Arriving in Tenerife, Canary Islands

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

Monday 1st – Tuesday 16th September 

It’s been a hectic and frustrating couple of weeks. The Marina Del Atlantico is adjacent to the centre of Santa Cruz so it makes up for lack of facilities in the Marina itself. We’ve decided not to use the toilets or shower blocks as they are pretty basic and infested with cockroaches.

Everything in Tenerife seems to take a long time. The chandlers don’t have the bits we need but can always get things “in a week”. Allan found a very useful electronics shop “Lalo” where he could buy some much needed bits of cable and connectors, and was able to order a car kit to install the phone in the boat. He has also spend hours on the internet ordering other things we need for the boat – a couple of folding Dahon Helios folding bikes, more electronic bits and pieces, solar panels, wind generator, ssb modem. Tenerife is supposed to be cheap because it doesn’t have VAT but we have found things like solar panels to be very expensive. The whammy is that delivery charges are enormous from overseas. The delivery cost for the solar panels from the US is $349 and for the bikes over £400 from the UK !!

Bev didn’t get back from the UK until the third of September so Allan met up with the Americans Warren and Judy McCandless on La Contenta and went for a  canarian style meal at La Herbieta. Fish is of course on the menu but Allan had a steak in sweet (and hot) sauce with thin sliced potatoes, delicious and great value.

We hired a car for three days. A very reasonable 55 euro for a  Saxo for three days from Orcanarias. We made a trip up to Puerto De La Cruz and down to Playa de Las Americas and Los Christianos. We had been thinking about buying a house here but have gone off the idea because its sooo expensive. A decent villa with pool is around 400,000 euro, a one bed apartment is easily 100,000 +.

We like Puerto. It’s touristy but has a lot of charm. There are the inevitable souvenir tat shops and PRs trying to get you to eat in their restaurants, but on the whole it’s well done and they have some nice pedestrianised walkways and squares. We didn’t have time to visit the Loro Parque or the Martinez swimming pool complex but both looked interesting.

It’s been 12 years since Allan was in Playa de Las Americas on holiday. Many of the “facilities” were readily recognisable but the town has grown enormously since then. More of the same really – English pubs and German eateries. The beach seems to have even less sand on it than then. The biggest disappointment is that the karaoke bar he spend most of his time “The Buccaneer” has gone to be replaced by a pretty uninviting disco pub. The nearby Flanningans seems to have prospered by contrast. Bev was delighted to find a pub on the seafront that had Walkers crisps and promptly indulged – washed down by cold beer.

We visited a Chinese restaurant opposite Flanningan’s and had what was certainly the best, if not the most expensive, Chinese meal we have had since leaving the UK – half a crispy duck between two – for a starter - enough said !! The service was fantastic too – pity Allan was driving as the complimentary liqueur was great.

It’s amazing how you make new friends. On our pontoon its been a little quite because its mainly local Spanish boats. The chap nearest is called Angel, he is a Colombian (but his mother is from Gran Canaria), he is just preparing his boat – a Beneteau 39 for a trip to Venezuela via the Cape Verde Islands. He speaks a bit of English and the rest we sort out by waving our hands about and drawing things in the air. He loaned me his Iridium phone to try out my SIM card and I was mortified when he later came to see me to tell me his phone no longer worked, when he talked to the dealer he figured out it was because he was not putting the antenna in correctly and had broken off a piece of plastic connector inside the phone. Days later Allan spent many hours helping him work his long range radio and felt a lot better at having repaid his kindness.

We had an evening out with Warren and Judy before they sailed to Gran Canaria. Having polished off their champagne and nibbles on their very nice 49 foot new Najad boat, they introduced us to a great Pizza restaurant called Epoch and a fantastic ice cream shop in Santa Cruz. Pizza, beer and ice cream came to about 8 pounds a head. Great night out and lots of great stories from two people who have been sailing for a few years. Interesting that their favourite cruising destination is Saint Katherine’s dock – London.

We also met Erik Dullerud on Orient Express. Erik is a Norwegian who has lived much of his life in Canada. We visited Erik on his lovely traditional style wooden boat with a bottle of wine which turned into many bottles of wine interspaced by a many slices of cheese and crisps. Allan woke up with a little bit of a hangover but Bev had quite a lot of a hangover… Erik was a really interesting guy and he had sailed to Santa Cruz with Moses a Russian Jewish guy who also now lives in Canada. Both had many fascinating stories to tell.

Allan eventually agrees to cut Bev’s hair which was getting rather long and very tangled in the wind. Allan’s tactic was to hack great chunks out first and then to straighten it out (or try to) later. The one inch trim that Bev had wanted turned into a 2.5 inch cut. Allan proclaimed that he had always liked short bobs. Bev cried several times during the ordeal and Allan said he would never do it again.

After Bev trimmed the ends herself she grew to like the shorter  look ! 

It’s funny how you try to save money when you aren’t earning !!

Tuesday 16th September

Erik came over to our boat on his way to the airport and a flight back to Canada. We imbibed (an Allan word – translated means ‘drink’) a few bottles of the French wine that fill the boat bilges and then visited the so-called Irish bar in town. Like most of these places it bears no real relationship to any bars that I have every visited in Dublin. This one had Guinness on draft and a Guinness advert on the wall and that was it – no farming nick nacks on the wall, no authentic Irish jigs on the sound system, no old news papers and faded photos on the wall, no crisps… At least it wasn’t a big detour on the way to the bus station for Eriks trip to the southern airport and they did sell cold Guinness. We left a little after midnight. Erik later told us he had a “slight hangover” on the first leg of his flight to Madrid due to the wine he had drunk earlier and a few ‘black and tans’.

A great night though.

Wednesday 17th September

Happy Birthday Allan ! Oh no, not long until the dreaded 40….

Special Birthday treat of full fried breakfast cooked by Bev. She had even managed to find some sausages that were a passable interpretation of the ones we get at home and Heinz baked beans. Bev also bought two much needed presents, a bottle of Aftershave and a pair of skimpier swimming trunks. Allan has been getting a hard time about the tan on his legs only starting below the knee because he always wearing his surf dude style shorts and swimming gear.

This is definitely not a day for boat maintenance so we chilled out in the Pizza Hut in town. They had a three course meal deal for only 5 euro 95, and that includes the beer J

Later in the evening we managed to find a place to eat that we both liked the look of, an Italian/Mexican restaurant just off the front street – the Avenida Marina. Nacho’s and dips to start followed by great mixed burritos and chimichanga’s washed down with a bottle of Faustino VII. Great service and food.  

Thursday 25th September

Happy Birthday Allan’s Dad !

There has been a noticeable increase in the number of big ships visiting. The format is usually the same, cruise ships arrive first thing in the morning, tourists spill out into the town or board the fleets of waiting buses to take them on tours of the island, then by night fall they are gone again. This month we have seen the Aurora, Oceania and Deutschland and a few other smaller ships. 

By far the most impressive though have been the tall sailing ships. This Mexican ship with an unpronounceable (and forgettable) name spent a week or so in port on its way to San Juan in the Caribbean. We were able to go on board and it was beautifully presented.

Mexican tall ship

As she left port, playing their national anthem, the crew climbed the rigging and took up saluting positions standing on the yardarms, in a beautifully synchronised manoeuvre. Other ships in the harbour sounded their horns, in tribute, as she left for her transatlantic journey.

Tuesday 30th September

Bill and Joyce Stratton, Bev’s Mum and Dad arrive for two weeks holiday. Allan collects them from the airport. They have brought the two folding bikes with them on the plane – it worked out much cheaper than getting them shipped. Dad had to sit in the boot of the car to get everything in though. A bit of an uncomfortable 1 hour ride for him – poor thing!!

Dahon Helios

They also came loaded up with a months post (all the people still trying to take money off us), more UK food items (Branston pickle, ready made sauces, instant bread mix…) and a portable hoover and toaster.

We have really started to settle into life in Santa Cruz now. It’s a real mixture of a place with some beautiful parks and squares, some lovely old buildings and good shops. It’s also not touristy which is nice.  

September had turned into a month of consolidation. We have done numerous jobs we needed to get done on the boat, bought lots of little things we need to get to make life more comfortable and have had time to relax which was much needed. 


© Copyright Allan & Bev Dornan 2016