Anchorages, sailing and unwinding

September 14 – September 27 , 2020; 3201 nm and 559 days after departure from La Rochelle

Without any swell anchoring is just perfect. The boat light swinging in the waves makes you feel like a baby in a cradle. The sun shining makes you feel good and the blue water is inviting you to jump into its cooling paradise whenever you feel like it. What a wonderful world 😁.

sleeping like a baby in a cradle 😍

Yes, we were lucky! We had five days of dreamlike sailor life until the swell and wind started again. In the very early morning of the 5th night of anchoring we both got disturbed in our sweet dreams and startled by a horrible noisy sound. This sound was followed by a heavy jerk in the boat and chain. As the weather was forecasted with quite some wind and gusts for the night we had left the navigational system on to be able to check on wind, water depth and boat position immediately if needed. We jumped out of our bed and checked what the hell was going on. We still don’t know why but the gusts were suddenly coming down the cliffs and reached 43 knots though before there was almost no breeze. El Capitano saw the wind lifting the water and lashing it over the water surface. That was definitely the highest wind speed we experienced so far AND being at anchor. A slightly scary moment but fortunately the whole spectacle was finished within 30 minutes. The upside was, we learned that our anchor managed the 40+ knots with ease. I can tell you, that was a great feeling! A reliable anchor makes sailors life much more confident.

sunset at the anchorage Los Gigantes

That was also the start of our favourite🙄 swell coming into the bay not following the wind direction so our sweet cradle swinging was at its end and changed to shaking and rolling driving us crazy again. We gave Los Gigantes one more night as we were invited by Lars, a German sailor we had already met in San Sebastián/La Gomera and who joined us in our bay. He treated us with good food and introduced us to his dutch friend (I forgot his name). An interesting young singlehanded guy who earned its money via the social networks as an influencer. A perfect last evening in Los Gigantes! Before it got too swelly the next morning we hoisted the hook and headed off to Valle Gran Rey/La Gomera.

Altimate all alone in the big bay of Los Gigantes

It was so much easier to arrive somewhere, where we’ve been before. No stress about how it looks like, where to put the anchor, will it hold and and and. Nice! We enjoyed 4 more days in this lovely bay, explored the little elongated village a bit more before we felt the urge to move to another island.

“Hautacuperche” statue, La Puntilla, Valle Gran Rey, he was an indigenous leader in the rebellion against the Spanish conquistadores…

Our next destination was La Palma, the most northwesterly island of the Canaries with two marinas on the island. Santa Cruz at the east coast and Tazacorte at the west coast. Anchoring was anyhow not a realistic option at this island so we went for Tazacorte marina as our dutch friends Heleen and René were already there. Due to problems (never ending list😩) with our gas connection/tube it was necessary to order some material to fix it. Knowing that our dutch friends were already in the marina we could order in advance our needed parts in their name to the marina. That was very handy because only a few days after our arrival we received our delivery.
Monday 21st of September we left La Gomera and started our 53nm sail northwest to marina Tazacorte. An easy enjoyable trip with again no fish at all🙄!

arriving at marina Tazacorte

La Palma is beautiful! It absolutely deserves the name “Isla Bonita”. Even in the rougher areas of the island, like here in Tazacorte, the little villages present themselves always in a pretty way. The northern part of La Palma is blessed with beautiful fauna, dense jungle-like forest and the south part presents itself harsh with a volcanic landscape, similar to the other islands. Colourful painted houses are often decorated with pretty flower pots. Silk trees, oleander, bougainvillea, geranium and other plants are beautifying places and streets. Often the little central places are lovingly tiled with colourful mosaic in addition to the plants. So pretty!

Tazacorte, a place in front of the church with some mosaic and bougainvillaea

Our first week here past by fast (as always). We said hello to some sailor friends, explored little Puerto Tazacorte and the not much bigger Tazacorte up the hill. The local bus took us to Los Llanos, if I remember right, the biggest town (at least economically) of the island and a couple of days later we headed to pretty Santa Cruz, the capital. (By the way the bus system here works great. There are proper bus stops and timetables! Much more comfortable than it was in La Gomera…) Santa Cruz is absolutely beautiful. It is pretty old (founded 1493) and has a considerable architectural heritage. We loved the stately colonial-style houses set on cobble stone streets as well as the unique set of carved wooden balconies with the amazing flowerage (cover picture).

Something is going on in the capital with those funny fellows:

We were everywhere running into those dwarfs shown as images on walls, postcards, as figures in shop windows and as this statue. I thought somebody was making fun of Napoleon 🤷‍♀️. What was it all about? Google said:

“Every five years, between the months of June and August, in Santa Cruz de La Palma, the Descent of the Virgin of the Snows, the patron of the island, is celebrated. For just over a month, an extensive programme religious events fills the streets and squares to mark this ancestral celebration, vibrant with colour, magic and devotion . … But the magic is reserved for the most popular number of the whole celebration, the performance which popular wisdom has managed to convert into its seal and symbol of identity: the Danza de los Enanos (Dance of the Dwarfs) In the first part, the dancers represent diverse characters who move to the rhythm of a changing melody: monks, Japanese men, sailors, astronomers, pilgrims, old men, students, friars, Dominican brothers, Athenians…but in the second half of the show, in a matter of seconds, the dancers are transformed into dwarfs, and the dancing of a frenzied, exciting polka commences, played by the San Miguel Music Band. From the stage area, the entourage of dwarfs moves into the crowded, cobbled streets of the capital, where they continue to repeat their lively choreography all night long, until the first rays of dawn.”

We would have been here in the right year of the celebration but of course due to corona – no party. Well hell!
The days we did not explore our surroundings El Capitano fixed our gas problem and one evening we went up to Tazacorte with some friends to enjoy the sunset with a local beer 😋.

Uli, who we know from San Sebastián, Norbert and Wilfried a dutch fellow

Next week we’ll rent a car and explore the whole island.

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