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Last update Oktober 24 2011.
Joho can no longer stay in the marina of Las Palmas. Everything must move for the ARC rally. This rally is sometimes -jokingly- called Atlantic Rally for Cripples, we think that's very funny. There also seems to exist a non-ARC, this is a large group of poor sailors who sail to the Caribbean in a big group (for free). We go to the anchorage in Las Palmas, but it's not an option, it is already full. So we decide, despite the bad weatherforecast to sail to the south part of Gran Canaria. There is absolutely no wind and we motor close to the coast. How very different it looks from the waterfront. The stop over for the evening is Playa del Inglés, and the anchorage is a reasonable one for the Canary Islands.
The next morning, Sunday, October 2nd we leave again, now on sail. But the wind is still in the wrong direction and we don't really know what to do. There are no anchorages in the south of Gran Canaria with shelter for this kind of wind. Puerto de Morgan, where we actually wanted to go, looks bad. Waves roll in. Tenerife is also not a option as the wind comes from the west. So we go around the corner of Gran Canaria until we find a small beach with a headland that offers some SW protection. Once we are at Playa Venguera our anemometer says 20 knots, ughh.
Fortunately the wind abates and turns towards north at the end of the afternoon. We sail to Puerto de Morgan about 10 miles away to spend the night. We are alone in the anchorage and the following day we know why. There is still a southerly swell, JoHo rolls to and fro. The water almost touches our gangways.
After this terrible night we start the motor early and sail in the morning to Tenerife. It is a whole day of motorsailing. The sea is fortunately fairly quiet and the anchorage the Montana Roja comes into view. The Montana Roja is located at the airport of Tenerife and we regularly see an airplane takeoff. But up close the anchorage is too dangerous, there are high waves coming in. We go on.
Meanwhile the sun starts to go under and our next plan is to go to Los Cristianos on the southern part of Tenerife. There is a breeze now so we can at least sail this last stretch. But we're unlucky again, it is no longer permitted to anchor at Los Cristianos and there's no place in the marina.
New plan is to go to La Gomera, it's late at night then. We are barely in the channel between Tenerife and la Gomera or the is a thunderstorm breaking loose. After a while the wind is coming from all directions. We change our directions three times that night. In the morning, the world looks still grey... Puerto de Santiago is in sight and there is no anchoring possibility either. But we are so tired we go into the small fishing harbour. There is still a place for JoHo and with the help of two locals we fasten our lines.
After 5 minutes the harbour police is coming to tell we cannot stay. But seeing our faces the official relents and lets us rest a few hours. After a short break we leave there with no wind, we start the engine once again. Up to Puerto de Vueltas also called Valle Gran Rey.
In Puerto de Vueltas we stayed for a few days at anchor before we sailed of again. Not the best anchorage, but good enough when you're exhausted and considering the weather outside. On Friday, october 7th we set sail for Isla La Palma, the other option is el Hierro, but there is still the danger of an eruption. The weatherforecast looks good, 15 knots from the north-east. Now we know that the wind can accelerate between the islands. But normally there are no waves involved. I can only say we had 5-6 meters high, braking waves and a consistant of 35, maximum of 45 knots of wind. We got wet in our cockpit, 't was like a bathtub. No fun ride.
We were happy when we sailed into Tazacorte marina on La Palma Island. What a day, indeed what a week. But when we met Daan and Maarten from the Lola (and after some stiff drinks and some snacks) all was forgotten soon.
International Astrophysical Observatory at La Palma Island
The followings days we did some serious site seeing with a rental car. This island is really a must. We went to the highest point at Roque de los Muchachos (2426m) and passed the Observatorio Astrofisico, what a sight! The unique conditions at La Palma make that many different countries have their telescopes installed here.
On the top we walk through a narrow track and see a beautiful view over and into the Caldera. It is so beautiful that it is difficult to describe. Everywhere we see deep gorges.
At La Zarza we stop for ancient petroglyphs. At La Fajana we look out over the saltwater pools, the sea being very rough. The southern part is volcanic craters and old lava flows. We stop at the visitors center of San Antonio (eruption in 1677) and the Teneguia (erupted in 1971) crater. In the museum we hear of the underwater eruption in El Hierro occuring in the present time. Weird. Outside the museum we walk on the crater rim of San Antonio and visited the Teneguia volcano, There we see El Hierro and La Gomera in the distance. Then a very small volcanic dirtroad drive to the lighthouses and the salt pans.
We took a very dangerous road to the Caldera Taburiente, the biggest caldera here. 27 kloms. The road continues to climb up till over 1000 meters. Everywhere are pine trees. Deep canyons can be see here everywhere too and we feel if there's no end to the road. Finally we are on top and we are once again rewarded with stunning vistas and views.
But we also received sad news from John's parents at home. John's grandmother has passed away and we're sad but happy at the same time that we just visited granny in the Netherlands before we went back to Joho. It's nice to have a good last reminder.
The Island of La Palma
The next few days are spent at the marina. The weatherforecasts look good and on Thursday, October 13, we start from Tazacorte marina with final destination the Cape Verdes. Wind comes from all directions and mostly light to nothing. JoHo is about 15 nm from the coast, when we hear a huge snap. The genoa came down and is in the water. We try as best as we can to pull the genoa back on the deck. Bad luck again.
We start the engine and sail back to Tazacorte marina. There we find we're very lucky the genoa and roller-reef systenm are fine. But we also find out one of the the stays has a crack in its terminal... A bigger problem. We have to change the stays for we don't trust them as they are (they're all the same age) so we order all stuff in Gomera and hope it will arrive soon.
The days that follow, John and Maarten (of s/y Lola) are busy preparing everthing before all the materials comes. They take apart the old stays and all and produce and weld some stainless steel parts together and replaced the old point of attachment (that caused the actual breakdown). When everything is ready on tuesday October 18th, we still have to wait for the parts from La Gomera.
On Wednesday, October 19th, they deliver everything!! Five days after the order!! WOW.
Now the serious work starts. John has to customize everything, you should see it as a do-it-your-own package. 50 metres of stainless steel wire 10mm and 6 StayLock terminals and 3 Selden spanners are the basics, John built these these into 2 shrouds and a new backstay. When all stays are ready, Maarten helps John to attach the lot on top off the mast. It took them three days, as on Saturday morning, October 22 JoHo was ready to sail again. If winds are right the travell to the Cape Verdes can begin.
If you're interested in sailing the BAHAMAS, BERMUDA, MALDIVES or BONAIRE have a look at our books at SAILADVENTURES where the books are available online.
You can always mail us for more info on these cruising grounds or cruising in general, we'll gladly help you out.
JoHo is in the marina of Tazacorte on the Island of La Palma at 28 °38,6' N - 17°56,6' W.
You can reach us by e-mail and Sat phone (SMS) on 00870776456078.
To go off again and sail to less explored areas, maybe begin the start of a circumnavigation (although to circumnavigate is not the goal).
JoHo will be our main address, floating office and home for the next year.
Still we'll have to work some in between where and when possible, compiling a few cruising guides on our way.
John and Jolanda.