03 November 2017 | Lanzarote
29 October 2017 | Lanzarote
30 September 2017 | Burj Khalifa. Dubai
26 September 2017 | Waiheke island
16 September 2017 | Auckland, New Zealand
12 September 2017 | Wellington, New Zealand
07 September 2017 | Lake Aniwhenua, New Zealand
06 September 2017 | Hobbiton, New Zealand
05 September 2017 | Bridal veil waterfall, New Zealand
04 September 2017 | Haleiwa resort, New Zealand
03 September 2017 | Rangitoto island volcano
Biggest in the world?
13 November 2017
I decided to take a break from trekking up and down the marina of Las Palmas and searching for a berth on a boat that is going to be sailing ⛵️ across the Atlantic. So I took a drive around the island 🌴 of Gran Canaria. As I was going North along the coastal road I was keeping an eye 👁 on the sea and the cliffs, I saw a car park that was very rough and bumpy with around 20 vehicles 🚗 that just seemed to be abandoned. I parked up and got out of the car to a 26c degree blast furnace, ohhh 😲 it was so hot it was great just how I like it. About 100m away there was a large wall built out of the local aggregate which just happens to be volcanic lave cut into blocks, within this wall there is a large hole in it, so this is where I head off to. Once through the wall. It turns into an obstacle course, over the rocks in order to get any where near the crashing waves. Now when I say crashing I mean they were big, very big and I could hardly hear myself think 🤔 when I got as near as I dared. I sat down and watched the ocean roll in for a quite some minutes. As I walk away I put my foot on a wet slab if rock which as I found to my dismay it was very slippery, so I’m trying not to go down and also protect both my iPad and camera, non of which I was very successful, I now have a largish graze/gash on my right knee which is painful 😖 to walk on my phone and iPad hit the deck but fortunately I think I protected them from serious damage. I picked my self up and all I saw were about 6 men and one woman rushing to help me up and see if I was okay. The thing is (I didn’t notice before hand) they were all naked. Now I honestly did not know where they were hiding apart from within the hollows in the rocks. The disappointing thing is that not one of them was under 70 in my opinion. I carried on along the coast and still didn’t see anyone younger than about 40 45ish 😂😡. Continuing my drive I left the dual carriageway and onto the most twisty 46km I have ever driven on it climbed up and down the mountains ⛰ on the edge of the island 🌴 looking down anything up to 1000m above sea 🌊 level the longest straight was no more than 100m. The driving was fantastic the most worrying thing for me was due to the rather narrow road and driving a left hand drive 🚘 it makes it a little more difficult when going round right hand bends with oncoming traffic, it feels like I was only inches away from the barriers (in reality I was a goodly distance from the barriers, along this 46km I went through almost 11km of tunnels. A little known secret on Gran Canaria is that it is home to the largest cactus 🌵 farm in the world 🌎 now I’m not too sure if that is correct because the Americans reckon that they have the honour of that claim. Anyway I decided to take a look 👀 as I approached the sign said it was free entry (bonus) the first thing that I saw was a smallish amphitheater, which is for performing plays and the such. There was also an expensive restaurant (the cactus juice was €6.50 for maybe 33cl) the salad was also expensive but I do admit there was lots of it and it tasted sweet and crunchy, it was lovely. I started my slow walk around the cacti 🌵 now I was almost 3 hours just wandering around and as they say if you’ve seen one cactus you have seen them all. That statement could not have been further from the truth, what got to me was not only the extreme verity around but how dam big they got, I’m not talking the likes of the giant sequoia from Arizona USA 🇺🇸 I’m talking the ones that everyone has in their kitchen or conservatory, these were maheusive. I picked from one of these cacti 🌵 a ripe red prickly pear and very carefully split it open and ate the sweet red contents (it tastes very much like a pomegranate but with larger pips) I only got caught with about 5 spines in my finger which was irritating 😠 for about an hour. I decided to call it a day around the 3 hour mark, but I think 🤔 I had only got about just over halfway round. It was a very enjoyable afternoon spent wandering around and chatting to the odd person that I met (mostly British for some strange reason) The cost of my new tattoo from Ceser was ........ ziltch, nada, nowt, zero, nothing at all. So thank you very much Ceser I appreciate it
Inked how much?
12 November 2017
I went into the marina at Las Palmas and asked around for the offices for the ARC rally. I parked my car 🚗 miles away (not quite but almost) after a chat with some of the organisers they advised me to place my cv in
the bars and cafes around the marina. As I am visiting them I notice that there around 30 or 40 others looking for a berth on one of the 270 boats that are soon to be sailing ⛵️ off across the Atlantic. My mood dropped I little seeing all the competition, but chatting with the staff again they think that I stand a better chance because most of the others are just chancers and have very little experience compared to me (I don’t think I have much but they reckoned I have more than most) all I have to do now is find somewhere to print my cv off, so we will see. I stopped off at a cafe for some lunch 🥗 (hard work this job seeking) whilst I was sat on my own having a lovely cheap lunch I asked a chap if he was English he replied most indignantly “no I’m Irish ☘️ “ so I apologised then asked if we could chat, which we did. His name was Ewan and he owns a boat 🚣 called Pamela. It turns out he is sailing ⛵️ the ARC but he is fully crewed up. After chatting with him for a good while, I looked at my watch and realised that I only had 10 minutes left before my parking ticket was to run out. So I makes my apologies and legs it back to my car 🚗 and decided to drive back to my digs. Just before I get back I realised that I had left without paying for my lunch 🥗 so for 24 hours I was quite vexed at myself.
This morning I sets off back to pay my dues. First of all I found Ewan and apologised if I embarrassed 😞 him, he said the waiter thought he was paying my bill (which he didn’t) so I had a little chat about his rather large boat 🚣. Next it was back to the cafe, the waiter said he knew that I would come back. He even let me have my lunch there again today 3 courses and 1/2 Ltr of beer 🍺 all for 9€. Whilst I was wandering around I gets a text message from Ceser the tattoo/street artist 👨🎤 asking if I can get to his studio for 15:30, so I says yes I can. When I arrived he let me in and showed me his design for my new bit of art work, which I loved but it was a bit too large. Ha asked me to sit down and he would rework it. After 15 minutes he produced the new version. At this point a had to ask how much it was going to cost (in the UK 🇬🇧 I had been quoted between £100 & 150) so after he told me how much it was going to cost I decided to allow him to proceed, (I think it’s down to my baby blue eyes 👀 again) the inking alone took just under 90 minutes, then there was all the prep. Sometime after he started I fell asleep 💤. When Ceser had finished on my leg I had a look and I am more than impressed with the finished result.
A new island a new hope
08 November 2017
Awake early o'clock today in anticipation of my flight to Gran Canaria. Not a very good start groping my way around the kitchen in the dark trying to find the light switch, when I feel my foot slide underneath me, then I find the light switch to discover to my horror that I have stood in dog crap 💩 💩 (now I have seen lots of it outside but I didn't expect it indoors) I was not happy at all, so I cleaned my shoe and left the rest to the owner with a note that I wished I could have seen their faces. I handed my rental car 🚗 back at the airport and then had 3 attempts to get airside (no boarding ticket then I forgot about my new bottles of shampoo and shower gel, so back to the check in to see if they could bag it for me) I boarded the small aircraft when a young lady sat down beside me and started marking what turned out to be exam papers, after about 10 minutes she asked what I was reading (Monsoon by Wilbur Smith ) it turns out she was Spanish and a teacher who had worked in the UK for a number of years. Our chat made the hour aboard the aircraft go by very quickly.
My attempts at getting a reasonably priced car 🚗 was hopeless, I eventually got a Seat Leon for the price of a VW Polo but at 300€ I thought it was very expensive, but I must say I do like it (I would have loved it if it was an automatic) a short drive later I get to my new digs where Alexandro lives, he came out and helped me with my bags 💼, it is a very large ground floor apartment. My main problem if you would call it that is the huge bed Is only 15cm off the floor which makes it fun getting up, but I can live with that. I went to find a supermarket and came across 2 young chaps doing what would be classed as graffiti in the UK but it was fantastic artwork as far as I was concerned, I had to go over and have a chat about their murals and their inspiration for the designs, so after a short time I asked him if he did tattoos, he did so I asked him if he would do one for me, his reply was contact him tomorrow.
Now I can get around
04 November 2017
I started the day with a little lay in and got up around 09:00 then went to a marina not too far away to see if I could find any boats 🚣 that were maybe going out for the day so that I could have a rest from the trudging around. I sat on the quay for almost 2 hours and saw no body prepping up to go sailing, I even walked some of the more promising pontoons where people seemed to be getting ready to leave. I found only 1 boat but they were going down the coast to Playa Blanca (too far for me to get back to the car 🚗) It is almost like the UK 🇬🇧, unless you already are on a boat they don’t want to know any one else.
I decided to take a look on the North West side of the island. It’s very rugged and it was rather difficult to get down to the sea, except for a few places where there were the small beaches of black sand. I parked up where there were lots of other vehicles, but couldn’t find the people to match (150+ cars 🚗 less than 20 people) I saw a few out on surf 🏄 boards, a few of them seemed to my inexperienced eyes, to be very good, I think I will have to try this next time I get the opportunity. At the centre of some roundabouts they put sculptures up like they have in the UK 🇬🇧 one that I saw was of a family of 3 camels 🐪 so I had to stop up the road and walk back for a few pics, I had all sorts of shouts and horn blasting at me (I think they didn’t like me walking 🚶 down the dead centre or the road between the opposing traffic). I drove through one of the National parks and stopped off to take a look around. The first thing I noticed was the great smell of camels 🐪. I got in the queue and was just about to take a ride, when I noticed that the family of 5 just in front paid 25€ total, then they told me it was 12€, so because I had been on one before whilst in Tunisia 🇹🇳 I decided to give it a miss, what they do have that is free of charge, is a little room dug (or maybe it was a natural blowhole) into the volcanic lava flow that explains all about how all the volcanos 🌋 were linked together and how the locals worked in and around using the camels 🐪 imported from nearby Africa, like draft horses.
It’s been an OK day with temps around 27c and that’s a long way short of what my brother John is having to endure at 35+ (how’s the work going mate) but much better than the UK 😀
Nothing happening here yet
03 November 2017 | Lanzarote
Not for the want of trying, I have been trawling the marinas in Lanzarote for the last three days with only one possibility of a berth which did not work out, the skipper is planning to cross the Atlantic with very little experience and no insurance. Or real plans for crew or food and water.
On a nicer note the owner (Joy) and his partner of my first Airbnb were very nice and helpful, his home was nice and comfortable if a little off the beaten track, so he driven me in towards Playa Blanca to continue my search for a boat ⛵️which still took about an hour to get there.
Lanzarote is just so barren, now I know that it is hundreds of old volcanos 🌋 but there are hardly any trees 🌲 one Thing that I learnt was that there is very very little rain fall here on the islands therefore water is at a premium. On the sides of all the hills I noticed that there are lots and lots of very small walls no more than 1m high, forming lots of very small pens (some no more than 20m square) all over the place. Also there were set out in thousands of (walls) small semi circles with shallow ditches within, which is to prevent the wind from damaging the thousands of vine plants inside (one per semi circle) , apparently the vino is very good from here (But as people who know me will also know that I only use it (wine) to put on chips 🍟)
This morning 01 Nov I caught a taxi to my new bed and breakfast the taxi driver insisted that we were at the correct address. I tried to tell him that he was wrong in a polite way, however he made me get out. I knew we were not at the correct place so I had to carry my three bags which weigh almost 50kg, well over 800 m to my new digs.
Over the last four days I have spent around €150 on taxi fares, this is the problem being so far away from anywhere, so I now have a hire car which has cost me only €70 for 4 days how good is that? 👍😃. I have spent today in the two marina's that are around Arrecife the capital. I managed to speak to 5 or 6 skippers but none of them know of any boats going to the Caribbean in the near future or anywhere else for an extended period. It now looks like I may have to fly over to Gran Canaria to try out a few marina's there. Which is where the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) starts from.
Something that is very disappointing with this island is that there seems to be no maintenance. On the seafront alone there are hundreds of wooden boards on the jetty's and pontoons, that are missing with large holes just waiting for someone to fall into. The streets are covered in dog muck, out of all the people I saw walking dogs not one had a bag for collection. One thing I did see was an enclosed area about 50m square with lots of obstacles for dogs to play in, in this area I did not see any dog muck. The sun is still shining and the temperature was around 26°C
Here we go again
29 October 2017 | Lanzarote
I’m just waiting around in Lancashire hot pot land for my next adventure to get up and underway, so my next flight is booked. Which cost a fortune due to an error by me. (not noticing that the date had jumped forward by 3 months whilst paying for the flight) From here I will fly down to Lanzarote in the Canaries where I join ‘Big G’ a 44 foot boat who is owned by Gordon. UPDATE..... Two days after booking my flight I gets a message from Gordon saying that due to new work commitments the trip has been put back 3 to 4 months 😩😫. So no real problem, all I have to do is find a another boat sailing from the canaries, so I find one that is sailing from Lanzarote to Cape Verde and onwards to Brazil then South Africa, I thinks that’ll do nicely for me. After making contact with the skipper (Werner) he accepts me as a crew member. It then takes over 7 days for me to sort things out, then whilst we are having a Skype call he tells me about the other crew members that will be aboard and that they will be leaving for Recife in Brazil in the morning, he only spent 2 days in Cape Verde. This was a shock because it didn’t give me time to get sorted let alone book any flights, so my plans have shifted yet again. I’m not too bothered because it is all part of my adventure and it makes me feel alive and keeps the anticipation and my blood flowing. So I’m now sticking to my original plans. I’m flying on the 29th Oct, where I will start visiting all the marinas on Lanzarote and if need be the other islands asking for a berth on any of the boats that are massing in order to take the annual trip across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. From what I can gather there are usually about 50 or 60 boats all crossing around the same time (they all wait until the hurricane season has come to an end). Again my thanks go to all my family and friends for sticking by me, hopefully I will have plenty of things to write about. It would be nice to know that you are still reading, so please take the time to say hello 🤗