Wines of the Moment: Faustino VII Rioja 4 euro 40 cents a bottle, Vina Sol 3 euro 50 cents

Beer: San Miguel 4.5% 95 cents per litre, Dorada 1 euro 50 per litre and Mahon 95 cents per litre

Temperature 30 – 32C

Thursday 2nd 

Bill and Joyce Stratton, Bev’s parents, have come to stay with us on the boat for two weeks. As usual they kindly arrive laden with tons of post for us (mainly bills !) and items we cant get from the UK like Branston Pickle :)  Best item by far was the mini hand held vacuum cleaner – so much better than unsuccessfully chasing crumbs round the boat with a dustpan and brush.

Today is Bill’s 65th Birthday. For the first time we broke out the code flags to dress Bagpuss and tied up balloons to help mark his special day.

Bills 65th Birthday 

It was quite an emotional but exciting time for Bill retiring from work, but he is sure to have fun with the new bike and snorkelling gear that he got as a present.

We spent the morning at a fantastic swimming pool – Parque Maritimo Cezar Manrique (15 minutes walk away from the Marina) designed and named after the famous Lanzarote Artist. It comprises some very large lagoon type pools with little natural rock islands and palm trees. It was almost empty and mostly frequented by locals. There isn’t a lot of shade but there is a spectacular view of the new Santa Cruz Opera House - not as grand as the Sydney Opera house maybe, but with a striking roof, looking like a big white horn and a location right on the sea front. It’s the kind of modern art building the Spanish do so well and we wish we had more of in the UK.

In the afternoon we went to Puerto De Las Cruz, a beautiful holiday resort in the North of the Island before heading back to Santa Cruz for an Italian meal, birthday cake and champagne  J

When we got back to the boat, it was funny to see that all the balloons had burst in the heat. It must have been noisy - poor neighbours  L

Friday 3rd – 31st

With the benefit of a hire car we did some touring of some old favourites like Playa De Las Americas and Los Christianos and also managed to get to places we had not previously been. We went to a place called Los Gigantes on the west coast, with awesome 2000 ft high cliffs and a nice little marina. We also saw the famous ancient Draco (Dragon) tree in the north of the Island and visited Candelaria with its beautiful square and church and statues lined up along the sea wall. Candelaria is famous for its statue of the Virgin Mary (the Black Virgin Mary) which was discovered here by the early Spanish invaders and was previously worshipped by the local “Guaches” . It occurred to us that this might have been a Spanish interpretation of a quite different original deity.

We went up Teide, the highest mountain in Spain, 3 times higher than Ben Nevis. A most amazing trip through ever changing countryside with spectacular and unusual views. A real must see for anyone visiting Tenerife.

Allan and Bev at Teide

Everything in Tenerife takes time. “Manâna” translates as tomorrow but more likely means sometime next week. In the end we decided to get more of the jobs done in Tenerife rather than move on to Gran Canaria and compete with all the other Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) boats who would need assistance from local services before the start of the crossing.

We made contact with a chap called Miguel to make us some cushions for the cockpit. It wasn’t easy too get across exactly what we wanted because he didn’t speak any English. Allan resorted to lots of arm waving, and surprisingly the work came out all right in the end. It was quite a difficult job to make the cushions because of all the compound curves in the cockpit and as a result the cushions were a bit more expensive than we envisaged.

The new Dahon Helios bikes have proven to be a great success. We eventually managed to get the right parts sent from the UK so we can use the aluminium forks instead of the steel but have not fitted them yet. Allan learned another useful lesson – don’t leave the bike on the sidestand near the water !! If it had not been for the splash we would probably have concluded that the bike had been stolen, just a small gust of wind had rocked the pontoon and plunged it into the marina. Unfortunately the marina diver had a cold and couldn’t retrieve it so Allan resorted to using the dinghy grapnel anchor and much to his relief was able to rescue the bike from some 15m of water. A whole can of silicone spray and much swearing later and the bike seems to have survived intact.

Another task we had been dreading is to fit a second set of navigation lights, its one of a long list of safety requirements for joining the ARC. In the end we decided to fit a new light cluster on top of the mast, and there was only one person on the boat daft enough to climb 19m (60ft) about the water to do it….

Allan up the mast

We also decided to make an early start getting the boat ready for the crossing, Bev has been making daily trips to the Supermarkets and bulk buying everything we need.

She returned from a trip to Carrefour a large supermarket very amused. She had seen 4 guys provisioning for a French rally that leaves Tenerife at the end of the month. They each had a trolley and were running round the supermarket randomly throwing in anything that they saw that looked appetising – they would certainly have had food to eat but whether they could create meals out of it would be another thing !!

Allan has been making a daily pilgrimage to each of the chandleries, electronic, electrical and hardware shops to get things we need for the boat. The list of stuff to get seems never ending !

Probably the most frustrating thing this month, is it’s the first time we haven’t had internet access on the boat. We have resorted to frequenting one of the local internet cafes – Ciber Scout, where you can get an hours surfing fix for about 2 euros and even plug your own laptop in if you want. Most of the time has been spent ordering or chasing things – The solar panels, wind generator, radio modem, iridium phone, safety equipment etc etc etc. We also found that its incredibly cheap to phone the UK and US from these Cafes and “Locoturia”

Finally, finally, finally the solar panels arrive. But there is a sting, well two in the tail. Firstly although we paid 300 euros for delivery there are another 300 euros of assorted charges to be paid, and I don’t mean customs duty, just “other charges”. DHL can’t explain it to me, but I think they lost the consignment and when they found it in some warehouse they have charged me a storing and handling fee  L The second problem is that they have sent me the wrong wind generator, their fault, so I need to send it back, another 70 euros and wait for the right one   LL

We’ve also found a man to make us the “radar” arch for the back of the boat to house the solar panels and wind generator. Bev took an instant dislike to him, but although he seems to be a bit cavalier, other people in the marina tell us he is the best available locally. He talks a good show …

The lovely Iridium 9505 phone we bought on ebay for a “bargain” 835 euros turns out to have been stolen and is blacklisted on the network. Allan found out that it had been stolen from an Iridium dealer in Holland and tried to contact them to see if he could buy it again, preferably at a discount, to save the hassle of getting another one delivered to the islands. Unfortunately the dealer and the security department at Iridium are too thick to get this kind of proposition, they gave us a lot of “policy statements” and recommended that you only buy from their closed cartel of dealers. In light of this Allan wrote to the Chairman at Iridium to ask that in future his company should tells prospective customers there is no second hand market for the equipment they are about to buy. It’s in the hands of the UK police now and we have parted with an even larger amount of cash to secure another phone…

The cruise ships have also been coming in thick and fast. This month, amongst others, we have seen the QE2 and the Oriana. We also noticed that there are different “classes” of cruise ships. The biggest and most exclusive ships typically have older guests who wear all their best gear when they get off to go shopping, they also tend to wear socks with their sandals. The other boats like the MyTravel one we have seen a couple of times are obviously older ships with less glitz and the guests are more likely to be younger and have children with them. 

Some tall ships also visited, one was effectively a cruise ship with lots of paying guests, the other a Russian sail training ship, with lots of glum-faced-skin-headed young cadets onboard and the other a German sail training ship. None of them quite had the magic of the Mexican boat we had seen in September. 

In the marina itself, we have seen a large number of multi-million pound motor yachts stop for a day or two. Several of them have been more than 100 feet long, professionally crewed and carry a range of high speed launches. Allan noticed that one of them was taking on a little extra diesel – 9000 litres of it !! The saddest of the big motor yachts though must be “Brave Goose of Essex”, a lovely classic looking little ship, very well maintained by the professional crew who live aboard her. We heard from someone at the marina that Brave Goose hadn’t moved for over 4 years as its owner hadn’t had time to visit !!


© Copyright Allan & Bev Dornan 2016