CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN

Oct 25

We motored through the night in company with our US friends on Djarrka. Morning brought dense fog and although Djarrka was only 1/8 mile away, we could not see their boat. Sometime during the night, Djarrka's fuel tank had sprung a leak and emptied their diesel. This didn't leave them enough to motor the 4 days to Canaries so we rejoiced when the wind finally filled in and we were able to sail, albeit slow.

We dodged lots of fishing boats, nets 3 km long and ships (some 1 km long!) and encountered other sailboats heading to the Canaries to join the ARC race. This Atlantic Rally Crossing happens every year from Grand Canary to St Lucia in the Caribbean. It costs $$$$ so we are definitely NARC's!
Ascension partook in the very first ARC race when its owners (whose name was Bailey, my maiden name) sailed the boat from France where they bought it in 1984. So Ascension had already done its circumnavigation when we reached France! The strangest thing happened on the dock in France when the light was hitting the boat a certain way and a friend noticed something peculiar on the bow. He said "I see the letters S-E-V-E-R-A-N-C-E underneath the name ASCENSION. Our boat's name was "Severance" when it left France all those years ago. We had never seen the letters showing through before and haven't since!

Nights on watch were quite cold so we bundle up in a blanket in the cockpit. But the days were still hot and so the shorts came back out. We were inundated by thousands of bugs, biting flies, crickets, dragon flies, butterflies, fleas and tiny fruit flies, to name just some! We also had a tired little yellow bird try to land for a rest. Bear in mind we were 50 miles off the African coast!
At 7 pm and we prepared for our third night at sea, motoring in the fog again! It made it hard to see hazards in the water as the wooden fishing boats don't show up on radar. The seas were pretty flat so it was comfortable but we were wishing for wind again.

Suddenly Gord was reaching for the binoculars. "What in the world is that!" he exclaimed. As we drew closer, we could see a large round orange ball floating in the water. Atop was some sort of antenna, a beacon? and below, a rope attached to something in the water. Bear in mind that this was off the coast of Morocco and in the most active hashish drug trading area in the world. We had heard stories of drops where a spotter plane would retrieve the cargo. Needless to say, we hightailed it out of the vicinity as quickly as we could.

All in all, we had a good trip to the Canary Islands. Good thing we left when we did because the bar across the Marina in Morocco has been closed ever since!!


Playa Francesca

Oct 29

As we approached the island of Graciosa, a lunar landscape emerged on the horizon, sandy low volcanic cones, no vegetation in sight.. The island is only 6.5 km long and 3 km wide . We anchored in a protected little  bay called Playa Francesca. There were about 15 boats anchored in the bay, only a few doing the ARC.

We were expected to check in with the Policia at the nearby small town but we didn't have enough gas to take our dinghy there. So we hitched a ride with Djarrka, taking along our fuel jug to fill.

The town was tiny with new small white square buildings and streets of sand.  Most of the buildings seemed to be part of some sort of basic resort complex. Overweight tourists basked on the beach.

The harbor was full of little fishing boats enclosed by a seawall walkway.

We successfully completed our checkin procedures, but our quest for gas was not so successful. We discovered that there was no gas for sale on the entire island. All the vehicles used diesel.

We perused all the restaurants in town to find the cheapest one to have lunch. We settled on a lunch of 4 tomato slices topped with a can of tuna, some bread, fried potatoes and
a slice of melon.

. It was a pleasant walk from the town back to the anchorage, along a sandy road and deserted beach with a backdrop of vivid shapes of volcanic landscape.

In the evenings everyone in the anchorage went ashore for a beach get together. In addition to the new group of friends we made in Morocco, there were cruisers from Belgium, France, Spain, the US and even Indonesia. I really wished that I knew more languages as most Europeans speak at least 4 or 5. Everyone assumes that if we are from Canada we should speak French!

Steve from Music supplied the entertainment.

Oct 30

12 of us congregated on the beach to climb up to the top of the volcanic crater that overlooked the anchorage. It was a long steep climb over loose shale and lava but the view from the top was pretty spectacular.

We all took photos of each other with the boats anchored in the bay far below surrounded by the  barren expanse of desert.


Sara & GB, Djarrka

Yensen, Brian, Mike, Traveler

Gord & Ginny

Eva & Steve, Liz & Tom




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