Why nobody goes cruising in the Canary Islands
In Las Palmas we met a Danish cruiser, who lived on her boat in Las Palmas Marina. She had bought the boat in Spain six years earlier, had sailed it down to Las Palmas, and now the boat had never since been out of the marina.
She knew of a lot of other sailors who like her was stuck in Las Palmas, as she explained it. The reason was that you couldn't sail anywhere
without having to sail against the wind at some point, since the wind is always blowing from the north east. On top of that there weren't that many places to go either, she told us, which we found out for our selves after a couple of very disappointing anchorages in Gran Canary: One by the airport and another by an oil depot and wind farm.
The day before we left for Lanzarote, Henrik and I laughed a bit at those sailors in Las Palmas Marina, who never sailed anywhere, because they had to sail against the wind. Henrik said that we weren't that kind of sailors. We would of course sail against the wind, if it were necessary to go somewhere. I agreed with him, but mainly because I couldn't remember how it was. But now I know why nobody goes cruising in the Canary Islands!
After one day in Puerto Mogán we set off with the prospect of tacking against the current and wind for two days (20-25 knots of wind and 1-2 metres waves). The boat heeled over some times up to 30 degrees, and I was tired and angry, and I wondered if it was possible to get a toilet on a
gyroscopic hanging or at least the possibility of heeling it. I made Henrik promise me that if I ever suggested going somewhere that would mean several days of sailing against the wind, he should immediately remind me of how that is. I do think it is weird, though, that should we have changed the course 180 degrees, we would have a wonderful sail!
Fortunately, we got in lee of Fuerte Ventura after a day’s sail, but after some time the wind died down completely so we had to run the engine, even though we were unsure of how much fuel we had left. Ten nautical miles before we reached Lanzarote we ran out of fuel of course, so we had to tack the last miles and into the marina and fuel station with sails only.
It was very nerve-racking! I was at the helm obeying orders, while Henrik was controlling the sails. The marinero was at the dock taking pictures or filming, which I thought was pretty cool, until I realised that they probably take a picture of every boat that comes in, in case they should sail away without paying.
However, we have now arrived at Lanzarote and have 10 days of preparations and count-down ahead, before we sail across the Atlantic – this time luckily with the wind!
All photos and blog by Signe Dorothea Storr - Free lance Journalist