On Wednesday we finally extricated ourselves from Santa Cruz.
We have been there for a very expensive month and are ready to be sailing again.
We sailed down the coast of Tenerife, intending to anchor just before San Miguel marina, but it was dark when we got there and decided it was too dangerous to attempt an unknown anchorage, which is home to several unlit ship sized mooring buoys. The airport lights were also a hazard, as they totally ruin any night vision…….the runway runs parallel to the anchorage……..maybe not the quietest of spots either!!

Anchoring abandoned, we pushed on for San Miguel marina.
As we came in the entry, we spotted ‘Grayhound’, the 1870s replica pilot cutter with Marcus, Freya and their two year old son, Malachi onboard. We first met them in Plymouth and then again in the Scillies. After finding our berth, we made our way round to see them and returned the bottle opener that we purloined back in July!

We spent a couple of hours with them, helping to load all their provisions on board. They carry three crew and up to 8 paying guests, so victualling for 14 for a month or more is a mammoth undertaking, but our Marcus was in his element, hauling on the halyard to swing the supplies from shore to ship.

Seeing their stores laid out and covering every surface of their large saloon, I began to think that we may have to rethink our quantities, especially as there are few supermarkets in the Cape Verdes and things like milk, wine, flour, rice, jam and cereal will be hard to find. We should be fine with fresh fruit and veg and should be able to stock up again on those before heading for Brazil, but stocking up for a month now looks like the best plan.

We set off south on Thursday, after another ‘Full English’ breakfast to set us up for the day, up at the hotel complex. We had hoped to make it as far as Los Gigantos, but the wind dropped and we decided to anchor off the beach at Los Christianos. Having honed our rusty anchoring skills with three attempts at setting the anchor, we spent a quiet night aboard.

On Friday the wind had dropped completely and we were faced with an overnight motor to get to Las Palmas on Saturday, or to go back up to Santa Cruz for the night and then take a broad reach to Gran Canaria, across the acceleration zone at the top of the island early on Saturday morning.
We decided on the latter and had a great sail across, arriving in Las Palmas marina at 1700hrs. We anchored outside the marina, barbecued off the back of the boat and then lowered the dinghy for a quick snoop around the marina, looking at all the ARC boats, ‘dressed’ and nervously awaiting their departure on Sunday morning.

Today, being Sunday is our day off. We have decided that there should be no jobs on a Sunday……so we set off into the marina again to say Bon Voyage to ‘Hecuba’, with Lawrence from Sevenoaks on board, who we met in La Corunia and to ‘Low Profile’ a Moody 47 with Hamish and Deirdre aboard. We first met them at the RAF club in September 2012.
It is great to meet up with people we have met before. It gives us a sense of belonging to a big floating community. After visiting both ARC boats, we left them to their last minute preparations and went ashore to watch the fleet leaving to line up at the start line.

There was a real carnival atmosphere with bands playing and crowds of locals lining the breakwaters to wave the boats off. We gilled around in the dinghy for a while, catching a little more of the excitement of all the crews who have been building to this moment for so long………..that’ll be us soon!

At present, we are waiting on our anchorage in a queue to be called into the now empty marina, so that we can moor up securely, ready for loading children, gear and supplies aboard.
We will stay here for a couple of days and then we’ll do some day sails around the islands to make sure all our sea legs are screwed on and working well!
One more sleep and Dan and Jenni will be here!! …….VERY EXCITED!

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