14th November 2022 to 12th January 2023
Porto Santo-Madeira-Porto Santo-Tenerife-La Gomera
Henrietta hasn’t sailed far in the past two months. Most of the time she has rested in comfortable anchorages and calm marinas. She may not have chosen it, and it won’t necessarily have suited her temperament. She would I suspect have preferred more time on the ocean swell, sails billowing in wholesome fresh breezes; surging over oceans wide, a dazzling white rush of water at her bow. Instead she has suffered marina blues, with the indignity of fish nibbling at her bottom.
In contrast, I have been pretty busy, fixing bits of her and me, talking, walking. I’m weary. Henrietta can write this update. So, it’s over to her………………………
Ok, if that’s what he wants. The skipper is always boss. But it has been a long time since I last put pen to paper, and I can’t remember much of what has happened. Even boats suffer from lapses of memory. This is a little bit of what I recall.
After a spell in the confines of Porto Santo harbour, I had a quick rolly return trip to Madeira. It was an easy sort of excursion, a 100 mile round trip, anchoring a few nights, so Michael could meet up with some lovely lively old friends from Bristol, eat ice creams and walk through the very upmarket suburbs of Funchal. (Neither of us is very upmarket and I was embarrassed by his scruffy worn out t-shirts and disgraceful sun hat, when the good folk of Madeira often have clean chinos, polo shirts and eye-catching straw on their heads.)
After that outing to Madeira we enjoyed another week in Porto Santo, before finally leaving at the end of November, once the boss had serviced my engine. (Although neither he nor I like engines, it is a great joy to have clean oil and new filters in my works; it’s a sort of colonic irrigation coupled with detox and high quality blood transfusion. Marine engines highly recommend it. I feel a lot better.)
Next stop Tenerife. I was anchored in a gorgeous spot, no houses, peace and the grandeur of majestic cliffs. Unsullied breathtaking nature. It was a shame that anchor chain got snarled on some old discarded mooring blocks. The boss dived down, couldn’t budge it, and had to cut the chain. Dived down again with rope to retrieve the anchor, returned with damaged ear and bleeding nose – all over my deck. (Think he’s forgotten he’s a pensioner). But I have my anchor back.
Onwards then to the city of Santa Cruz, which is the capital of Tenerife. Very fine it was too, tastefully lit and shining with Christmas lights. Pretty sociable for me with the constant goings-on of yachts joining the early winter rush to the Caribbean.
In Santa Cruz there are also lots of those huge grotesque boats called cruise ships, like ugly Soviet era housing blocks many storeys high, with cruising human beans doing their thing. They come to Tenerife in a steady stream of winter escape, stop a day, then disappear over the horizon. Very peculiar. But the beans take lots of photos and look as if they like it.
From the bustle of city life, the skipper takes me to the tiny island of La Gomera. He loves it here. I’m happy enough too. Don’t really mind fish nibbling my bottom; it helps keep it clean. With lots of fellow yachts and yachties, it has been a happy sociable spell.
We’ve had the excitement of watching the start of the Transatlantic Rowing Race.
As a yacht with sails, I can scarcely imagine what it must be like to rely on oars and human muscles, stamina and mind-boggling determination to get one across that massive ocean. There were over forty rowing boats that set off. After more than a month, the fastest are soon to arrive in Antigua. The slower ones, with just one person aboard may take three months or more.
I know my skipper, is full of admiration for those rowers. He felt privileged to have a tenuous link with one of the rowing boats and had a happy evening as their supporting family came for a drink in my cockpit. You can read more about the rowing race here.
And you can support the Friendship brothers (pictured before the start, below) here.
There’s then been a visit from one of the boss’s sons, called George, and they’ve left me alone as they’ve gone walking and swimming. The walks here are fantastic for their variety, interest and challenge. I float here in the marina’s clear water; they take buses to explore the island’s trails, returning at dusk with weary tingling limbs and strong thirst for beer.
Oh! There’s also been the joy and fun and absurdity of human Christmas and New Year festivities, and here also the Three Kings festival; a wondrous series of local song, music and dance, excited bean children, bopping bean youngsters and more, plus New Year fireworks. All this on an island just twelve miles across. I have been wearing my Christmas lights too!
Enough for now. Skipper is planning to take me back to Santa Cruz on Tenerife to sort himself out.