Archive for Canaries

15 Jan 2012

Prior to departure visit the JobCentre!

3 Comments Canaries, Living

Before I forget!! Lesson number one when going traveling: Sign up to the dole! No I don’t mean be a nonce and stroke the gland of social nectar till the tax payers cries in anguish at the injustice. Simply sign up this will mean they pay the stamp duty, you don’t get any cash / moneys but it contributes towards your NI contributions required for your state pension (heck every little counts). If you do scam the system then I hope you sink.

Really missing my boat, currently just parked out there all on it’s own waiting ….. but it’s not all bad, I seem to be running a hotel service for other travelers passing through the area. Keeps Maria well kept and full filling her function unlike so many other hulks just idling on their mooring lines. There is a huge element of trust with all of this, gas bottles, sea cocks and electricity need to be turned off, but you have to start somewhere.

Stay safe!

 

 

10 Oct 2011

Going to London :: Gomeran’s don’t miss the Kings of Originality Zirkmir on 12th

9 Comments Canaries

Zirkmir in Action in San Sabastian on the 12th of October.

 

Need to earn some coinage, pirates mutiny when their is no gold, actually I have run out of instant noodles :(  Arrive in London on the 24th of October.

One thing I am staying for is www.zirkmir.com performance, they are five fantastic and a little loopy Norse people bringing smiles to the world. Take a look at their website!

 

 

 

23 Sep 2011

A month in Gomera – now time for Gambia – or ..

1 Comment Canaries

Puddles everywhere, wet ones too, persistent rain with undertones of dull and gloom are certainly not words to describe Gomera. It’s a very spiritual place with many people coming out to try and find if their inner self will resonate with the quartz left over from when Atlantis descended into the depths…. or something like that. I didn’t see anyone vibrate but people here are happy and it rubs off.

The sailing round here has been fantastic with constant winds produced by the vast valleys. Met some great people, the oddest being cave dwelling hippies who squeezed out their previous dinners into plastic bags then throw the bag into the ocean …. lovely!!! … a protected floating surprise that lands right back on the beach again.

I have had lots of people onboard for the usual day sails, a backpacker who missed the ferry,  three Airport transfers to Tenerife (you don’t want to stay there more than a day, it’s the pits). Photo’s make more sense than me:

 

23 Sep 2011

El Cedro – 6 hour one way walk 1200m climb

2 Comments Canaries

El Cedro is paradise, it’s located a good hour or two by car from San Sabastian. There is a sailing school CanarySail.com with 5 boats in the marina, they are always busy and having seen the rest of the Canaries they certainly have the best spot …. through them I met a Dutch guy who wanted to hire a car and and explore the island … and so started my love affair.

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We arrived in El Cedro having driven through lush dense forests with thick mist providing the overture, one that sadly didn’t climax in the earth vibrating to the footsteps of a chasing Tyrannosaurus. Where there was a break in the cloud the sight that greeted us was quite spectacular.

P1000951.JPG In El Cedro is a little camp site and restaurant, they pick the water cress every morning and make the best soup for 3EU or if you’r in the mood you can eat the sacrificial goat the non existent dinosaur didn’t devour for a humble 6eu. I ended up going there 5 times either with the local ex pats or hitch hiking. I stayed over night in the Campsite for a few days after Roberto lent me a 22 year old Norwegian sleeping bag, the lady who runs the restaurant became very friendly when she saw my enthusiasm for her food and gave me little treats for my hikes.

Everyone in the campsite was German and quite astonished when I turned up with just a sleeping bag sans tent, hiking boots, a free tourist map and clearly lacking common sense.  Didn’t take long to win them over and we drank the place dry, turned down the offer for a place in their tents and woke up to a great view of doves flying in and out of cloud cover.

 

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30 Aug 2011

La Gomera – I found Heaven

1 Comment Canaries, Contessa 32

P1000927.JPG I would rate this place as AAA, and yes the A stands for awesome! I arrived in San Sabastian in La Gomera in winds between 40 and 50 knots, my windex clearly felt it I would be releaved not knowing wind speed over 48 knots. At those speeds water being whisked off waves feels like rubber bullets, but I was in my element, the boat simply smiled and bore through the waves begging for more of a challenge sailing 40 degrees into the wind with a hankerchief of my genoa presented to the wind and three reefs in my main. It was impossible to take photo’s, the boat was submersed most of the time. The cockpit was a swimming pool as the cockpit drains fought to remove the water quicker than it entered. I met a plastic tub coming the opposite direction, we passed within 20m of each other, they were clearly not enjoying the conditions as I stood on the stern hollering in delight their response evident by the white knuckles and green faces. My windave worked like a champ, more on this later but I am in love with it especially when it allowed me to sail downwind in 7 knots!!
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This was sailing at it’s best and I could have gone on comfortably for days, except for the problem with leaking windows, the engine was useless in these conditions, I couldn’t make more than 1knt with the engine flat out.

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So I arrived in San Sabastian, the moment I arrived I knew I found something special, it’s impressive, people here are super friendly, the Marina is almost as cheap as Las palmas 7eu a night and the facilities are the best I have experienced. Food here is real Canaries / Spanish grub and super cheap, rivaling Arracife in Lanzerote. Everyday I have a pint mixed Zumo (smoothy) made from the abundance of exotic fruit for 2eu, Mango’s are only 1eu a kilo. Hamburgers here are 2eu and devilishly delicious everything being home made and filled with plenty of salad.
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There are no tourists, except for the day trippers who obediently roll off and on the ferries, the smarter ones driving cars so they can visit La Cedra – the home of Jurrasic park.

10 Aug 2011

Mogan to Tenerife – 40 knot winds hooooraaa

2 Comments Canaries

Well I am sad to have left Mogan, had a blinding time met loads of people, frothy crotches; vidaloo bloody Mary’s; lost wives and spatulas were all fond memories that were whisked away as I got smacked in the face by a back hander that would have rendered any mother proud and adolescent adult forever subservient.

Thankfully I knew what was coming, two days before I had met Twice Daily Wendy and Rampant Mark, who provided a curious concoction and that’s to say nothing for the selection of mouthwashes provided. My bucket provided a great inspection platform well missed from my times in Holland, I was bitterly disappointing not to see a rainbow crest my cheeks.

Miss Twice Daily and Mr Rampant

Awesome couple who wanted to go a step further than the average motor around the beaches, we went past the lee of the island and were introduced to 30 knot winds, and an unexpected wave which dumped it’s load through the front hatch onto my bed.

Two days later after drying out my boat (salt water NEVER dries out), I attached my virgin rust tainted ancient storm jib and headed out for La Gomera. Sailing at 90 degrees to the waves is not a pleasant point of sail, I set my windvane on it’s course shrieked in delight as I was soaked with every wave a cried in anguish as the freak wave bore away anything not strapped down. The excitement soon wore off as I chattering took control of my mouth, I turned on my AIS and slept for four hours until I was woken by water dripping from a previously water tight hatch, nutsacks, all my windows were leaking.

I lost my welcome matt (boohoo) and a canvas bag, but caught my first Maui Maui, a spectacularly multicoloured fish, at least I think that’s what it was, had an ugly face, maybe it was the reflection in it’s eye, I will never know, couldn’t get it onboard, a wave wrapped it around my windvane and fate took care of the rest.

It was 21:00 I was next to Tenerife, Maria wet all over both inside and outside, yet surprisingly clean, caressing waves are way more effective than splugeing hoses, I didn’t know La Gomera so I diverted to the nearest Marina.

Tenerife ahoy

I was greeted by a Swedish family who gave me their left over pasta meal, then the security guard who quite clearly said it’s ok to stay for free if I leave before 09:00 .. maybe he didn’t but when I found out the charges are 20E a night that’s what his Spanish meant. Oh then I went to locate a cold beer, surprisingly enough I am in an Irish bar and the topic of many conversation (you are on a laptop … seriously .. who does that on holiday … as she gets a phone call from her boyfriend ensuring she is behaving .. priceless .. bar is called LegOver).

07 Aug 2011

Leaving today – Too hot down South time for the Azores

3 Comments Canaries

Big slide show above, give it time to load.

I am leaving Mogan, my favourite place in the Canaries at long last. Heading for the Azores, the south is too hot, Gambia has 80% humidity and 32C not my idea of enjoyment so I am going to beat into the wind and do some sailing north to the Azores. Why not?

Cape Verde if it’s as dry as this area it’s of little interest to me, had enough of this landscape.

02 Aug 2011

Photo’s of the last few weeks

6 Comments Canaries

I get the impression his wife didn't agree

Pictures and translation for buying two months worth of fresh eggs.

Typical coast line

Anfil Del Mar private marina

My boat of Anfil Del Mar

The Valley of Mogan full of farms

Mogan Marina

Carmen Festival

Carmen

Yarrrgh - There Be Pirates

23 Jul 2011

Still in Mogan – update

1 Comment Canaries

Quite like the place, I am on anchorage. I personally love being at anchor the rocking motion of the boat is lovely, that said sometimes with the changing tide and the swell I do feel a tad nauseous.

Few updates:

- Nothing lasts in this heat, I threw away all of my bottled cheese. Bottling brie and Camembert was a big mistake, the only cheese that survived was the cheapest gouda stuff.

- I had a lot of dry cured ham in vacuum packs, upon opening the pantry all of the packets were distended and the bacteria hard at work, I used it to catch fish, however, in Mogan it’s only ickle sardines so they can’t bite the hooks. Going to try the present Chris and James gave me and try to catch a big crab using the net they gave me. There was a 2meter mantra ray circling my boat the other day.

- Even wine does not bode well in these 30c boat temperatures, a lot of the red wine has gone off. This might have something to do with the wine being stored horizontal and it not breathing?

- What does work is biltong, it’s as tough as a truncheon but stick it in a stew and it’s nice-ish. But the stew doesn’t last 2 days so I am wasting a fair amount of gas on small dishes.

- Have a real problem with my power generation, even my 80w solar panel which I put out when on anchor is only generating 2A, in this sun it should be 5A, with only one 80A battery (40A of which is usable) I am still having to turn the motor on every third day. I have resorted to using the starter battery a few times but had a scare when the engine wouldn’t tick over, since I am on anchor I can’t afford not to start it when needed in case my anchor fails and I smash into the cliff 20m away.

Yes, I need to venture to Gambia, but’s it’s so hot here I am reluctant to head further south.

16 Jul 2011

I am Mogan

3 Comments Canaries

I have left Las Palmas some time ago, I have been working my way round what’s left of the Canaries. Can’t comment on any of it as it’s all pretty boring except for Mogan which is what I expected when I came to the Canaries. People here change from swimming trunks to shorts in the evening and you won’t see anyone puffing on a cancer stick, nor ash trays on the tables to encourage the notion ….. is this a sign of money or education. Mogan has character something the entire of the Canaries lacks, it is tiny though.

Porto Rico is the place to go if you want to drink 1.50 pints or buy a G&T only to get the bottle, so desperate are they to make you stay in a venue where the declining tourism is evident by the vacant lots, no charity shops here. The queues waiting for the booze cruises says it all.

Also went to Playa Ingles or Maspolomas – which was good fun … if you are 18 and like vomiting in streets. I enjoyed curb walking and staring at the passed out Western Euro trash for the non to conspicuous  ‘Priceless’ moment. I embellish a tad, I enjoyed myself, wouldn’t go there on holiday.

Anfil Del Mal – I anchored of that place which is the worlds largest timeshare, nice anchorage but nothing at all there.

I really do have to sail somewhere worldly, just need to spin a wheel to decide which direction, I am all touristed out, leave for Cape Verde within the week.

 

 

19 Jun 2011

Slight delay, was the weekend…

3 Comments Canaries

Got abit carried away, had a great weekend that started off with the local Marina night club, then the seediest late night club. The late club was a sailors place (from the many cargo ships here in port) with people from all over the world, working ladies everywhere and the stark contrast of well dressed gays. A trueley scary place where all the dregs of life are served up in a filthy establishment, I loved it!

Then on Sunday it was VIVA REVOLUTION! I went on a peaceful march to protest about the corruption in Spanish politics.

Miriam and Tony who got their first drink on a boat (Friday) and gave me my first demonstration (Sunday).

Was a good turn out, about 6000+ people

Hello

22 Apr 2011

Corralejo – Las Palmas

8 Comments Canaries

I spent good two weeks in Corralejo, it’s a magical place! There is kitesurfing, surfing, a blues festival, great bars, transparent water and fantastic people. I had the best time in Corralejo and now that I have arrived in Las palmas I wish I was back there again.

I was in the anchorage and rowed across every morning to the beach where I dragged up my dingy, there I met a sand sculpturer called Chris who had lost his boat in Portugal in a storm after it holed itself by bashing against steel pontoon. Chris was a great guy and guarded my dingy.

I met an Irish / Polish couple on my first night there who ended up staying the night, after a hectic row across the anchorage in a strong wind. It was dark and the engine broke down half way across, certainly left them with a few memories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think they got a bit more than they bargained for

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t begin to say how wonderful Corralejo is, kite surfing was a 5 minute dingy ride, the night life was awesome. I met two Swedish pilots who were telling me tales of landing 60knots cross winds on regular basis, kind of trivialised my experiences with mere 35knots and just myself to worry about. I had a good 20 people onboard either staying the night, sunbathing or going for day sails. The owner of a bar I parked my dingy outside of closed early and I took him and his family around the island Lobos, I got free drinks the entire time I was there.

The highlight was without a shadow of a doubt meeting Pamela and Kevin who took me under their wing for two days, we had an absolute blast and had a few conversations that turned those within earshot a darker shade of pink. Kevin joined me onboard for the morning, we then had a few drinks went for a meal and topped it off with a dance. Any of their family are more than welcome to stay onboard any time!

My new crew member - Kevin the Legend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a blues festival, there is a great bar called the Rock Island, loads of surfers. Absolutely wonderful place. On the day that I was due to leave for LP I went to pull up one of the Anchors, I had dropped two because I am paranoid about anchoring after my previous experiences. The danforth set like a rock, however, because I had not seized the shackle it had worked itself lose. Bob who was in the marina came across and helped me locate it but I couldn’t dive down and pick it up so i pulled up the CQR and spent the night in the marina. The following day a dive school was coming in so I ran to their pontoon and asked the lady if she could help me find the anchor on the sea bed, she happily obliged and with all her heavy gear she walked to my berth. There

Excitement in the Marina - Anchor 0 - Chris 1

was excitement in the marina and I went out to where the anchor was with 5 people on board, the lady jumped off the boat found it in 5 minutes. I was overjoyed, kissing her like the deity that she is and offered her some money. She looked at me offended and said ‘Pay it Forward’ – that ladies and gentlemen is karma. She made my day!

Thomas on a steel 42 footer which he bought for a song at 13000 euros educated me on the usage of SSB radio’s and dispelled the myth that you need a pactor modem to send and receive data, all you need is a computer and the PSK protocol.

Reluctantly it was time to leave, I was talking to David and to illustrate a point about how people do have an adventurous spirit I called over a random person and asked him if he wanted to sail to las palmas with me. He thought about it for 5 seconds and said ‘Sure .. why not’. David not to be outdone also agreed, I now

Now this is a boat! 42' of steel

had two people who had never sailed onboard, I tried to scare them into reality of what they were about to face. We tacked 8 times upwind to clear the headland then went on a broad reach followed by going downwind, the journey took 16 hours. If I had turned back after the first hour I think their green faces would have both readily agreed. I made them take anti-vomit tablets, David decided to take some sleeping pills unbeknown to me and fell asleep for the whole trip.

Steve and Sasha arrive in Las Palmas - a trip they will never forget

The windvane broke at 0200 and I was outside hand sailing for the rest of the trip, it is not something I will ever repeat. The responsibility of having two people on board, the fact that they couldn’t sail, the fact that one was knocked out … it was stressful! I normally simply sleep but because I had guests I their lives weighing on my conscious so I had to keep a watch, the windvane breaking was the icing on the cake. In the morning I roused David from his drug induced slumber and got him to steer for the last 4 hours while I got some sleep before we got to the harbour. Never before has land been so close yet so far.

The trump card was the fact that David had forgotten his passport so I had to buy his ticket for the ferry to take him home, this was after walking around visiting the police stations and German embassy to try and get them to stamp his ticket. they only check for your passport when buying the ticket, not thank god when boarding.

Tintin (Bob) and his faithful servant

So now I am in Las Palmas, been here almost a week, it’s a vile marina, best described as a cesspit. The facilities are beyond poor and there are 1000 odd boats here, toilets have no toilet seats let alone a lock. There is no real excitement and I am counting down the days till I can leave. I bought a satalite phone and a new Neptune windvane for which I am awaiting delivery. The people berthed here are great and there is a real bustling community for children who are educated onboard and jump from ship to ship for lessons in self defence, painting. I don my hat at the families for living this life and the experiences the children gain.

Pontoon party

Since I have been here there has been a party on our pontoon, which is certainly the liveliest. The Italians cooked a pasta dish. Was also invited onboard a Swedish couples boat for dinner along with another solo sailor called Pete, they have a website http://adventureswithsyingeborg.blogspot.com/ , fantastic couple .

Now I am deciding whether to wait in LP or see more of the Canaries and return to fit my windvane. I will be here for at least another 3 weeks if anyone wants a cheap holiday.

 

 

 

Dinner aboard Ingeberg

Your typical poster in the Marina