Our final leg during the European summer cruise.
The new crew, Steve, Peter and Frankie, as well as Bjoern, arrived in time, helped Ulf and Philip fix a few issues and buy a tremendous amount of food – before leaving on the four day sail to Madeira.
We started with a decent breeze and were looking for wind towards the end. After our only swim in the deep ocean we tied up in Madeira visited the island: one day in the Capital, Funchal, (a 1.5hr bus ride away) and one day per rental car along the Northshore. Of course we sampled plenty of Madeira before moving on to Lanzarote (a 2 day sail away).
Luckily, we stopped in La Graciosa on the way, and had the opportunity to experience the Canaries from a different (not the typical tourist) angle.
When we arrived in Arrecife, we were impressed with the modern marina, its facilities and general protection against swell. We toured the island for a day by car and had the opportunity to listen to Jimmy Cornell and other experts speak about general cruising topics (Jimmy organized a 1 week cruising seminar for the Barbados 50 regatta).
We made it to our final destination in time and sailed about 800nm on this leg.
If YouTube does not play this video in your country, try this link instead: https://goo.gl/photos/bTQCz8B1o4NZajsD8
Initially the phrase of “anchoring on the moon” came to mind when we arrived early in the morning in La Graciosa. But then we felt that La Graciosa looked more like the west in the US, very similar to the Grand Canyon – quite a place and very different from the other Canarian islands.
Studying the cruising guide during the voyage from Madeira to the Canaries, we realized that an anchor permit had to be requested days in advance. Even a slip in the marina required an advance request to Gran Canaria before security would allow one into the harbor. We therefore decided to anchor at Playa Francesca and hope for the best. There were a handful of other sailboats at anchor and we learned that the best way to get a slip was to walk the 2.5km to the harbor and talk to the harbor master.
Of course, harbor masters do not work on weekends on La Graciosa and therefore we were out of luck. After a cool beer and a nice walk we were back on the boat.
In the meantime, two large catamarans had unloaded their cargo and the beach was now full of people…
We caught up on sleep before checking out the island a little more and then headed back to town for a nice meal.
Of course one thing led to another and before we knew it, it was early in the morning when we walked through the desert in the dark – a night to remember…
La Graciosa is truly worth a visit
Our anchor went up around noon, just in time to get out of the way of the large tourist catamarans, and we started our last 25nm sail to Arrecife on Lanzarote.
With the very short night behind us, our energy level was not exactly at peak performance, but enough to enjoy the large cliffs, vulcanos and waves.
After about 5 hours we had reached our final destination for this summer and were impressed by the brand new marina and very nice facilities.
A worklist was compiled to make sure the boat is prepared to be left alone for three months and ready for the sail across the Atlantic in December.
A nice meal in town provided a first glimpse at what Lanzarote has to offer.