Saturday, October 28, 2006

More Maintenance & Rig Problems

28th October 2006
Fliss ...................

Just to let you know were still in Gran Canaria.

Pete went up the mast yesterday to put on the baggywrinkles (actually plastic piping on the shrouds) to stop chaffing on the downwind sailing & as I hoisted him up a rivet fell to the deck. On inspection, the Jumper-stay plate is badly buckeld and the rivets are freely popping out. So we need a rigger to come out.

We cannot work-out what has caused this!

The chap recomended is sick so we have to call him back on Monday. Why do you find out these things late on a Friday?

We wouldn't leave anyway as there is no wind and what little there is is a south-westerley (BANG ON THE NOSE) plus the sea condiition is reported to be rough....

Some young kids told us that Gran Canaria is meant to be an unlucky place a bit like the Eagles song "Hotel Califorinia" "you can check in but you can never leave".... were hoping that the rigging gets sorted asap and the winds change so we can be on our way.

It's nice here but very remote & I would relish a change of scenery.

The week has been full-on maintenance. Most of this has been with varnishing the cockpit since, it takes longer to apply the masking tape and remove it all again than it does to actually do the varnishing itself. After 5 coats, I have run out of masking tape so that will have to do until I can find a Ferretaria (Hardware Shop).

As well as this, I have been picking-out the black gunk that seals the teak cockpit floor since there are signs of leaks. Each one takes over an hour to tease-out and then clean and sand in the groove. This is now done and new gunk has been applied. This was a delicate job since the black gunk is like bitumen - get a tiny spot on anywhere and it spreads to cover everything.

The final job was to put anti-chafe on the shrouds and spreaders to stop the mainsail rubbing itself to death on the downwind legs. A usual rig-check and lubricate would then follow. As Fliss has mentioned, we found our problem with the Port-side jumper-stay spreader so we are going to be here longer than expected.

Time then for more jobs! Hmmmm - next most important.....! Paint the outboard motor, strip and paint the thingy that holds it to the rubber dinghy, Varnish the entrance to the companian-way, create copies of passports & ships papers for Cap Verdes officials, fix the catch on the wet-locker door, Haircuts, Henna Fliss' hair..................
I finally plucked up the courage to get my haircut and the girl next door in the dive-boat suggested a salon in the next apartments to Yumbo.
Pete came with me as he seems to communicate better than me in pidgeon Spanish.
Anyway the salon was a one-man band set in dingy apartments and I had second thoughts about the venue. The hairdresser who, I believe must have been a male before, looked at the picture I had and said "no problem".
The end result was superb and my hair is now back to how I like it (standard bob) I'm really thrilled at the end result.
After that we popped into the shopping centre and bought my favourite face oil, the shop assistant took a bit of a shine to me & gave 200 Euros worth of free testers of expensive face creams. He said that Pete had a double and a guy working downstairs looked just like him, Pete didn't want to check him out as "downstairs" is the gay & transvestite area.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A week with the Family

Sunday 22nd October 2006


Hello all, sorry we haven’t sent an update for a while but we’ve been busy with Mum, Ash & Naomi.

We left Las Palmas last Saturday bound for Maspalomas and had a really pleasant sail down. Originally we were going to Puerto Rico as it appeared to be the closest marina to were they would be staying but after looking at the chart & the pilot book we opted for Pasisto Blanco which was only around 3 miles to the resort. Thank god we double checked as the original harbour would have been quite a taxi ride each day.

We arrived at Pasisto Blanco at 1pm and the marina office was closed but a really helpful chap asked us to moor alongside the fuelling station until they could allocate us a space. The mooring was snug close between two motor boats and as we approached we both looked in horror as they needed to part the two motor boats so we could get in also the fact that it was a bow-to mooring meant that it was going to be interesting! But Nadezhda behaved herself and there were two guys waiting to take our bow lines and a chap onboard who was going to arrange the stern lines. Now that’s what we call service!

It’s very cheap here only £10 per night and it’s a very quiet marina.

In the afternoon we took a taxi to find mums hotel and the first impression was that it was Butlins, but Butlins in the Eastern block before the wall came down!

Early night so that we could meet them at 10am Sunday morning.

We had a wonderful week with them; snorkelling, swimming and we also hired a car to see the interior, which was very similar to La Gomera but not as lush.

Naomi and Gran Canaria

Mums hotel turned out to be a great venue as we met some lovely people around the pool.

We met a sweet little girl who we thought must have been quite lonely so we adopted her and played secret agents around the pool, her code name was Dolphin Girl, Ash was Aqua Man and I was the Boss, she had a fantastic time as I would dish out top secret assignments of which Aqua Man & Dolphin Girl would have to complete. This little girl was besotted with Ashleigh and would come up to Ash clicking like a dolphin & rubbing her chin on his arm.

Naomi enjoying the pool

Naomi and friend

The downside to the hotel was that the food was terrible! So most of the time we would eat out but with chicken & chips being £2.75 it was no great hardship, buying food in the shops was a damn site more expensive.

Enjoying the food

And the beer...

One night Ash (Pete was struggling with a Margarita hangover) decided to go to Yumbo, being a reluctant participant (not that reluctant) I went along. Yumbo is a gay & transvestite persons paradise but we had heard that it was a good laugh in the evening and it was! These she/hemales stood a good six foot high in massive stilettos with bouffant wigs in peroxide blonde, the eye makeup was fantastic! arched eyebrows and eye shadow in every different colour. Why do they always have fantastic legs??

They put on a show which lasted an hour and a half and it wasn’t seedy just a lot of singing and elaborate customs. Towards the end of the show I and others were dragged up on the stage to be backing dancers. We performed dance routines to YMCA (mandatory song given the venue) and many other routines. It was a really fun night and we extricated ourselves at 1:30am to a lot of comments from the Drag Queens. During the course of the evening I made some male gay friends.

During the week I found a dentist. They took an x-ray and said that I had an ulcer brewing on one of my upper back teeth. The problem was that we have limited timescales so the only option available was to have the tooth taken out. They offered to do it there and then but as mum was over I opted for Saturday as Mum and Ash were due to leave early Saturday morning (4am).

He took the tooth out (which was not at all painful) showed me the ulcer on the tooth and said that within a matter of days I would have been in terrible pain. You can’t see the gap as the tooth was the very back one. He also repaired a crown, which was cracked and only charged me £50… In the UK I would have been looking at a lot of money.

Well, Mum, Ash & Naomi didn’t leave till Sunday morning as they got the date wrong so we all had a stay of execution!

Sad to see Mum, Ash & Naomi go as it’s been a wonderful time & thanks for a really great week.


My original plan was to work on Nadezhda in the mornings and meet-up with the gang in the afternoons. This was optimistic since we had a very full week and it was not fair to restrict everyone else to a meeting point half-way through the day so this current week has now been allocated for boat jobs.

The bungalows where Val, Ash and Naomi were staying was actually quite nice but the entertainment had us in stitches. The whole week’s entertainment was organised by one guy who must have been in his early twenties, and this went on from games during the day to evening entertainment. One night we had “Miss DunaFlor” night where three ladies were needed to complete the act. He stood on stage and expected some willing volunteers but none were forthcoming. So, he went around the pool pleading and cajoling with everyone and still had no takers. By this time, he was looking absolutely desperate and it looked like the entertainment was over. But eventually one brave lass agreed, and another, and eventually we set-up the girl on the table next to us by cheering and clapping when he went to her such that the peer-pressure forced her to make-up the threesome. The game was won by the girl we had set-up following a series of silly on-stage acts.

The car-hire was interesting. The mountains in the centre of the island were beautiful but Naomi did not like the twisty-turny roads and felt sick (she has already proved seasickness on Nadezhda a couple of years ago). We almost made it back to the bungalows when Naomi suddenly produced a jet of vomit across the back of the car. Fliss managed to catch a good deal in a plastic bag but the seat was saturated. Back at the boat, we removed the seat and scrubbed and hosed it and hoped it would dry before returning the car.

Gran Canaria Interior
The second car-hire day, we went to Puerto Mogan where there was a nice beach and the town was beautifully laid-out unlike many of the half-finished building sites that litter much of the Canaries. Ash and I went off to the cliffs where there was good snorkelling and numerous different types of fish to be seen. Fliss and Naomi met us there in a pedallo leaving Val to lounge on the beach reading. We all climbed aboard the pedallo and returned to the port where we took it up a canal/inlet much to the amusement of tourists who videoed two grown men pedalling a silly looking swan under the low bridges.


The silly looking swan was really hard work to peddle and the “two grown men” as they like to be called only peddled for 5 minutes at a time before declaring that they were knackered… I had taken the silly looking swan off the beach and outside the harbour wall which must have been a good 15 minutes peddling furiously with Naomi saying “faster, faster Auntie Babby”. The three point turns in the narrow canal/inlet created huge amount of amusement for onlookers. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so hard if we hadn’t have left the boarding ladder dragging in the water.


On return to the car, we found we had a parking ticket. We had checked to make sure there was no problem parking but further up the road, there was a small sign declaring residents only. When we returned the car, Mr Hire-Man said that we had to go back to Puerto Mogan in order to pay it. I think that they will have to come to us for payment since there is no payment information on the ticket!!

The clan have now gone back to Blighty leaving the place very, very quiet. This is made even more noticeable by the fact that the marina is a quiet backwater anyway. Oh well, back to the jobs and then on to the Cape Verdes!


Thursday 12th October 2006


Hello were still in Las Palmas as its boat maintenance week.

So not a lot to tell really….

I wandered in to Las Palmas today to have a look around whilst Pete installed the battery charger and serviced the windlass.

Just my luck it’s a bank holiday in Spain so everywhere was shut so I headed off to the tourist area of Las Palmas. You could be anywhere in Spain as it’s a long promenade of restaurants, bars & souvenir shops, there’s a lovely long clean sandy beach with massive surf.

Interesting enough very few foreigners and mainly Spanish, the Brits & Germans must be in Masplomas.

Being a major town there is fantastic shopping (not today though) and it’s very multicultural.

I think that wandering down the back streets at night wouldn’t be a good idea at all as during my expedition today I noticed hoards of Africans sitting on street corners.

The other day Pete & I had a wander around the city centre & found a fabulous shopping centre & supermarket. As we went up the escalator we heard a crash and a local man had tried to take a trolley up the escalator and of course as it went up the trolley fell back onto the man and knocked him out for a good 5 seconds, god knows what he was thinking as several bottles of wine had been innocent victims of fool hardy behaviour. The chap was ok but I would imagine felt a complete pilchard.

The guardrails have gone back as the fittings weren’t right, not exactly his fault as some fittings on the boat are imperial and some are metric. Were waiting for the guy to call us so we can pick them up.

Rowing practise today & I ‘m getting much better as I only rowed in one catamaran (owners out thank god)… I didn’t hit it I just sort of ran under it, a wave was to blame as it pushed me off course.

Were looking forward to seeing Mum, Ash & Naomi on Sunday morning. We’ll probably leave here tomorrow or early Saturday.


Quick one from me because I am servicing the roller-reefing (drum off and oil). Installed the new battery charger last night and this morning. Connected it up and fired-up the generator and it worked, pumping a good 28 amps into the batteries. Fifteen minutes later, the generator engine fluttered and went into idle and the battery charger died. I thought we had blown another charger but subsequently found that the generator cut-out switch had popped-out. It refused to be reset so I took the generator apart to find that the switch was part of a sealed unit. At this point, the switch reset itself so we are back in business after a lot of wasted time.

Boxed-in the wires to the battery charger to stop stuff in the locker snagging and pulling them out and I have given the windlass a very long overdue service. Of cause, many nuts were difficult to budge but WD40 and half an hour tapping them with a hammer persuaded them to budge (an old trick taught by my dad).

This week, as you can tell, is maintenance week. Lots more jobs to do but we shall slowly tick each one off before heading off to the Cape Verdes.

Back to Gran Canaria

Saturday 7th September 2006


Strange day yesterday as it was really quiet on the boat. Pete & I decided that we would go to the Fiesta in the evening. These shin-digs start at 10 and finish at 4am.

So after supper (chicken curry & rice) we headed off to the town it was about 9pm so en-route to the town we decided to say hello to an English couple moored in the marina. Really nice couple & we spent an hour with them before heading off into town.

The music was a dammed sight better than anything we have experienced in Portugal and it was very reminiscent of Bon Jovi, lot’s of fists in the air, arched back’s and falling to the floor praying it was a very dramatic performance from the ageing lead singer, mustn’t forgot the very tight jeans, chains and denim waist coat! Fantastic entertainment! Pete entertained the crowds with his Michael Flacherty on acid dance routine.

Back to the Chez Nadezhda at 12ish for a night cap and bed.

This morning conditions had eased and after checking the weather forecast we decided to leave at 12:30pm.

We stuck our head out of the harbour walls & bang straight into the acceleration zone.
In the time it had taken us to prepare the boat and leave the marina the wind had picked up.

The wind was brisk and short choppy waves meant an interesting departure from La Gomera. Two reefs in the main, reefed gib and stay sail we were screaming along at well over 8.5knots. Waves were slapping the side of the boat and Pete got wet.

It’s really strange as 10 miles out of La Gomera the wind died and we were becalmed and are now motoring.

Lovely hot day again.


We are very glad we stayed in La Gomera on Thursday and Friday since, even today, the acceleration zone blew a good Force 7. Luckily, the waves were not too big and the broad-reach was relatively comfortable.

After a short while of motoring, we again saw the Pilot whales. This time, they were not basking but were heading purposely in the same direction as us. We modified course and intercepted them and followed for 20 minutes before turning back on-track.

Pilot Whales off Tenerife and La Gomera


I think that our plan to run straight back to Las Palmas was little over ambitious as after we went past the headland the wind picked up in the acceleration zone & we had a good force 5 bang on the nose and steep choppy white seas. Nadezhda nose-dived for all it was worth.

Around 6pm we had to make a decision to either keep going or go into San Miguel marina, bearing in mind that the wind was screaming in the rigging and the marina had experienced serious storm damage in the past, we were concerned that it would be a difficult trying to moor alongside the pontoon.

With the thought of god knows how long beating Nadezhda & ourselves up we decided to check the marina out. Being a positive person I said to Pete “you never know it might be a sheltered marina” he laughed and said “Fat chance”.

Guess what! It was perfect inside the harbour walls, no wind at all, and two guys to take our lines. We settled down for the night as we were going to make another attempt on Las Palmas at 07:30am the next morning.

Strange place as the marina was half finished and there was a plush golf course but not a lot else. They are planning on adding another 340 pontoons but were not sure that they’ll get their money back but without doubt it’s a brilliant bolt-hole when the going gets tough.

We met a Scottish couple who keep their boat there and he laughed and said “Did you have fun out there as we been watching you bouncing up & down” he was amazed that we weren’t soaking wet but Pete & I have mastered the art of emergency ducking into the cockpit.


We had spoken to a couple from the river Hamble earlier in the day. They had been in San Miguel for over a month (it had taken them 3 years to get as far as the Canaries). The guy told me to keep the red buoys to port (as one should do) when entering the marina. I was glad of the advice because the buoys were no larger than a small anchor buoy and did not look like navigation buoys. We were close to low tide and could see the jagged rocks to the left-side of the entrance.

The marina was aligned directly into the prevailing wind and so berthing was straight into wind and no problem

Sunday 8th October 2006

We left at 07:45 and kept the two reefs in the main. There was no wind to start with so we motored with the view of trying to get as far North as possible before the wind set-in. This hope was dashed as we were slowed by currents off a headland to the North and we headed East for deeper water.

The wind soon kicked-in and with it came the steep, short chop. We were hard pressed with half the jib out and 2 reefs in the mainsail. Loads of leeway and heading South of East! We tacked out for about 5 miles and then tried to get some North again. We motor sailed in order to push through the waves that were pushing the nose of the boat off and stalling us. I was all for giving up the idea by about noon since there was an anchorage that we would pass (10 miles up the coast from our starting point), however, we managed to get a heading directly North and battled-on.

I was definitely ready for a rest. The nose of the boat was piling into the waves and bringing surges of water over the decks, the waves were impeding our progress and we were not doing Nadezhda any favours. Fliss was being her usual optimistic self and we did have a couple of marinas ahead.

Approaching Santa Cruz, we saw yachts heading our direction gliding gently with spinnakers up and we were suddenly out of the acceleration zone.

We decided to anchor for the night and try for Las Palmas the next day. The pilot book told us that there was a nice anchorage at Baia de Antequera right at the northern tip of Tenerife so we stopped there for the night.

Baia de Antequera

9th October 2006


Anyone who is thinking of leaving Gran Canaria for Tenerife and then going back to Gran Canaria take our advice DON’T…. it’s a real hard battle & very soul destroying! The journey back is only 95 miles but it has taken us 3 days and were not there yet, but we are determined to make it to make it to Las Palmas today.

Las Palmas will be a wonderful sight as from this point onwards its down wind sailing again.

This whole trip has been very reminiscent of our trip back from Ramsgate! Not to be repeated in a hurry.

Tuesday 10th October 2006


Hurrah! we finally made it back to Las Palmas at 07:30pm last night it was a sight to behold and I had a strange feeling of being home????

As we pulled into the anchorage we spotted Colin & Maureen & a Dutch boat called Rajac, we met Rajac into Porto Santo & Funchal.

Waving from Rajac was Gerrard (he was the Dutch guy who had the luxury boat in La Gomera) We couldn’t believe it as he had left a day after us and arrived the day before. He had been tipped off by a German guy who said head south of Gran Canaria and he did! Later on today I’m going to ask him how the trip was as ours was bloody awful.

Whilst in La Gomera Gerrard did mention that he was meeting some Dutch friends who were doing the same thing as us & I asked if the hull of the boat was black he couldn’t remember but I suspected that he was meeting Rajac and he was…. Small world.

We did ponder heading south of the island but discounted it as the acceleration zones are the worst in the Canaries. As someone said last night “no guts no glory” I prefer “less pain more gain”.

Pete’s gone to pick up the new guard rails & later we’ll take the mountain of washing to the launderette & get some provisions in as Nadezhda is old mother hubbard at the moment as we never expected the trip back to take so long.


The sail back from Tenerife went well to start with, close hauled on a flat sea. As we got further off land, the wind headed us until we could no longer make the top of Gran Canaria. The trouble with sailing here is that the islands bend the winds in unpredictable manners and without local knowledge, you are unsure of which tack will benefit you. Eventually, the wind died and we motor-sailed the final half of the trip.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A week with Stuart and Julie

Saturday 30th September 06


The alarm did not go off to get us up to catch the taxi but Fliss woke up on-time anyway. We went to the place where we agreed to meet the taxi and it did not show-up but one turned-up very quickly after we phoned again. Los Christianos still has life on the streets at 02:30 when we went to the airport.


Airports are wonderful places! it’s easy to waste time watching people coming & going especially the 18-30’s tourists! Pete was saddened when he realised he was 15 years to old to join in the fun.


As usual, the flight was delayed and we had a two-hour wait. Great to see Stuart and Julie and we finally got back to Nadezhda for a couple of “Sun-Uppers” before getting a couple of hours kip.

Sun-uppers....Los Christianas

Dad had sent us an extract from an internet site that suggested that the best place to see whales is off the North East of Tenerife at a place called Los Gigantes so we headed up there, a distance of 15 miles. We saw no sea life apart from a couple of flying-fish but as we approached the coastline reared-up into huge cliffs (probably why it’s called Los Gigantes). We approached and skirted the base of the cliffs until we found a small bay called Playa de Masco and dropped the anchor.

We were surrounded by high volcanic cliffs that rose layer upon layer of twisted shapes riddled by caves. Stuart summed them up as being like a huge chocolate fountain. that had been frozen in place. We imagined Pterodactyls swooping down from the caves as it got dark.

Stuart and I took the dinghy closer to the cliffs and went snorkelling (first use of our new dinghy-anchor). Shallows were formed next to the cliffs by huge boulders that had fallen from above. Between these were mini-gorges and caves. The marine life was better than any we have seen elsewhere, fish were everywhere in a multitude of different colours. There were red and yellow striped ones, iridescent blues and greens and each variety were different shapes from long skinny ones to others shaped like big flat ovals. Stuart spotted a squid curled-up in a hole. We dived down and could only see a couple of tentacles but they were enough to tell us that it was quite big and best left alone!


The Spanish are mad! we pulled out of the harbour and a jet skier came over & started to give us a load of verbal (I think we were sailing through their course) Pete told him quite clearly what he thought the guy should do. Really strange as we would be through the area in a few minutes.

Sunday 1st October 06

Pete did a wonderful cooked breakfast and we took the dinghy to shore to explore. We walked up an amazing canyon which was awesome as the rock face loomed high above you.

The Canyon

Baking hot day and Julie & Stewart decided that they would swim to shore. Julie was suffering from seasickness and really wanted to go to land. Like me she’s not a confident swimmer so she wore a buoyancy aid.

Whilst they were on land the surf got bigger and massive rollers started to crash on the beach Pete and I thought it would be an interesting swim back to the boat.

Whilst we watched them we saw them run towards the water and at that moment the 7th wave which was HUGE crashed into them. Pete looked at me and said “That’s going to hurt”

Julie & Stewart disappeared from sight for a few minutes and then we spotted Julie walking back up the beach.

The life jacket did what it was supposed to but she ended up by being rolled over & over in the surf it must have felt like being in a washing machine.

We gestured madly to them to walk to the jetty so we could pick them up. Poor Julie had to go back in the water as the waves were so big we couldn’t get to jetty for them to get in the dinghy. Her face was a picture of total fear.

Back safely onboard Nadezhda we all did the right thing and fell about laughing and taking the micky, I think Julie’s laughter was slightly hysterical as the experience had frightened her witless. Stewart we think timed all the waves knowing that the 7th wave was going to be the biggest of the day! Apparently as the wave appeared she stood still, wide eyed similar to a rabbit in a cars headlights….. sorry Julie but it was amusing!

What is it with our anchor buoy???? A small power boat decided that they would pick up our anchor buoy and attach their boat to it. I walked forward and explained that it was attached to our anchor & not a mooring buoy. The girl I spoke to spoke good enough English but said there was no problem, they didn’t move. Next thing Pete shouting at them as they had cut the anchor line was going to drive off with it leaving the ball floating in the water. Pete might have an athletic frame but can be quite intimidating and the Spanish guy jumped in the water and handed the rope back… Pete then rowed over & shouted at them “Why did you do this” they didn’t respond and drove off… he’s my hero as there was four men.

The sea was building and the waves started to get choppy so we decided to head back to Los Christianos for the night of course going through the jet ski area.

Back in harbour we pushed the boat out (pardon the pun) and had dinner out, all you could eat Thai & Chinese buffet for £4.98.

Nearly forget Julie is now known as “Flipper”………..

Monday 2nd October 06


We motored out of the harbour at about 10:00 and set course for Los Chritianos on La Gomera. About 5 minutes out, I spotted fins in the water and we were soon surrounded by large graceful brown dolphins. We altered course and had them swimming under our bows. The water was flat calm and clear and perfect for seeing them under the water. These dolphins are different to the ones in the Biscay since they are larger, slower and come up for air less often. We eventually left them and came across a school of grey dolphins.

We set sail and ghosted along at about 2.5 knots and eventually came across a small huddle of stationary catamarans. They were surrounded by snub-nosed pilot whales so we took-in the headsail and gently circled. They didn’t seem to mind us being there but seemed to make sure that the young ones were always the other side of an adult from the boat. They are slow, ponderous beasts that are graceful and calming and we spent about half an hour with them with the engine off just gently circling under the mainsail.

It’s been a real treat so far in Tenerife and we are so glad that Stuart and Flipper have been here with us to experience the last couple of days.


We really love it in the Canary islands! it has been a complete surprise as we imagined it to be bland & barren. Once you leave the holiday resorts the scenery becomes stunning, quite eerie but very majestic. The water is beautiful & so far the best marine life.

Tuesday 3rd October 06


Into town early in the morning to arrange car hire for two days.

I swear that I will never drive again when we get back to the UK.

Just like Madeira the roads go straight up with steep drops, sometimes on both sides!

Pete was warned in advance that under no circumstances was he to listen to my brother and take the bends on two wheels! It is stunning scenery, tall volcanic rocks and steep drops but far greener than all the other islands.

Car parked we headed off for a 3km walk which was up all the way! Stewart leading the way and making sure that his “troop” was safe at all times! We all felt very safe that our “Troop Commander” knew the route and that our safety was his main concern.

Fantastic walk as we climbed through the trees the scenery changes dramatically and becomes very green & lush.

We spotted a little bar and decided that refreshments were needed.

We got talking to a really nice local man who said that we were really lucky as you would normally need a jumper as the hills are usually surrounded by mist. We had walked with blazing sunshine & no mist to be seen.

Apparently there was a tunnel that was a serious short cut back to the other side of the mountain and the man said “turn the light off at the other end”.

A beer each for the men & diet cokes for the ladies we headed off to find the tunnel for the walk back.

Ummm, the tunnel appeared to be an old drainage tunnel but we decided to give it a go.

Try as we might we couldn’t find the light switch (I think he was pulling our legs) Pete & I went 1st with Stewart and Julie behind us.

It was ok until we lost the light and it went BLACK! We could hear Julie saying, very politely I might add, “I can’t do this” and she was really freaked out by the tunnel & the darkness.

Pete was in front with a stick bashing the walls and the floor making sure there were no pot holes and me holding his shirt. I lost grip of him and he appeared to a long way ahead of me but he stopped & I walked into him.

Stewart & Julie stayed in the tunnel and we fed back reports.

After about 10 minutes we both saw a small dot of light and we shouted back to Stew that we could see the end.

Towards the end of the tunnel we walked into water which came up to my knees and was seriously cold.

It was a very eerie experience but became eerier when the tunnel got lighter as your eyes play tricks on you and you imagine faces in the rocks.

Pete went back in to say that we were out and he had no response, After about 5 minutes he re-emerged and said “God that’s scary on your own”.

(Pete… I didn’t relish the idea of going back into the tunnel. The light was soon lost and my shouting for Stewart echoed back differently depending on whether the tunnel was reinforced with concrete or was bare rock. Suddenly, my shouts echoed as if I was in a great cavern and I decided to turn back (quickly) assuming that S & J had were taking the march back up and over the mountain)

We jumped in the car (5 minutes from the tunnel) and raced around the other side of the mountain to meet them, as luck would have it they were walking up the path as we drove up.

(Pete…….We took the car to the North side of the island and skirted around the coastline before climbing steeply again up the narrow switchbacks to the centre of the island and the Garajonay national park.)

Poor Julie! It seems that we have so far managed to do all her major fears, water, heights and darkness!

Back to the boat to find another way to scare her.

Wednesday 4th October 2006


Early start again to explore more of La Gomera. We headed inland again to the high peaks and to the National Park visitor centre. The road to the visitor centre was, again, steep and narrow but through lush vegetation sometimes alpine in nature and, at other times, thick with a type of mountain laurel.

The visitor centre was better than most since the displays had English text alongside them as well as the Spanish.

We headed off for another walk that set-off steeply downhill through trees that were decked with hanging moss and lichen. We were a bit concerned about the immediate amount of descent but the circular route but brought us back to our starting point with a gentle climb.

We have decided that, on land, the name “Flipper” is not appropriate so after a naming ceremony yesterday, we all have new titles.

Stuart - Fati Huka Tonga – he looks Polynesian
Julie – Helga Von Strata – she looks German
Fliss – Rosa Paella Gonzalez – looks Spanish
Pete – Gustav Heimlich Manoeuvre – very definitely Swiss

Fati decided that he would reawaken the old Polynesian tribal ritual of walking-stick tapping. We all got into the rhythm of banging the sticks on the ground in unison as we walked so as to scare off the indigenous Snaggle-toothed wild Impis that were closing-in on us.

We dropped the car back and went out to dinner. The Navtex weather forecast told us that it may be a force 5/6 for the journey back to Los Christianas and so we broke the news to Helga that we might get wet. Rosa talked about the acceleration zones and huge waves (over egging-it) and had Helga immediately thinking that we would go out, get rolled and drown. We put her mind at rest and went back to Nadezhda where the wind was already howling in the rigging.

Thursday 5th October 2006


That’s not fair I didn’t over egg it at all! All I said was that the wind would be a force 8-9 and the waves would likely be the size of Big Ben and would probably crash onto the boat from both sides.

Anyway in the morning it was blowing and I mean blowing! The sea was a boiling cauldron of water with the crests being blown off. So we all decided that it wouldn’t be wise to go apart from Fati who of course who was trying desperately In vain to convince Pete that it wasn’t really that bad. After gagging him we decided to have a quiet day.

Stew & Julie made enquires on when the ferries ran back to Los Christianos and we all had a relaxing day.

The day before we met a really nice Dutch couple who owned a really plush yacht which had fridge, freezer & a washing machine on board. They invited us on board and it was absolutely luxurious.

Pete & Stewart were also invited onboard today but not before Stewart was warned not to ask how much the boat cost him and how much he sold his business for…

Friday 6th October 2006

Sad day today as Stewart and Julie are catching the 11:30am ferry to Los Christianos.

We have had a wonderful week with them, god knows how Julie puts up with him.

I have funny memory’s of the week for example:
The two Russian nudists who lived in a cave at Playa de Masco who lived on fish alone and didn’t own any clothes between them, I didn’t buy it totally as the guy had a white bum, Julie bought it hook line & sinker and spent the night fretting that they might get dragged out to sea & drowned.

A local man speaking to Stewart in Spanish and Stewart happily waffling back in Spanish accent in an unknown language.

Stewart standing on deck in his pants asking “did his bum look big in this?”

Pete swimming under the boat & grabbing Stew’s legs, I’ve never seen him move so fast.

It was an absolute pleasure having you on board and La Gomera seems a little flat without you!.

Tomorrow we are hoping to make a run to San Miguel Marina, Tenerife and then back to Las Palmas in Gran Canaria.

It might be a bit bumpy leaving La Gomera but according to Stewart the ferry was bumpy just off La Gomera and it flattened out nearer to Tenerife.

Gran Canaria to Tenerife

Wednesday 27th September 06


Happy Birthday Uncle Peter! We have received your last correspondence and will give consideration to the teething issues you have highlighted after our full consideration. My first thoughts are of malevolent sabotage and we will be sending our “contacts” to fully investigate.


Gran Canaria looks interesting but with our limited timescales (we’ve got to be in Tenerife by Thursday evening to meet Stewart & Julie early Saturday morning) we really haven’t had a lot of time to explore but we’ll do it when we come back to meet mum, Ash & Naomi.

Pete has managed to find a guy who is going to replace all our guard rails and have them ready when we come back in a weeks time.

The marina is self is totally kitted out for the ARC, three chandlers, boat repair facilities and a Jonnie Walker whisky bar, everything a sailor could want! There’s some ARC boats already in.

They say that the Canary Islands are having major problems with the Africans trying to get in but we were never stopped or questioned. We stopped and tried to find immigration at Isla Gracioa, sailed down Lanzarote & Fuertaventura and nobody came out, mind you there are constant warnings on Navtex about boats adrift and this morning there must have been 4-5 search and rescue helicopters flying about.

This morning there was a tap on the hull at about 9am and a scruffy (I’m used to scruffy) slightly eccentric old man in his dinghy, he said that he couldn’t see our anchor buoy (it was there last night) he was worried that it had got wrapped around his propeller. I woke Pete up (he’s got the beginning of a cold) and after a second cup of coffee we started to investigate.

Plan 1 - We reversed hard on the anchor to see where the chain was and it was dead ahead, so nothing wrong there.

So plan 2 came into affect but……Whilst rowing over to our anchor our mate Colin came over and said “It’ll be him as he’s as mad as a box of frogs, clinically mad! he goes around shouting at no-one angrily in German”

Plan 2 – Snorkel at the ready Pete rowed over whilst I had my head in the slightly murky harbour water, no sign of it!

Eventually Pete spotted the floating yellow rope, which had been cut! And our anchor buoy was no-where to be seen!! So we went over to the mad German and said that the line had been cut, he asked us to check that his propeller hadn’t done it and there was no line caught, guess what? Highly unlikely that there would be a problem as he has a folding prop. He must have known that, but anyway “Nowt strange as folk” It’s a bizarre world but it makes us think that now we have to move everything that can be stolen from the cockpit at night, Danbouy, horseshoe life ring, etc…..

Tomorrow morning at 3am we’ll leave for Tenerife as we have a slight problem that the marina we were going to is closed due to storm damage so we’ll have to travel onto Los Cristianos, it’s only another 8 miles but further from the airport, best laid plans of mice & men! Thursday I’ll investigate ways of getting to the airport and if the anchorage is dodgy I’ll go in early by taxi and leave Pete on the boat.

Thursday 28th September 06

As planned we got up for our sail to Tenerife at 3am, it’s always a novelty when all you have to put on a light shirt as it’s never that cold in the early or late hours of the day.

The trip didn’t start that well as the halyard got caught around the mast steps and it was difficult to see where it was caught in the dark, no wind at all & Pete must have accidentally switched off Charlie the autopilot when he clipped his harness to the safety line on the deck, I said to Pete “I’m not sure we should be heading directly at the rocks and shallows” so tiller hard over we headed safely back out to sea. With the new sails on I find it hard to raise them so I do the cockpit work and Pete crews.

At around 8am we had two pilot whales playing with the bow wave, we think they were pilot whales as they were different to dolphins. They were brown & white and the skin looked like they were covered in scars but they weren’t, they had stub noses, they were slower and more graceful, they were much bigger than dolphins and their fin was bigger and curved over more. They stayed with us for about 10 minutes. It’s always a treat when the marine life comes to play.

10am the wind picked up considerably and main sail alone we were cracking along at 6-7 knots. The sea was quite bumpy and we did roll a bit but it was a fantastic sail. We’re not looking forward to bumping into it on the way back to Gran Canaria.

Pete spotted Mount Teide looming above the clouds, it really is a sight from the sea! According to our chart Mount Teide is 3717 metres high and we’ll hire a car to go and see it.

Tenerife is a mass of high pointed peaks and very barren but it is an interesting coastline.

As we got closer to the acceleration zone Pete & I decided to put two reefs in the main and keep the jib out, unbelievable really but as soon as we hit the acceleration zone the wind completely died and we were becalmed, luckily we only had about five miles to go to get to Los Christianos. Does it really exist???

Friday 29th September 06

Stewart & Jules arrive early tomorrow morning (3:30am) so our main task was to book a taxi to the airport. A friendly tourist trip organiser gave us the telephone number. Pete called them & hopefully it’ll turn up but the Chinese lady he spoke to didn’t install much confidence. So early night & alarm set for 1am.

Los Christianos is absolutely a northern Brit holiday resort. Telteys beer advertised everywhere! Shame really as Pete doesn’t like Tetleys. The whole resort is restaurants, bars & souvenir shops and of course typical local delicacy of McDonalds & Burger King.

It isn’t a pretty place but I’m really enjoying it here, as the wild life is fascinating! Big ones, little ones, youngsters obviously suffering from the last night excesses and it’s great to see how others holiday. Fabulous place!!!!!!!!!!!

Again surprising that we are the only Brit in the anchorage. The lack of marine life is surprising as there are hardly any fishes to look at whilst snorkelling.


Before setting sail, we had the job of putting the old guardrails back on the boat. We had removed them to be measured for a new set that the riggers in Las Palmas are going to make because they all look tatty and one had come apart. We ordered these and also bought a new battery charger, a spare solar shower, replacement anchor buoy, (with rope and accoutrements), a new battery charger to replace the one that went up in smoke (oh, and also black deck caulking to fix the leaky stuff in the cockpit floor). The chandler was very happy and I now have a lot of jobs to do after Stewart and Julie have left.

The sail over to Tenerife started very slowly, the sails slatted and, as usual, the boom had to be tied-back to stop it flopping all over and slamming. In England, you tend to get flat seas along with the light winds but here the ocean swell never really abates and the Nadezhda rolls and bucks without the wind. We suffered this for a few hours doing about 2 knots until we finally relented and turned the engine on. Suddenly, the wind picked-up, engine off, and we were doing over 6 knots with mainsail alone – relief!

As Fliss said, this area of Tenerife is Touristville, full of Brits with Northern accents and English Breakfasts, Pie and Chips, Irish Pubs, Tetley and John Smiths beer. We spent half of the day ashore and feel like we have seen all there is to see in this resort. What do people do when they are here for a full week?? Still, it makes a change and is quite entertaining.

Tomorrow we head the 20 miles to La Gomera island which is said to be quite scenic in the interior and has some interesting anchorages that are supposed to be good for snorkelling.

Lanzarote to Gran Canaria

Saturday 23rd September 06 (Contd)


We weighed anchor and left Lanzarote under headsail alone for 5 mile crossing to Isla de Lobos off the North-East coast of Fuerteventura. Along the way, I saw two small birds flying close to the surface of the water. As I looked, I suddenly realised that they were flying-fish. I am gob-smacked at how far they fly and how fast they go. Unfortunately, they did not re-appear and Fliss gave me one of those looks of incredulity.

The anchorage on the South side of the island was very pretty and we swam with snorkel and flippers but, although the pilot book suggested that there are many fish, the water was not as clear as we have seen before and was mainly barren of life. I checked the anchor since we had difficulty getting it to hold and I found it lying on its side. The thin layer of sand must have had solid rock just below. We therefore did not go ashore and re-anchored a little further out where we seemed to dig-in straight away. The tourist boats eventually left us on our own for the night.

Sunday 24th September 06

We awoke early as the wind had picked-up and we were bobbing with the sound of wavelets splashing against the hull. Our destination is the far Southern tip of Fuerteventura – about 60 miles. We left at 08:00 and had a good wind until about 11:00 when the engine had to be started. We saw some more flying fish today and a small pod of pilot whales (our first) that were slowly bobbing and blowing small spouts.

At 02:00 the wind changed direction completely and we are motoring into it. We still have in mind to go to Punta Jandia and anchor although with the unseasonal SSE breeze, it may be a bit rolly and we might simply carry-on to Gran Canaria.

Sunday 24th September 06


Not a lot wind so we spent most of the day lazily making our way down the East coast of Fuertaventura. They say that it’s a scenic coastline but it wasn’t that scenic. As it was getting late we decided that we would find a little bay & anchor for the night, as usual there’s always too much wind or not enough! As we spotted the anchorage the wind arrived in sharp gusts which had Nadezhda on her side, a bit of a shame really as the last 20 minutes or so was a real blast!

As the wind was offshore the anchorage was really sheltered & we settled down for the night, no other boats and no life there at all.

The sunsets in the Canaries are fantastic! And last night again the sky was a deep orange with low lying & thick clouds meant it was a dramatic & stunning sunset.

Monday 25th September 06

Early start again and no wind! Acceleration Zones must be an urban myth that they tell little children when they have been naughty! Again we bobbed down to Pta Jandia and when we dropped down to 2.5 knots we had to admit to being defeated and the engine went on…. Only 45 miles of rocking & the droning sound of the engine.
Very, very hot day with no cloud at all over the sea.

We have to make landfall as the milk is running out, we have no bread, eggs, potatoes and the last remaining red pepper has turned to a mush in the bottom of the bag (it was ok when Pete looked the evening before), really bizarre as it was in a ventilated & dark cupboard.

20 miles from Gran Canaria we could make out the island, it’s always a bit frustrating as it looks so close but at 5 knots you still got 4 hours to go.

Gran Canaria at night is quite challenging! As the island is awash in flashing red & green lights (all hotels) it’s an incredibly busy port and makes Dover look like a small fishing harbour. Cruise liners lit up like Christmas trees coming at you from all angles! One very large freighter just appeared from nowhere, one minute we couldn’t see him and the next he appeared! He must have been at anchor & just forgot to switch his lights on…. Or maybe drunk on watch?.

Great news earlier on, my mum, brother & niece are flying over to Gran Canaria on the 14th for a week, brilliant!

Stewart & Julie are due to arrive at Tenerife on Saturday so all in all I’m seriously looking forward to the next few weeks.

We found our way to the anchorage and dropped the hook around 11pm.

Colin & Maureen are here so we’ll pop over and say hello later.

Isla Graciosa to Lanzarote

Sunday 17th September 2006


We arrived at Isla Grasiosa around 12ish and decided that it was best to just stay up for the rest of the day & get an early night. There was another English boat who were going into the marina and we asked them where you clear immigration and they said don’t bother… we’ll go into the port tomorrow to sort it out. So the day was spent tidying up the boat. We went to bed at 8pm absolutely shattered. I feel so much better as within 12 hours the antibiotics had started to work their magic… In Alan’s (Pete’s dad) words “before antibiotics people simply got ill and died” I wish I’d taken them earlier!

Monday 18th September 2006

Isla Grasiosa is a really lovely little island, really clear water and tall volcanic mountains which loom high above you. Very barren but a lovely little anchorage. Millions of little fish which bask in the shade of Nadezhda with the bigger fish swimming on the sea bed. Not a lot of variety but great snorkelling as they are all around you. It’s quite a walk to the main town which is very small, a few bars & a supermarket and the walk in is around 3kms.

Great walk but quite hard work through the sand dunes. The sand is so deep your feet just sink in, gorgeous lagoons of crystal clear greenish blue water. This island really is the jewel in the crown for the Canaries.

We walked all over the town looking for immigration but couldn’t find it, so we’re here maybe illegally but not for the want of trying.

Tuesday 19th September 2006

Job day today, Pete did the wind gen and other jobs and I pottered around, re sorting the lockers then had to invest some serious hammock time. I did make bread but it was to salty I also had a go at chapattis which resulted in Pete & I discussing many ways of which the do dough could used, the favourite was plugging a leak…. It wasn’t a success. Did we mention that we are the token Brit as there’s around seven French boats & last night they all went off to the beach and as they went passed they said hello, but guess what we weren’t invited! Vanquier misserables!!!!

The sunset was amazing & it looked like the island was on fire.

Wednesday 20th September 2006

Pete still had jobs to do so I ventured into the town to pick up some provisions. Pete dropped me onto the beach & off I went, listening to my IPOD I ventured to far into the sand dunes, it was a bizarre feeling as you feel really alone, once I realised, I headed towards the shore & back on track again.

They had a jewellery fair on and the necklaces, bracelets were really lovely made of volcanic rock, turquoise & shells, they really were unique, I didn’t buy anything but they would make lovely Christmas presents.

In the afternoon we snorkelled & lazed in the hammock and our prayers were answered another Brit arrived!!!! Hurrahhhh. Dutch courage & rehearsed lines we ventured over to say hello. We were invited on board the “Oyster 43” for drinks and Pete was in his element as he was served “Old Speckled Hen” and “Spitfire” beer. The Oyster is unbelievably luxurious with a normal size fridge, huge freezer & it really is like steeping in side someone’s penthouse flat. We really like them and had a great evening with them (2 couples). They offered us the use of their rib to get some shopping in as it would save the 6kms walk…. Thank god we were starting to feel paranoid that we were “undesirables”.

I think they’re coming over to have a nose at Nadezhda later but Pete’s having kittens as to what to serve them as all we have is gin, whisky (cheap) that smells a little of plastic and 50p carton of wine. I hope that it’s just the company their interested in!!!! as there is bugger else on offer!

We’ll venture into town again later!

Our Anchorage - Isla Graciosa


Fliss has said it all. I could be a bore and talk about all the jobs around the boat but won’t. We have saved Fliss’ “Putty Bread” for emergencies in a sealed container since it can be moulded to any shape, sets harder than steel and does not rust in salt-water.

A Spanish boat came in yesterday, pulled ahead of us and dropped about 70 metres of chain until it was well dropped back behind us. No problem since their swinging space would take them well behind us if the wind changed. This morning, the wind had changed and they wanted to leave, and were oblivious to the fact that their chain was now running underneath ours. A few shouts and some mimed action from us gave them the message and we motored forwards out of their way – I am glad they did not want to go when Nadezhda was unattended otherwise they would have pulled our anchor out along with theirs.

Another Brit couple have just arrived and plonked down beside us – birds of a feather flock together. We have now taken over this small corner of the anchorage leaving the French further out in the bay.

Friday 22nd September 2006

Firstly “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Mum, Happy Birthday to you………”

We’ve just left Isla Graciousa for Playa Blanca, Lanzarotte, it’s around 40miles, there is no wind so we’re motoring.

Last night our visitors popped over for a few drinks and they had also heard “monkey man” on the VHF. Really nice people, great sense of humour & we had a good time with them. Thankfully the cheap red wind, Spanish beer & G&T’s weren’t to bad as they stayed for a couple.

The weather has been strange for the Canaries as we have had some rain (not a lot) and it has been quite cloudy but when the sun comes out (80% of the time) it is seriously hot.

This morning it rained for about five minutes and now it’s a beautiful cloud free sunny day. The barometer is reading 30.6 degrees inside Nadezhda.

At this rate we expect (5 knots) to arrive around 6 tonight. We’ll stay maybe one night then head of to Isla Lobos translated means wolf island as the snorkelling is meant to be lovely.

We’ll have to be vigilant on this passage as we are going into “Acceleration zones” where the wind can go from nothing to 35 knots the pilot book says watch the sea and if you see white horses reef in immediately.

I thought the Canaries would be boring scenery compared to Madeira, it’s not as dramatic but it does have it’s own distinct charm.

Lanzarote Coastline

Saturday 23rd 2006

We arrived at Playa Blanca at around 6pm after a really hot windless sail, very nice anchorage with clear water and the sea bed is a mix of sand and rock, not that you could see it yesterday as when we arrived it was quite cloudy.

Not too rolly here but in the middle of the night Nadezhda rolled violently which had Pete jumping up concerned that we might have dragged our anchor (the beach and rocks aren’t that far off) after checking it out there didn’t appear to be any reason for it, but it just meant that he had to clean up the 3 litres of spilt water which we keep in the front cabin… Lesson to be learnt here Pete always put the lid on!

We’ll go for a sail to Isla Lobos later as it’s only 5 miles, another really hot day here.

Madeira to the Canary Islands

Friday 15th September 06

(Fliss). Departed Funchal 7am bound for Isla Selvagens, 160miles due for arrival late morning the next day.

Reality: we had a good force 4 blowing (maybe more) and we were running at 7.5 knots so it looked like we would be far too early for Isla Salvagens. At around 3pm we decided that we really had to slow Nadezhda down, she really gets her teeth into it and is difficult to tame as we had two reefs in the main and a seriously reefed jib and we were still running at 6+ knots.

(Pete). The forecast in Madeira was of reducing winds down to Force 2. The Grib files showed that the wind was stronger further South at about Force 3. Why don’t we listen to our gut feelings that Grib file predictions should always be upgraded by a couple of wind forces????. Yup, we had a wonderful reach and we would really have loved to get the best out of Nadezhda in perfect conditions. However, you cannot arrive at Isla Salvagens in the dark since “eyeball navigation” is essential. So, we tried to tame the beast and slow down as much as possible.

(Fliss) fantastic sail as we were totally alone and watches were so easy! On my watch around 8pm the sky was this amazing baby blue colour with white cotton ball clouds. It’s really strange being out and sea and not seeing another boat for hours. I really like this feeling as it really is, you, Nadezhda & the elements.

(Pete) We did not see any other boats. As usual, the first night on-passage is difficult since the body is not used to the watch system. It is very difficult to relax and go to sleep at odd times only to get up again in the middle of the night. Needless to say that Fliss (who is a difficult sleeper anyway) did not get many Zzzzzzzz and I only had a few snatched hours. Fliss had not been feeling too well since departure, and was complaining of sore throat and gum-ache. I think that this was grinding her down a bit and the lack of sleep was exacerbating the situation. Still, we only had to endure one night and we would be secured in a nice little anchorage where we could get some sleep and then explore the Island that we had been looking forward to for the past week.

(Fliss) Being a experienced insomniac I really can handle a 24 hours sail with no sleep as I know that we were due to arrive the next day. My ailment was a complete pain as I had a horrible swelling on my tooth on the right hand side of my jaw but I have heavy duty mouthwash which should clear the problem. I still did my watches as it took my mind off the tooth ache and it was a beautiful evening… best bit is that I have mastered the art of reading at night as the head torch has a red chart light (it doesn’t affect your night vision) it certainly passes the time.

(Pete) At 07:30 I spotted the Isla Salvagens on the horizon. There were rain clouds all around yet we didn’t get wet. I was hoping for a sunny entrance since the Pilot Book suggested that calm and sunny conditions were needed to spot the rocks around the small bay where we planned to anchor.

We approached the island with caution since the islands were mapped over 100 years ago and probably do not align to any chart-plotting system in use these days. We checked our distance from the island using the radar, and chart-plotter/radar agreed in terms of distance-off. I was reassured that, with Pilot Book instructions, chart-plotter and radar we would have a straightforward arrival and that the ocean swell that was running would disappear once around the lee of the island.

There are reefs/shoals just East of the small bay where anchoring is possible. We spotted these by the surf that was rolling over them creating a wall of white water that had its head blown-off by the wind. There was a yacht anchored in what we thought to be a ridiculous position until we eventually realised that they were actually where we were destined! We took the reef at a respectful distance and then closed into the anchorage with the Westerly reef at a safe distance. Basically, we were running down a channel between two reefs to a dead-end where the ocean swell was bursting across the steep rocky face of the small bay. The yacht anchored was weaving this way and that as the winds coming down the steep cliffs backed and veered. Additionally, the big swell that was refracted around the island was surging into the bay and the waves reflected from the cliffs was causing it to roll and pitch violently. Looking into our dead-end as we approached, there was surf on each side and bursting turquoise waves turning white spume as the swell unloaded its energy onto the unyielding rock. The Pilot Book told us that there is no room for more that one yacht in the (Bay?) and we would have to anchor further out on a bed of rock. We REALLY wanted to see the islands, we had organised our sleep patterns to simply arrive and get some shut-eye, it was time to stop. However, looking at the boiling cauldron that we were approaching, the answer to anchoring was a definite NO. I asked myself a few times whether it was worth trying and the answer still came back the same. So…….It was now a trip to the North end of Lanzarote.

Isla Salvagens

Beating toward Canaries

(Fliss) It was a real shame as so much effort had been put into seeing the Islands. As we approached the island the surf would have done Hawaii proud! I did managed to see a whale, only its back and only for a few seconds but is was magnificent as it was only 25foot from the boat, sadly Pete missed it as he was plotting our position.

It’s really hard as when you have done a long passage and you near your destination your mind set changes as salvation is close to hand, we were looking forward to stopping and relaxing so when we decided to move on it was a disappointment! Plus my tooth was really starting to play up.

Isla Salvengas I think was absolutely stunning! This little island in the middle of nowhere with steep cliffs and clear blue seas, this I think is a date for another time.

(Pete) Having gone further South rather than the direct route to Lanzarote, meant that we now had to head South-East. With the wind East-North-East, we set the sails close hauled and beat hard into the oncoming swell and waves. As we reached the top of each long ocean swell, the wind was strong, and then as we fell into the hollows behind, the jib would flutter until landing with a jolt that yanked the rigging. We already had two reefs in the mainsail that we had not removed from the previous day so we raised the staysail and reefed the jib to get a more balanced rig. It worked a treat as Nadezhda felt much more comfortable. Trade Winds? I thought that they were supposed to be constant breezes that were predictable? We had enough to run us at 7.5 knots (close hauled) and then we were doing 2,5 knots with no steerage as the waves pushed the nose of the boat off-course. So we unfurled the jib to give some power and then re-furled it to slow us down again. Lots of activity in our tired state. Having read Ellen MacArthur’s travels, I can understand why she had to do 10 sail changes per hour!!! We could not be bothered with un-reefing the mainsail. It would have been up and down more times than a prostitutes knickers! As it was, the jib was in and out more times than ………….

(Fliss) Pete & I were extremely tired and the prospect of 23 hours of close hauled sailing into big waves didn’t give us a “feel good factor” so there you go! Pete cooked pasta with a jar of Smokey bacon sauce which caused my abscess to really play up!!!
Off Pete went to bed and it was my watch. The winds were starting to be fickle, one minute we were doing 7 knots and then next it would drop to 2… every time we went under a black cloud the air would get warmer and the wind would die… So at 2pm when it was my watch again my face felt like I was wearing a mask and my jaw felt like I had done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson and came off really badly! Pete said “enough is enough get the antibiotics and start taking them” he also read the instructions as he knew I wouldn’t!

It was a really pleasant watch with clear skies and a few other boats and as I had disturb the skipper earlier when a “Super tanker” was bearing down on us I decided to leave him till 07:45am.. slightly selfish as I wanted to see the sun-rise that Pete kept bragging about!

(Pete) My night-watch started with a vengeance. First of all, we needed to get some drive to the boat since the wind had suddenly dropped again, then the runner that holds the jib-sheet lost its footing and whanged-back into its counterpart at the back-end of the track (for the third time) and I had to get on-deck in the dark and play with tools etc to sort-out another botch-job to hold it in place. At this time, I was starting to make a list of more things to fix once we completed the passage – only 7 items so far. This was even before I had my first coffee and, consequently I was not the brightest crayon in the pack (sorry Fliss!).

Fliss took over at approx 03:00 and we watched another yacht steaming just behind us on a course that looked as thought it would take him to the South of Lanzarotte. Why he was motoring is a mystery, the way his mast was swinging around confirmed that his steaming light was not lying.

I awoke at 07:45, well beyond my allotted slot – great sleep though! Fliss went to bed and I spotted Lanzarotte in the oncoming dawn. Soon, we had full mainsail out and we were scooting along at 7 knots. As we had kept North of the Rhum-line (always approach land upwind of your destination), we were able to ease-off and had a brilliant sail down to Isla Graciosa.

(Fliss) It all really worked out well as we both felt awake and ready for landfall plus the antibiotics had really kicked in and I was starting to feel human again. I felt it was a shame as the last 48 hours was a superb sail and I only wish that I felt better, a trip to a dentist in Gran Canaria is on the cards.

(Pete) Having unreefed the mainsail, I noticed that the first reefing line had got caught under the shackle that holds the mainsail clew. As we had reefed the day earlier, it had grabbed the shackle key and unwound it. We were now sailing with only half the shackle-pin in place! Note: Must always keep an eye on things on-deck! I added another item to my list of things to do and immediately put some seizing wire on the errant pin. As I have said before, cruising is only “boat maintenance in exotic places” the list at the moment grows……

Windgen…..Same problem as before – it vibrates and therefore the shaft is getting loose again

Starboard jib sheet runner……..needs removing, examining and fixing

Batteries……..seem to discharge too fast on-passage. Sort out what is draining them

Aft Nav-Light…………….Fix firmly in position


Jib Leach Line………..cannot reach on-passage. Tighten it!
Reefing lines…………The 3rd reefing line is in the wrong place, need to sort out before we need it!

Battery charger………….Went-up in white smoke today! Buy a new one.

Laptop………………..Just hanging on. Need to take-out battery, press the “battery-life indicator” and replace quickly before starting-up can be achieved. Dodgy! Need a new one.

Anchorage at Isla Graciosa

Maintenance Time


Thursday 7th September 06

Headsail only towards Funchal and we were speeding along at up to 7 knots. We got accosted by Mr Marina man just past the headland. He has no chance enticing people in, when there is a glorious bay just around the corner – what an unrewarding job!

We had great winds and scooted along past the airport. Apparently, the pilots have to do 5 test-runs before being allowed to take passengers – Very steep hills around!

We had great winds behind us and they died as we reached the headland before Funchal. We could see the white crests only a half mile away but were becalmed. We motored the rest of the way into an increasing headwind.

According to the guidebook, the holding is patchy but the Bruce anchor went in first time (as usual) and bingo, we were secure. Cleared immigration before investigating the centre of the town.

Friday 8th September 06

Another glorious day in Madeira so we did the tourist thing. So, we headed-off to the cable car to visit the Botanical Gardens and also get out permit to visit the Isla Salvengas. At the top of the first cable car, there was another “Tropical Garden” that was expensive and certainly overrated. We were amazed by the “African Art Exhibition” that left us bemused by the lack of art.

So. Off we went to the Botanical Gardens via the next cable car that took us downhill. On the way down, we decided to play with the other tourists…..unlike many sailors, they all waved back! What was an absolute treat was the bird of prey that was perched on the cable-car wire. We watched him fold back his wings and dive-bomb towards an outcrop of cliff. He landed hard and tumbled down over the rocks until falling off the edge of the cliff and regaining his composure by soaring off with his next meal.

The Botanical Gardens where lovely but we felt that we were too late in the year as most of the blooms had withered.

So, with our mission to secure permission to Isla Salvegens we walked up & down, then down & up, the exceptionally steep manicured hillside. We went to every building possible trying to find the “Park Control office” The searing heat & altitude proved to be a mission in itself.

Eventually a lady who no spoke no English guided us to a back-office and a “Very nice man in uniform” told us it was not possible to issue a permit “from here” and he gave us a phone number & told us to call.

Pete tried to call in Funchal and the lady who answered spoke only Portuguese so we were getting nowhere.

In desperation we tried the Marina office who told us that the number we had been given was in-fact the Botanical Gardens! She was brilliant and sorted out the permit which was faxed within 15 minutes.

Saturday 9th September 06

Not a lot to report as it was “jobs day”

Sunday 10th September 06

Hire car booked for 9am so early up, sandwiches made, and off we went. This proved an interesting experience as Pete & I hadn’t been in a car for a while. (Pete) I took the keys tentatively, not only had I not driven for two and a half months, but this was in a car with the gear-stick on the wrong side and drivers on the wrong side of the road. (Fliss) I must say that Pete did really well as I’m a terrible backseat driver and he managed to cope with my groaning, clutching the dashboard, and telling him to slow down (Pete) As we managed to brave second gear, Fliss’ complaints of “watch-out!” and her white knuckles were not helping my concentration. (Fliss) I think that one needs to remember that there was steep, and, I mean steep drops and 20 miles ph seems massively fast after being on a yacht. Anyway, no harm done & no common-in-law divorce papers issued. I am amazed that he didn’t stop the car & tell me to walk back. (Pete) Yup! Madeira is steep, The switchbacks took us higher and higher until the precipices at the side of the road gave us vertigo. Green abundance and flowers edged the side of the steep and winding “old roads” that we favoured over the new tunnels that drill through the island.

Central Madeira

We climbed over the central divide and descended to the grottos (caves) that we decided to visit. These are caves left by vacated lava channels that criss-cross through the base of one of the mountains. We thought the caves were very interesting with flat and rippled floors and petrified drips of lava from the ceiling. Our guide thought differently and was bored beyond belief – and she let us know it. After the tour we were subjugated to the Madeira 3-D glasses “Volcanic Experience” and the “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” – Tacky! The museum showing how Madeira was formed was given ten seconds and was probably the best bit if you are interested in Geology.

We drove around the North Western coast and then back into the central highlands where we took a walk to Rabasca and on to a waterfall and then further downhill and around Levadas to springs (25) that emit from half-way up a dried-out waterfall. Lovely. The Levadas are man-made watercourses that are cut into the hillsides and cliffs. Yes…Vertical cliffs have incisions and tunnels cut into them just to enable water to be channelled for irrigation and these are often used as walkers’ pathways. At least they are fairly level but those who suffer vertigo should stay well clear!.

Waterfalls & Levadas

Of course, having gone 1000m downhill, we had to come back up again. For some reason the day seemed to get hotter, the breeze died and the amount of shade that we remembered on the way down had disappeared.

Madeira is in the grip of more forest fires than it has seen in a lifetime. As we wiggled our way back to Funchal we saw the black plumes of smoke across swathes of the island. Returning to the boat, the lack of wind meant that the pall of smoke simply stayed, covering everything.

Monday 11th September 06

Jobs to do repairing the boat. We visited every boatyard and chandlers with no avail and had to botch-up the guardrail that had broken having been work-hardened due to our fenders (for the dinghy) bouncing up and down in the considerable swell in the rocky and rolly anchorage. Did a bit of a walk around Funchal and retired to the boat for 2 or more “Sundowners”.

Tuesday 12th September 06

Lazy day & just chilled-out on the boat no point in exploring as the island was surrounded in a black smoke haze.

Wednesday 13th September 06

We hired a car again to have a look at more of the interior of Madeira, Nuns Valley was unbelievably beautiful. Pete decided that we should take a “Laveda walk” which comprised of 30 minutes down a very steep path (you always have to come up) which lead down to a main road and then we spotted another path. This path lead us through overgrown allotments and just appeared to be going higher & higher! So a decision was taken to head back down. The brambles & little rocks made an interesting descent with me (Fliss) taking a bit of a tumble and scratching my arm, which needed emergency rinsing in the cold river water, being a heroine I didn’t whinge too much shame really as there was a lot of mileage in my terrible injuries. (Pete) The narrow path was supposed to lead us up a narrow ravine to the beautiful waterfall at the end. We tussled with the undergrowth with Fliss bemoaning the fact that the path was leading us no-where. Eventually, I reluctantly agreed and we scratched our way back down through the thorns.

(Fliss) The ascent back was hot and a serious climb! But hey another day in the office!

Nuns Valley

(Pete) We drove to the (second) highest point of Madeira where the mists were accumulating in the deep ravines and bursting out over the ridges and peaks. Absolutely gorgeous and we took a short walk along some of the walking trails that are cut, like the levadas out of the solid rock. The views of the volcanic Jurassic peaks were superb. We eventually retired to the boat having left the car unlocked and the keys in the cunning hiding place above the sun-visor for the car-hire people to retrieve (Island life is different).

Thursday 14th September 06

(Fliss) We arose late, and went to the fish, flower & veg market. The fish are amazing, there was a tuna steak the size of Stewarts chest and this was the leftovers as most of it had been filleted & sold.

The flowers looked like exotic tropical birds, absolutely stunning!
Vegetables certainly didn’t comply with EU standards but tasted great!

(Pete) We could not be bothered to go and see the Dolphins, Whales, Sea Turtles, Lions, Tigers and Bears, as we would lose our best place in the anchorage. Instead, we scurried to the marina to fill up with water and scurried-back again before taking the dinghy ashore to re-provision.

(Fliss). We keep seeing the same old yachts, and, tonight, we had a conversation with a Dutchman. Apparently, the Guardia had visited a French boat and asked them to pay 25 Euros for each night to anchor in the harbour. The, young (20’ish), brave, and immensely foolish young man ripped-up the form and threw a tantrum. This was early afternoon and Friday morning, they were nowhere to be seen. I have visions of the movie Midnight Express, and, if you have seen it, then you will understand what the poor guy might expect. Once they stick the form back together, I am sure that he will fill it in and pay the 25 Euros.

We have not been asked for any money and allowed to fill our water-tanks for free, I can only assume that Pete is not pretty enough!

Madeira Summary

Beautiful, stunning and very dramatic with high mountain peaks, deep ravines and lush green foliage. Madeira is a walkers paradise. The roads are a major feat of engineering as are the levadas that are often used as level pathway between the steep slopes. We are both agreed that Spring must be the time when Madeira is at her best.

The locals are extremely friendly and incredibly helpful but we cannot help but feel sorry for the local tourist businesses, as they say that tourism is dying due to the cheaper option of the Canaries. This, to us, is unbelievable since they are worlds apart in their appeal. The Canaries are a seaside destination whereas Madeira’s charm is in her interior but, beware, to see her glory, you have to earn it with some serious legwork.