Farewell to the Canary Islands
The Canary Islands

Bouncy Anchorages

For the first time in months, EW and I successfully exited a marina on the day we had planned. Perhaps we shouldn't have. We paid our bill on Thursday, and skillfully backed out of a tight slip on Friday morning, heading south for two hours to the only marina with fuel. We filled the diesel tanks, and motored back to Graciosa in no wind.

The anchorage had emptied earlier in the week because south winds were predicted. They came as promised while we were safe in the marina. Yesterday, as we neared the bay, we were surprised to see just one boat in the anchorage. This could be good -- as in we're first and get the best spots; or bad -- as in we missed a memo.

We kind of missed a memo. Strong southerlies are untenable here and we avoided that. But we anchored with building winds from the west, and have experienced 24 hours of bouncing and rolling. I have photos of our neighbors' boat which show too much bottom paint for a boat not heeling under sail. It's been thank kind of day. It also has poured in the desert, causing gully washes on shore, and sandy brown water in the anchorage. La Luna is fine, the Rockna Anchor is our new best friend, and we have taken this as a lazy day. Most of EW's pre-crossing tasks are on deck; one involves going half way up the mast. That is not happening in these winds and seas. As for my tasks. I did a couple, but it's no fun bouncing from counter to counter, or mast to settee, when you don't have to and aren't underway.

We read. we ate oatmeal for breakfast, and had a chef salad for lunch. Dinner may be popcorn. We did not launch the dingy, rig the jacklines, or prepare the ditch bag. We don't have a schedule. We will get into the town here at least once for Wi-Fi and phone calls. We have a few things to fix, and that is our excuse if the marine police show up. (After all, we have had our passports stamped for departure.) We do have a few things to fix, so our excuse is true, and only a fool would have left the anchorage in these conditions. Passage Weather says that the winds will shift to the north tonight, which should reduce the motion, but we still may see 20-25 knot gusts on Sunday. We are not fools and will go when the going is good and not before.

We also used this time to further discussed our destination in the Caribbean, using our copies of Chris Doyles guides and some research I did on Noonsite. With all due respect to the beautiful islands of the Caribbean, I'm over high anchoring fees, and restrictive cruising grounds, so we aren't stopping at Barbados. On this side of the Atlantic, European sailors have frequently asked us which are our favorite islands and we answer, Grenada and Guadeloupe. So we are going to land at Guadeloupe and spend a week or so in Grande Cul-de-Sac Marin, that large bay in the north. Then we will sail to Nevis and St. Kitts, which we have never visited. From there we'll make a quick stop (24 hours max) in Sint Maartin to pick up some paint, and then we'll head to the Virgins.

Timing is iffy, but we won't be in St. Thomas for the holidays. As for leaving here, we remind ourselves that we don't have a schedule, we certainly won't leave on Sunday, and I suspect we won't leave on Monday. Figure 17-21 days for the crossing, then three weeks to make our way to the Virgins, and I figure we'll be there by the 10 - 17th of January. The only bad thing about that is we may miss meeting up with dear friends who will be in the San Blas in February. Hope they hang there for a while, because we will be moving west in early February.

For now, we are relaxed and rockin' here in Graciosa. I'm good with that. As a matter of fact, I didn't sleep well on the dock and was up reading nearly every night -- for hours. Last night, we both woke up to check the anchor and our position, but afterwards I went right back to sleep and dreamland. (I did have a dream in which I was in an office, disturbed that my hair was constantly windblown even though the papers on my desk were not effected.)

EW and I came up with a new game: You know you married a cruiser when ...

You know you are married to a cruiser when she gets a better night of sleep at anchor in 20-30 knot winds than she does when the boat is in a slip at a marina.

Are you married to a cruiser? How can you tell? Inquiring minds want to know.

I heard EW{}POL::""|


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