The obvious movie quote as we approached Graciosa in the Canary Islands was, “I don’t think we’re in the Azores, Toto.” In eight days and just a bit over eight hundred miles we had gone from the arid but lush Azores to a desert on the sea. We were heading for the anchorage on the southeast end of the island, which is nestled close to the larger (and evidently very slightly more urban) island of Lanzarote. As we rounded the end of Graciosa, we were greeted by a heart on shore. All together now, “Awwwww.” As has been mentioned, we successfully anchored just at dark on Friday night.
I spent most of our first day in Graciosa in the cockpit with binoculars and camera at my side, hand sewing the flag of Spain, and stealing views of other cruisers and the day party boats moored near shore. Our sewing machine is not working (Fixing it is on the list. I have an instructional CD. That should go well, right?) and Spain’s is a simple three-stripe flag; in my past life ashore I used to embroider, so I sewed a flag. That actually went very well, but it did take nearly all day.
EW had announced that he was tired from the sail and wanted a day of rest, flatly refusing to get the dingy in the water. I was OK with that, as it isn’t quite kosher to hang around town before we check in to the country, and we couldn’t do that until Monday. While I was on deck with the binoculars and my sewing, I noticed a handsome shepherd on Sephina, the catamaran anchored near us. EW thought he had heard live music wafting from that same boat the evening before. Therefore, we were both on the lookout for the crew of that boat, so when Rob (Australian) and Jen (French) and their dog Bal (German) came by in a kayak, we hailed them. I talked dog, and EW asked them if the music he’d heard had been from their boat. Oh yeah.
(We found out later that Rob and Jen had met via an on-line music site. During the ensuing months they shared music, life histories, and dreams. At some point in the early conversations, Rob mentioned he wanted to sail around the world and Jen told him he should absolutely follow his dream. When their friendship became a relationship he asked Jen to sail with him. She agreed as long as she could keep her dog and have some plants on board. They have a large, beautiful catamaran, with dog, plants, a number of guitars, a full electronic keyboard, and a box of assorted small percussion instruments.)
Of course, we didn’t know all of that when EW asked about the music, but Rob was delighted to find out that EW played and it was agreed that we’d get together at some point. I stitched away and tried to come up with some snack options in case “at some point” meant that evening on La Luna. I mentally thanked my morning self for cleaning the boat, physically mixed up a batch of cheese crackers and put it in the fridge to firm before baking, and went back to sewing the flag and keeping watch over the harbor.
Later that afternoon, Rob and Jen came by to say that folks they’d met in Madeira had arrived and they all wanted to get together to share music. We were invited, and EW amazingly found the energy and motivation to inflate the dinghy. (Subtle, not?) I baked the crackers, we packed our drinks and other things and prepared for an evening of playing music in the cockpit of a catamaran. Of course, this immediately brought to mind our many evenings on Two Much Fun, One White Tree, and Ainulindalë . I will not cry. I will not cry. We had been invited for 6, but I purposely waited until a bit later so that they could all catch up in French and have dinner. The other guests were Marianne, Jon-Luc, and Luca from S/V. Yeo, and another family from France, Luic, Laurence, Louise, Mael, and Lucy. All are fun, talented, wonderful people and we had a ball. Louise played her violin, Lucy showed us the “Cup Song”, and Mael is a budding magician with a myriad of tricks and a winning smile. Luca didn’t play for us, but I know that he writes songs and lyrics. Marianne, Laurence, and Luic have excellent singing voices. This was a talented group.
Jon-Luc knows a lot of American songs – in French. He’d hum one to EW in a stepped-up tempo, and we’d try to slow it down in our mind and figure out what song it was so they could play it together. His guitar is a travel guitar that rattled when EW tried it out. Turned out Jon-Luc had stored his reading glasses in it. Jon-Luc told us in his limited English that the guitar had been advertised as a carryall and paddle. Now that’s a versatile guitar. Didn’t sound half bad, either.
Jon-Luc, Rob, Jen,and EW all led the group is their favorite songs and in the songs requested by Marianne and Laurence, who had song books in French and English. We laughed, we sang, we got to know each other, and we felt welcomed back into the cruisers’ way of life as we knew it in the Caribbean. I think we’re going to like the Canaries just fine, and I’m sure that those cruising in the Caribbean will enjoy meeting the crews on these three boats, as well.
Jon-Luc, Jen, Marianne, and Mael after a particularly effective trick. Don’t you love his magician’s head gear? It was also effective as a presto-chango scarf.
Bal likes to sleep on feet. Best case – he sleeps on one foot and you use the other to rub behind his ears. We are friends.