To the Canaries…tweet tweet…I mean woof

We made it to the Canary Islands!

We left Madeira in a slightly less than perfect forecast but with a fantastic rainbow.

Bye bye Madeira

We had decided that we wanted to move on and the weather and wave forecasts suggested we would have a safe but possibly uncomfortable trip. As a result of the forecasted twenty knot winds we undertook a rather ‘bumpy’ sail to the Canaries. In fact, the word ‘bumpy’ is a well known sailing euphemism for rough, uncomfortably rolly and one of those sails that means you spend a bit too much time staring into a bucket. Fun as staring into a bucket is, there are things I would rather do.

We aimed first for Graciosa, an island at the West of the Canaries near Lanzarote and the first daylight hours of the trip weren’t too bad actually despite a rather unwelcome soaking near the start. This prompted a mass donning of full waterproofs which proved to be a good decision. The motion in the cabin was surprisingly ok as we were travelling nice and fast, though none of us wanted to outstay our welcome there. All three of us managed to eat lunch (good old lidl tuna salads, yum) and we all spent lots of time outside in the fresh air getting used to the boat’s motion again.

Some big waves

It is always slightly nerve-racking leaving and going out to sea again. It takes a good few hours to start to relax and not feel quite so anxious at the start and also to get used to doing things you once found easy whilst in port. A good example of that is getting in and out of the cockpit. Stepping over a couple of hatch-boards isn’t exactly difficult in harbour, but add in a safety line to get tangled in and the waves rocking the boat (and you) from side to side at inopportune moments and you can start to wonder how you even managed it before. However after a while you learn to look out for waves that might cause trouble and time your entrance and exit accordingly.

After over a month on Madeira it soon became clear that our sea legs weren’t as solid as we would have liked. As a bit of an experiment I had decided to try the Traveleze that we’d been given a while back by the Trycha and the girls. It seemed a good plan given that you only need to take them every twenty-four hours and they taste good too. I think they were helpful for the first twelve hours until it got dark and we started night shifts. The seasickness monster caught up at night. Pete suffered most followed by me. Chris escaped unscathed thanks to frequent drug taking. A combination of this, the waves splashing over the cockpit and the cold wind meant I was about ready to give up by the time I had eventually got to bed for the first time and was wondering why this was a good idea again. Yet again, I had just an inkling of why Ellen Macarthur spends so much time crying on her video diaries..seasickness makes you feel rubbish. No one should ever underestimate how difficult it is to get out of waterproofs in a rolling boat. It’s probably fair to say that all of us were at a pretty low point by night one.

Eerie night-time waves

The next morning I vowed to start taking Biodramina once again…I had become slightly disillusioned by it on our last trip but I once again had my faith restored by a recovery I believe was prompted by it. Given the direction of the waves (on our side), the discomfort of that and the fact that the forecast suggested they might get bigger as we neared Graciosa we spent quite a lot of time wondering what to do about our heading and hence our destination. We tried out a number of headings to see what they were like and eventually, somewhat reluctantly, it was decided to head to Tenerife (nearer the East) because this made sailing much more comfortable. The waves moved from our side to almost behind us which meant it was much nicer and dryer though we also knew this would most likely prevent us from sailing toward Lanzarote etc due to prevailing winds and conditions. Pete very stalwartly refused any seasickness drugs until he realised that we’d be in trouble if he didn’t stop being ill. After another night and a bit of sleep he appeared to have made quite a miraculous recovery…Sorry to go on about it but “Biodramina you’re amazing!”

Our last full day went quite well. Appetites were returning which was great and Tenerife was getting closer quite quickly.

Approaching Tenerife

All of this put me in quite a good mood even if I was already foreseeing larger steeper waves as the water shallowed near the island. In fact, my worst fears were not realised and the bigger waves never came. I even had a go at cooking whilst at sea – something that I’d never dared do before. I decided to challenge myself by cooking something mostly from scratch (ok so I used one tin of potatoes) It was quite fun if a little stressful trying to cook with a moving boat. The hardest bit was juggling two saucepans and having to gimble them by hand the waves rocked the boat. The bowl of dirty washing up wasn’t high on my list of priorities at the time and I soon saw it fly off the kitchen surface onto the floor with an almighty crash. The pan lid bears a rather good dent as a result of that. Next time I will champion the one pot dinner so my other hand can be ready to catch anything that cares to fly away.

Feeling smug about having just cooked inside at sea,
Caroline shows off by washing up on the floor as well

It was dark by the time we reached the marina. The last bit took quite a while because the wind had dropped with something of an anticlimax to what we expected – we were worried about the wind acceleration zones around Tenerife but didn’t experience them.

Tired…no, exhausted we moored up at Marina de Santa Cruz and went to bed.

5 Responses to “To the Canaries…tweet tweet…I mean woof”

  1. We hope to meet up with you in a few weeks when we visit Tenerife, dinner is on us!

  2. Hi guys! Very glad you made it to the Canaries, we just bought banagrams and jungle (fever?) off amazon for a friend to bring out to us in November! Can’t wait. las Palmas turns out to actually be lovely despite our first impressions, and there is a very nice sheltered beach anchorage right next to the big marina used by the Arc if you came to Gran Canaria…!!!

  3. Eeeeee, what a trip! Seems to me you’re getting tougher with every leg your sailing. Congratulations a welcome to the Canary Islands!

  4. Congratulations! We’re so happy that you made it to the Canaries! Now it’s only a small bit of sea before you arrive here on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. We’ve been following your blogs ever since we left you in Gibraltar and enjoy them a lot. Thank you!

  5. eve brian stallard Says:

    Well done the sailing team. I have had to go and take a couple of tablets myself after looking at your photos! I think it would definitely be too scary for me. So pleased you made it. I think you all deserve a little rest.

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