Our crossing from Fuerteventura to Gran Canaria was awesome, sailing on a beam reach with 15ish knots of wind and we flew along. We made landfall at Las Palmas as we needed to drop a sail off for some adjustments before the Atlantic crossing. We spent a couple of days in the huge marina (already a lot of ARC boats here), mainly trying to track down some filters for our watermaker (no luck, of course we have non-standard sizes – we like to be different), then we set sail again along the East coast looking for an anchorage. The East coast looks very commercial and built up, but we found a reasonable place to anchor off at Taliarte. Sailing downwind most of the way, around the fish farms before Maspalomas on the SE tip, and found a beautiful anchorage on the South coast in Bahia de la Melonera by the cliffs. It was so peaceful here we stayed a couple of days before moving on further along the coast to Puerto de Mogan, a traditional fishing harbour which has embraced tourism but in a very tasteful way. The harbour is lovely and clean, beautiful buildings and colourful plants and cacti everywhere. We anchored beneath the cliffs for protection and had great snorkelling around the rocks although it was rather choppy at times with all the tour boats and jet bikes roaring past.
Our Aussie pals Steve and Angela, who we had met in Almerimar on the hard, arrived in their yacht Pannikin a day or so after us, and we spent a great couple of days with them at Mogan eating, drinking and pondering over whether or not to get to Tenerife as there were strong winds forecast. After advice from a ‘local’ Frenchman, Michel, who has lived here for 20 yrs, we decided not to go as there are apparently not too many sheltered anchorages in Tenerife and our 25-30 knots forecast could get up to 50 in the acceleration zones between the islands. So we stayed put. Whilst sitting on deck having breakfast one day, we spotted what we think was a young Peregrine Falcon diving down from the cliff top and chasing pigeons and then a poor little tern, not having any luck with his hunting skills he returned to the high cliffs hungry.
On Monday morning we sailed in tandem with Pannikin a few miles back east, to Anfi del Mar, where we anchored in a very pretty spot with a few other boats. We snorkelled to check the anchor as usual, and the holding is good in about 8m over sand. Perfect! We caught a fish that afternoon too, only a tiddler of a mackerel, so with him as bait Jez and Steve ventured off in Mr Slappy (their dinghy!) towards the breakwater to try and catch some dinner for the BBQ. A couple of hours (and beers) later they returned empty handed, so we had pork curry for dinner.
The following day our fishing improved somewhat with a tip on bait from Steve – a glue made from flour and water with a bit of mackerel added and rolled into a ball. We caught four more little mackerel type fish which went on the BBQ for a starter.
We also caught the bus with Steve and Ange into Puerto Rico, a large touristy town further west. We had a pleasant stroll around the harbour and after a chicken and chips lunch with a cold beer we returned back to the boats only to find a large choppy swell coming into the anchorage and both yachts horsing about. Joy was making rather a meal of it as her bow buried itself into the waves and she pulled back on the anchor. It proved rather difficult getting back on board from the dinghy, and so instant decision made we got anchors up and went in search for more shelter.
We sailed further east for about 5 miles and tucked ourselves in behind the large cement works harbour wall, it was like a different day. Flat calm sea, great protection and a sandy bottom for a good hold. No other boats here except for a few small local fishing boats on mooring buoys and there was a small beach and cliffs behind us. Although the cement works is a little unattractive, noisy and dusty, the water was crystal clear and made excellent snorkelling, lots of fish over the rocks and we even spotted a turtle swimming beneath us which we had a job keeping up with! At about 2ft wide he swam gracefully and apparently with little effort, but outswam us both and he disappeared into the blue. We saw many more turtles the following day from the boat, and with a reasonable forecast we said our goodbyes to Steve and Angela and headed off back towards Las Palmas for the ARC+ preparations.
Unfortunately we encountered rather large swell and not enough wind to beat into, so it wasn’t a particularly pleasant trip back but we arrived in Las Palmas marina Sunday afternoon and checked in with the ARC+ office. Now it is becoming a reality, our Atlantic crossing is getting closer and the final week of preparation is underway. Graham our crewmate from Dover arrived Monday and with seminars and inspections (oh, and parties) during the week we will be kept very busy until we cross the start line Sunday lunchtime….