all the things you need for your daily life. But not more 😉. So, after three weeks at anchor we enjoyed the easy access to everything and had our first coffee in a small cafe in San Sebastian.
In the first week we discovered all shops in town as we needed some special hydraulic oil for our autopilot as well as fabric, zipper and lots of other material for making a new lazy bag. The old one unfortunately was definitely at it’s end😢. After 12 years of holding up the sails nicely it needed a replacement. Just a pity it didn’t happen a bit earlier, it would have been much easier to get the material in Las Palmas. Actually it took us only half a day to realise that it would not be possible to buy any item we needed here in the village. It is soooo small😊. Only thanks to a guy in the marina, El Capitano was at least able to get the hydraulic oil after a couple of days. Yeah! I spent days on the computer to find all the material I needed for a new lazy bag. I’m a bit scared how it will turn out and if my sewing machine will manage it – cross fingers. Now we have to wait for the deliveries…
A lot of sport fishing boats join us on our platform. Most of them go out everyday trying to catch (and release) huge big marlins. It seemed to be a big competition and we learned that flags they hissed can tell you if and what they had caught that day. For us it got interesting when they caught a tuna or spearfish (A little blue flag). They were allowed to keep those guys and we could benefit. Yammi. One day a boat caught a huge tuna of 120 kg. It was a beast. I hope we’ll never have such a big bite. They offered us a piece and when I weighed it, it had 3kg. Omg, what to do with that much fish? Hahaha, we had sashimi the first day, tuna chunks marinated in soy sauce and grilled for the next two days. We also pickled the fish in salt for 24 hours, that turned out to be an easy and very delicious way to keep the fish for about a week. My attempt to boil down tuna chunks was also a success and super easy to do. That was a relief because after eating three days only tuna you kind of get bored of eating it and 3kg filet is quite a lot for two people.
Apart from shopping and eating we had some nice walks at the surroundings of San Sebastian. We explored the upper town and walked a circle trail to the lighthouse, we went to the beaches and had some swims and I even dared to hike up the rock next to Playa de San Sebastian with El Capitano to head almost to the next beach named “Playa de la Guancha”. We did not go down to the beach but we had a nice view down on it. It was a rocky trail with very few flora or fauna but with amazing views. Though the cliffs are very barren in the south of the island, the rock formations are always stunning. We enjoyed our first walk very much and I was very proud I did it!
Meanwhile we were in the mood to discover the whole beauty of the island and decided to rent a car for couple of days. Usually it’s very easy to rent a car. You go online, find your favorite provider, you book a car and then you just pick it up at the next office or wherever you wish. Well, it did not happen to be that easy for us this time. Last Saturday we spontaneously wanted to rent a car. At around 10:30 am we checked online wether there were cars available. To get the car faster and to make sure which office was open (we saw lots of closed rental car offices) El Capitano called the hotline and booked a car. We wanted to pick up a car from an office close to the Marina La Gomera, San Sebastian. The Lady on the phone told us we had to pick it up at the airport as the office in San Sebastian was closed. Strange (because San Sebastian is the capital , there should be an open office shouldn’t it?) and annoying (because we had to take a taxi) but ok what could we have done? Maybe we should have thought it a bit through. Not maybe, we should have! BUT we didn’t. We were so excited about exploring the island we didn’t really mind taking the taxi to the airport. The first surprise appeared when the taxi driver told us it would take around 40 min to go there. When we had quickly checked the distance, it was only 12 km. Damn! that was only the air-line distance. Hahaha, so we got our first ride around the island with a dear taxi driver up and down some hills and ravines to the airport.
A beautiful pretty new little airport in the south of La Gomera in the middle of nowhere. It looked deserted and we knew there were only very few planes arriving (we learned later there are only 3 flights a day) and leaving but we were still hopeful. The only security guide looked a bit surprised to see us and his look made us a little worried, but then the relief- the Cicar (our chosen rental car provider) office was alight! Yes! Ha! Yes,yes,yes of course there was nobody 😉. Norbert called the displayed number but only got a very unfriendly-not-listening-to-our-problem lady on the phone. She just hang up. Thank you! After more unsatisfying calls with this lady and some calls to the hotline we figured out that the lady earlier had booked us a car in La Palma (another island) hahahahaha what the f…!
Here we were meanwhile a bit annoyed, standing like not picked up school kids in a deserted airport with public transportation only in times of plane movement and no taxis at all. The upside was we got a very nice ride back to the marina. After a few shocking moments of realising our situation a lady and a man suddenly appeared at the only snack bar at this airport to fill up some supplies. That was our chance! I managed to explain what happened to us with all the trouble coming here and the mix up of islands. I was proud 😁! After some discussion (I guess about our misery) and me trying to look helpless 😉 the man said he would take us back. Awesome! That was very kind indeed! We were of course very thankful and happy and we had nice ride back to town even with some small conversations. Carlos was the best!!! We would have loved to invite him but he said not to worry and just went off knowing he did something very good that day. We still had to wait to pick up the until 4pm but we used the time to have a coffee and a little rest back on Altimate.
Eventually we got the car and spent the afternoon driving around the island to get an impression of the wonderful diversity of it. We chose the northern route (there are only two possibilities anyhow), had a first stop in Agulo and were already thrilled about the changing landscapes. It was true how the travel guides described the nature. The landscape changes from barren rock formations to palm-filled green valleys and deep ravines to black sand beaches with crystal clear water. Amazing! The next day we decided to have a walk in the famous national park “Garajonay” first and then move on to Valle Gran Rey. The park is nature pure. A green mass of prehistoric vegetation, the laurel forest. The books say it covered the tropics millions of years ago and now survived in La Gomera thanks to its exceptional, temperate climate. We loved walking through the forest, the smell, the lights and the agreeable temperatures made it very special. The temperatures outside the forest were around 34 degrees celsius but under the green umbrella we only had about 26 degrees.
Nicely tired from our walk we were happy to sit in the car and enjoyed our ride through stunning ravines, passing tiny villages to finally get to Valle Gran Rey on the west side of the island. As it was very hot we stopped at a small beach Playa Ingles in the south of the valley, burned our feet on the super hot black sanded beach, had a swim and a little nap. After our beach siesta we headed to the other end of the valley to see the mini harbour and the anchorage were we might go some day. All cute and tranquil like the whole island.
For the time we had the car we discovered most of the island and highlights. We visited Alojera, Vallehermoso, Herimgua and stopped at lots of viewpoints and little hamlets, walked another trail and visited El Parque Etnographico de La Gomera. Actually it was almost too much to process all the impressions we got in those three days and we’re very happy to be able to visit the places again and walk more trails. Luckily we booked the marina for a couple of months. Enough time to enjoy more of the island and see how the covid issue will involve.