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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lanzarota Fuerteventura Papagayo to Corralejo 28 November 2010

We had three very pleasant days at anchor off the south coast of Lanzarote, snorkelling everyday and generally relaxing on board in very calm weather. Replaced the prop anode - first time I have done this with the boat in the water - turned out to be very quick, easy job.

23 November motored the 7 miles to Corralejo marina on Fuerteventura. Rules are that stays up to 3 days are at the discretion of the harbour master, longer stays need to be approved in writing from Las Palmas - filled in appropriate form which the harbour master emailed to Las Palmas. The next day approval was received so we can stay here till after the expected storm Monday 29/ Tuesday has passed us.
Usually the Azores high, which is normally situated to the north of the Canaries forces any Atlantic depressions to pass well to the north of us. This time the depression has displaced the high pressure and so we are going to be at its mercy. SWerly Winds gusting up to 50 knots are expected - hence our early arrival in Correlejo which, being on the northern tip of Fuerteventura, is well protected from Southerlies.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sail La Palma to Lanzarote 19 to 20 November 2010

Left Santa Cruz, LA Palma at 0830hrs having dropped Margreet off at the airport.
Wind was a light North 2 to 3 - not enough to sail but enough to add a knot to our motoring speed as we headed almost due east for the gap between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, some 210 nmiles away.

Attempted to sail a couple of times as the wind increased for a while, but had to motor-sail most of the way. Occassional went under a dark cloud which produced some rain but nothing significant.

After a pleasant, uneventful trip, anchored off the Papagayo Beach south Lanzarote at 1740 hours on 20 November with enough daylight to have a quick snorkel to check the anchor. Unfortunately the bottom here is strewn with large rocks - the anchor had hooked one of these. As the wind was forecast to be light overnight we did not reanchor but kept the anchor alarm on all night.

Landfall Lanzarote.

Next morning we reanchored (28deg 51.00N 013deg 47.67W in 10meters water, 60 meters chain), only to find that what we thought was sand, was again rocks. However, with very light winds forecast for the next day or so, we plan to just stay put for the time being.

Heading East 19 November 2010

Just dropped Margreet off at airport at 0700 hrs and getting ready to cast off and head east. Not sure where we make landfall - could be Tenerife south tonight, Tenerife North or Las Palmas Gran Canaria tomorrow morning, or Fuerteventura tomorrow afternoon.
We shall see

Friday, November 19, 2010

La Palma circumnavigation by car 18 November 2010

Rented a car and made a clockwise circumnavigation of La Palma. The route took us first south past the airport

through various banana plantations

to Fuencaliente close to the southern point of the island

before heading north up the west coast to the south west canyon of the Caldera Taburiente near Tazacourte. The road up the steep side of the canyon was quite an engineering feat, and several times the rock had had to be cut vertically

At the top we stopped for coffee at a cafe / mirador overlooking the canyon with banana plantations surrounding Los Llanos de Aridane, the second city of the island, on the other side.

On the way we passed several Avacado trees drooping with fruit.

The route then took us to Zarza

where we stopped at the small museum to view the strange rock engravings left by the Benahoares, the former inhabitants of the area.

As we approached the north of the island visibility dropped to 20 meters or as we entered the low cloud.

The hillsides were cut by deep ravines

The bus stops in this part of the island have been painted with rural scenes.

Stopped at the pretty coastal town of San Andres in the northwest.

Here there were several superb examples of the Dragon Tree - first seen by us on Porto Santo.

There were also several Tulip trees in full bloom.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

La Palma, 13 November 2010

By 0930 on Saturday 13 November we had rented a car from Pemai car rental for 30 Euros/day and set off for our first tour of the island of La Palma. Our Argentinian friend Alberto from S/V Louanjo joined us for the trip which added to our enjoyment.

The island is very mountainous, especially the northern half, with one of its main features being the huge Caldera de Tabauriente which is a pear-shaped cloud filled depression.

From the capital Santa Cruz, where we are moored, we took the LP04 road which snakes its tortuous path through the mountains to the north of the Caldera.

The first few miles took us through farmed areas and then through the cloud where the vegitation was dominated by pine forests.
As the road climbed higher, we left the pines behind and entered a surreal area above the clouds where the vegitation became what one would associate with arid regions. The sky became a deep blue.

On the rim of the caldera, only the rocky peaks were visible above the clouds.

Jeannette & Margreet decided it was a good spot to greet the sun.

Around the rim of the crater, there are some of the clearest skies in the world and very little light pollution due to its remoteness - a statistic which has attracted the astronomical researchers from many countries. There are over 20 observatories perched on the rim.
Some , like the British one above, are robotic telescopes which can be controlled remotely from the host countries.

Above are two huge mirror telescopes, the MAGIC (Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov Telescope) Florian Goebel telescopes. They detect particle showers released by cosmic gamma-rays, using the Cherenkov radiation, i.e., faint light radiated by the charged particles in the showers. With a diameter of 17 meters for the reflecting surface, they are the largest in the world. Florian Goebel died aged 35 when he fell 10 meters when fixing a camera on the telescope (info from Wikipedia).

The highest point on the island is Roque de los Muchados - 2426 meters above sea level, which can, amazingly be reached by car.

Amazingly, Mount Teide, the 3718 meter high volcanic peak on Tenerife was clearly visible above the cloud some 70 nautical miles away.

As we descended, the vegitation went through the same changes as on the way up and the temperature steadily increased. We stopped for a picnic overlooking a small vineyard.

The road suddenly descended the almost vertical sides of the south west end of the Taburiente Caldera as drew near to Puerto Tazacorte. Whereever possible, banana plantations had been planted, some covered with a sort of greenhouse made of netting - similar to those we had seen on Fuerteventura.

The island of El Hierro, some 50 nmiles away is just visible on the horizon. El Hierro was considered by the ancients to be at the western edge of the known world. Until the International Meridian Conference held Washington DC, USA, in October 1884, Spain's zero Meridian used to pass through Punta Orchilla on the SW tip of El Hierro.
Twenty-five nations participated in the conference. The following were among the resolutions adopted by the conference:

1. That it is the opinion of this Congress that it is desirable to adopt a single prime meridian for all nations, in place of the multiplicity of initial meridians which now exist.
2. That the Conference proposes to the Governments here represented the adoption of the meridian passing through the centre of the transit instrument at the Observatory of Greenwich as the initial meridian for longitude.
3. That from this meridian longitude shall be counted in two directions up to 180 degrees, east longitude being plus and west longitude minus.

Resolution 2, fixing the meridian at Greenwich, was passed 22–1 (San Domingo, now the Dominican Republic, voted against); France and Brazil abstained. The French did not adopt the Greenwich meridian until 1911.[1] (Source - Wikipedia).

We stopped in Tazacorte for a welcome icecream.

The strengthening work on the outer mole of the port of Tazacorte can be seen in the distance.

Close-up of the massive sea wall.

New peaceful marina of Tazacorte.

More Bananas
An interesting light effect in the late afternoon - the sun is low enough in the sky to illuminate the hills under the cloud.
The Lp02/LP03 road entered a new 2 km tunnel obviating the need to climb back into the clouds to re-reach Santa Cruz.