Alan and Jean sharing our cruising news with friends, family.

20 July 2015 | Rabi Island Fiji
29 June 2015 | Suva Fiji
18 December 2013 | Auckland
05 December 2013 | Auckland
27 October 2013 | Vavau Tonga
12 September 2013 | Samoa
24 July 2013 | Moorea, Tahiti
19 July 2013 | Papeete
19 June 2013 | Nuka Hiva
02 June 2013 | Pacific Ocean
29 May 2013 | Pacific Ocean
24 May 2013 | Eastern Pacific Ocean
19 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
16 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
13 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
06 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
08 April 2013 | Shelter Bay marina, Colon.
28 March 2013 | Belize
27 March 2013 | Belize
03 March 2013 | Panamarina, Panama

Canary Islands

12 November 2011 | Lanzarote, Rubicon Marina

Mini geyser at Timanfaya Volcanic parkon Lanzarote Island

The Rugby World Cup has come and gone, the combined sigh of relief of New Zealanders at home and away was almost audible. We are world champions again, to risk being repetitive, it has been a long time between drinks. At last we could get on with the rest of our lives and in our case we watched the weather and swell forecasts to plan our departure from Rabat. For a week 30 yachts talked weather, watched weather all waiting for the harbor to be open and the swell to subside. The marina internet was impossible, speed was reduced by the weather watchers. By Tuesday the general consensus along the marina pontoons was that Friday or Saturday had to be D day. In the northwest Atlantic another low pressure system was pushing the red and green tongues of swell on the weather charts towards us. If we didn’t get out on Saturday we were looking at another 10 days .
By Friday the large contingent of French were getting a bit impatient and the Marina relented and led 5 catamarans out over the now decreasing swell. Jan and I walked down to the entrance to watch, hoping for some good photos. We were disappointed no dramatic photos but on the other hand very pleased that the Cats had left safely and the swell looked great for our departure the next day. Saturday came and the marina was busy with departure preparations, clearing decks, disconnecting from the shore, swapping boat cards, farewell photos and amongst all that we found time to walk up to Sale and spend our last dirham on fresh bread and pastries.
The immigration officials had agreed to come to our pontoons to clear the 22 departing yachts, usually boats have to tie up at a dock that only fits 2 boats for the last procedures and visit from Boris the black Labrador. As the tide creep in up the rock walls there was no sign of our officials, eventually they walked down the dock accompanied by a round of applause from anxious yachties. Our passports got stamped, Boris wagged his tail as a sign of approval as he scrambled on and off the boats. In groups of 3 and 4 we motored down the Bouregreg river out past the Kasbah where the pilot took us out into the Atlantic.
A smooth departure on the afternoon high tide was followed by a nightmare of fishing boats, nets, flashing lights that started just before dark and continued through the night. One set of nets were so close together that the fisherman guided us along his net then through a wee gap between his and another net. He kept waving his torch for us to get closer to him, Alan was worried we would hit him, but when we saw the small gap we realised why he wanted us virtually in his little boat. The other fisherman just metres away in his boat had a very dim blue light showing, impossible to see. From the tone of the discussion between fishing boats I think we had woken the blue light man up, he got a surprise seeing a large yacht bearing down on his small open boat. These guys have very rudimentary equipment and spend the night in open boats 20 or so miles off the coast. Some have red flashing lights others just have a bulb in an old clear plastic bottle and a torch to wave at you. By the time 22 yachts went through the back markers were finding some impatient and irate fishermen, at least one yacht had to be cut out of a net. I imagine both parties were a little upset. We had some close calls but by the early hours of the morning we were getting out of the tangle of nets and boats. It was good having Jan on board a third set of eyes meant that we all got some sleep. The plus of the night was we didn’t meet any trawlers as it is difficult to see how long their lines are.

The following 3 days and nights were pleasant downwind sailing with just a few other yachts in sight and the occasional passing merchant ship. A time to read, rest and reflect on our Moroccan sojourn.

La Graciosa is the popular first anchorage in the Canary Islands, the scenery is stunning in a volcanic way, a sandy beach and clear water. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to get ashore and explore. Playa Francesca was quite crowded when we arrived Wednesday morning then during the early evening the wind and swell moved into the southwest giving us an uncomfortable night. As the first rays of sun lit up the new day anchors were being lifted and a fleet of yachts departed south in search of calmer waters. We headed for Puerto de Naos at Arrecife the main town of Lanzarote Island, adding another kiwi yacht to the bunch already there. We know of 9 Kiwi yachts crossing the Atlantic this year so there always seems to be a black flag not too far away. Then there are the yachts with Kiwi connections. They include folk who have, sailed to NZ, been away along time returning home kiwi, relations in NZ, toured in a camper van and our latest English neighbor has a daughter married to a kiwi and their two sons have played rugby in NZ, one for Waikato.

Any way I’m side tracked!!

In the south of the Canary islands about 4 miles off the island of Hierro there is an underwater volcano erupting just below the surface. Looking out at a few of the 300 volcanoes on Lanzarote I am surprised there is not more activity. We shared a car with the Awaroa crew while in Arrecife for a tour of the spectacular volcanic scenery of Lanzarote. The Timanfaya Volcanic national park was our first stop where we hopped on a bus and had a tour of the volcanic cones, ash plains and lava fields. The park covers a small area of the 200sq km that was devastated by the eruption which started in 1750 and raged for 6 years. Every day 48 million cu metres of lava and molten rock flowed out devastating the area. The last eruption in this area was about 1825 and at the Park head quarters they demonstrate that the earth is still bubbling and hissing just metres under the surface. The restaurant has a whole pig cooking over an all natural volcanic bbq. The guides pour a small bucket of water down a hole and in 3 seconds a geyser of hot water erupts, shutter fingers had to be quick. Down the slope a bit another guide puts a dry bush on the side of a shallow pit and within seconds it’s alight. The weather was a bit cool so picking up a handful of hot scoria along the path was a welcome warmer up. Even coming from the Shaky Isles with our steamy craters and bubbling mud we found this is a pretty impressive place.

The next stop was down at the coast to watch the big swell sweeping into the lava caves along the West coast, not a place for taking a boat of any sort. Alan and I missed the second day with the car. Over night the wind had increased and changed direction so our position in the crowded inner part of Puerto de Naos was untenable. We needed to shift out to the outer anchorage and as usual we would not leave Tuatara for a day straight after re-anchoring. That’s what happens with this life you have to expect the unexpected and adjust accordingly. So Jan and the other three went off for a tour of the northern part of Lanzarote which they say also has spectacular scenery. I was getting an ominous tickle in my throat so a quiet day was welcome. Although it didn’t stop the assault of full blown flu.

Jan left us on Thursday to return to Perth, she came for a couple of weeks or so and stayed for six, we’ve had a great time together, been places and seen things we didn’t expect when we first asked her. We keep finding little bits and pieces she left behind, those scandals Jan, do you want us to throw them out? I just hope we didn’t give her a parting gift of flu to take back home. Yesterday, Friday we left Arrecife to motor sail down to Playa Blanca on the south of Lanzarote, laundry, flu and a toilet pump problem we have been trying to ignore, combined to provide an excuse to come into Rubicon Marina. We will have a couple of nights here before we do the overnight trip down to Las Palmas the capital of these islands.

I will down load some photos when I find a free wifi that works, my pay Spanish data card is too expensive and the marina wifi wont work!
Vessel Name: Tuatara
Vessel Make/Model: Alan Wright 51
Hailing Port: Opua NZ
Crew: Alan and Jean Ward

Sailing in the Pacific

Who: Alan and Jean Ward
Port: Opua NZ