Location – Marina Lanzarote, Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands. No longer at anchor – boohoo. But alas being at anchor in a Force 5-6 whilst very doable, does make getting ashore a wet bouncy slightly nervey pain. If we don’t get the kids ashore we all go a bit coo coo. So, to the soulless convenience of the marina where our kids can run around and be scrubbed clean with ease.
Weather – windy. Unsettled. Frequent Force 5-6 and white caps just beyond the breakwater. Not typical for this time of year. Apparently, the Canaries is massive for surfing and wind surfing. Loads of surfdudes come here specifically for the Atlantic rollers. However the industry stops in January as there is usually just not enough wind then. Well this January defies all that. There is wind aplenty and too much of it. There has also been a lot of rain. The lava cliffs are starting to sprout! It is all very unusual. Many boats are stuck waiting for the trades to set in. To settle down. What we are seeing is a freak summer/winter of weather. So when it will all stop….? Who knows…wisdom says ‘soon’.
Status – waiting. Still. It is all becoming a bit repetitive. When oh when will the wind settle down? When will it be balmy? When will be on our way once more? I’m afraid through no fault of our own, this voyage has lost momentum. Stalled. We left 6 months ago and yet the last 3 have been spent in port. Upside; we are still our own bosses. Get up when we want, there is nowhere we have to be (except maybe the supermarket or the chandlery or the play park), we suit ourselves (our kids). But oh how I can’t wait to do all that in warmer climes. I want swimming, freckly noses, sticky sweet tropical fruit and lots of fresh fish. Please. Oh yes I know, there will be mozzies and heat and probably cranky children bladebla – it still looks good from here.
Destination – Grenada, Caribbean via the Capes Verdes. The desire to be in the Caribbean, is strong. I just want to get there. It is what we set out to do all those moons ago and I want to do it. We have to get there.
Plan of Action – remain calm and get south asap!! We leave for Fuerteventura in a few days time. There we will haul out to do some hull jobs and then wait for the weather window to open and stay open. We are provisioned at least. We are stuffed to the gunwhales with stocks. Hoorah! I can’t tell you anything interesting or cultural about our quarter in the Canaries unless it relates to supermarkets, marinas, anchoring, cheap wine, dinghy tie up points, play parks, wifi connections (not great), the weather and/or the incessant red dust that blows in from Morocco in an Easterly wind into your drying laundry – ideal. (All we have had are north easterlies. Dusty indeed).
So here we sit and wait. With a boat full of supplies waiting to pounce. Glued to the weather. Doing chores. Cleaning things. We even made chutney yesterday! I am sewing patches on jeans and repairing ripped pillow cases (again I blame the wind for battering the hell out of them whilst they dry on the line. Threadbare!). As are many of the knees on Olive’s ‘warm clothes’. All her trousers have holey knees through much climbing and falling and some tough laundry conditions. Alfi is growing out all of her winter wear whilst neither of their summer frocks are so much as stained. Oh how this voyage has unfolded. We need to get south or to mothercare. It is honest to also admit that there has been some disquiet aboard. Ben is frequently quoting me Nelson; ‘men and boats rot in port’. How right you are my lord. On a hairier note, I am starting to like Ben’s beard. Ever since he chopped off the silly hams and ceased twirling his facial locks like a nervey insecure weirdo. All that gone. Thank goodness.
Upside – precious time watching my sweet benign little flowers grow. Olive yesterday shoved a 6.5 litre bottle of water (with some intent) down the companionway where it landed a few centimetres from Alfi’s head. It landed with an actual thud. I swear I saw the letters splurt forth from the moment of impact. All Alfi and I could do was stop and stare in disbelief at the huge plastic missile before looking upwards to Olive’s mischievous face marked with an expression that said ‘I know I shouldn’t have done that…but I’m glad that I did!’ There are many attempted acts of sisterly love by Olive toward Alfi. No longer do we need to tell her to say sorry and kiss Alfi. No. Now she delivers the act and then immediately offers Alfi a kiss whilst saying sorry Alfi and then ‘thank you Alfi’ in a slightly menacing, toothless and thisping mutter. Watching Olive interact with Alfi is to see a demonstration of the most very basic of animal antics. ‘I am big. You are small. I can stand. You cannot. I like the sound of your head banging against the wood. It’s funneeeee’. Laughing we are not (well sometimes we do). We are at least grateful Dhanu is not made of steel. Watching the girls makes me ponder that surely all children everywhere with siblings, have endured this abuse and come out OK? I mean I am one of four and look how balanced I turned out…
The View From the Hatch – in my experience, the view when in marinas like this is always the same. Concrete. Promenade. Shops and restaurants. Lots of lights. Lots of noise. Palm trees, (those short stumpy ones which Olive refers to as pineapple tress – how totally logical. Makes me wonder why there are not pineapples hanging from them?) From inside the cabin, we can hear Burger King operatives calling customers names out over a PA system. Oh yeah baby, we are living the dream. At first I thought it was Canarian bingo. But now I have worked it out, I’m glad we aren’t missing any fun. However I must not complain as the upside to being moored next to Burger King is that they have a set of play tunnels for kids which Olive loves (as do we as it exhausts her). It is free and on the doorstep…she has mastered the three tiered swirl of primal coloured plastic which she descends in a giddy heap taking out which ever Canarian child was in the way. Thank you Burger King.
On being port bound – it is frustrating. The trick is to try and enjoy it even though you are preparing to leave. Difficult. The real ball ache is that I have almost forgotten what it is to be at sea. I know it will take at least a few days to find the rhythm and that until we do sailing will be a shock to the system. I was reminded of all this when looking around the boat today. It is a different place when in port, when inert. I looked at all the piles and collections of things that had fallen into synch with one another over the last few months and realised they would not stand a chance at sea. They would all have to be swooped away and re-housed. Where would they go? Life inside the cabin would have to be once more, secured, cushions stuffed here and there and surfaces cleared and missiles lashed down. I can almost hear the clinking of jars and bottles, the tinkling of aluminium items in the pan locker, persistently clanging away. But then in imagining that it will also follow that if I stick my head out of the hatch, we will be moving forward. The sea will be alive. The wind will hug my ears. The stars will be out with any luck. The girls will be sleeping. And Ben and I will be feeling positive and focused and expectant and free. Oh yes please.