28 January

Goodbye Fuerteventura.  Goodbye Canary Islands.  We have spent much longer here than anticipated but have not been disappointed.  Alfi started crawling the day we arrived here.  Her first teeth sprouted here.  Olive finally grew another whilst becoming a fully fledged tantrum wielding toddler.  We can only remember it well.  Here are some (long awaited) pics of our time here…

Anchorage, Arrecife, Lanzarote – December 2014

Olive in our friend’s dinghy, nose to nose with our French friend, Antoinne…

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Again Olive playing lady muck being ferried around by the skipper of Island Swift (below boat), in their little dinghy called ‘Swiftlet’ (cute)….Island Swift is an English boat – her crew are a family of four, two adults, parents to two teenage boys.  Like us, sailing to the Caribbean to adventure together.  Currently they are on route to Capes Verdes…our last text from them was that they were travelling south ‘like the clappers’ in good winds…we will be right behind them.

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Arrecife, Lanzarote – late December 2014

For all you sailing geeks out there, check this beauty out – this is SY Altair – a classic.  We saw her (and many others) as we were heading into the marina whilst they were all leaving heading for the Caribbean.  They were all participants in the Panerai Classic rally.  To participate in this rally you have to be a classic sailing yacht.  Google it and you will see all the boats we saw that day.  This one (and the rest) all cut a stunning silhouette as they sliced through the water heading south.  Truly beautiful not least, very exciting to watch.  I understand that some made the 2800 mile crossing in 12 days (fast!)…incredible.

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Marina Lanzarote, Arrecife, Lanzarote – end December 2014

One morning we awoke (in the marina) to see the most enormous motor yacht that at least, I had ever seen.  It was like a floating hotel.  This is Olive a bit awestruck…

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 Gran Tarajal – Fuerteventura – a few days ago

We arrived here in Gran Tarajal, Fuerteventura, around 15th January.  It is lovely here.  Family oriented.  Friendly people.  This is Alfi cruising around the deck in the evening sun…

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This is Yves, Patti and Lulu the dog (french folk).  They are wonderful young at heart full of energy people.  We met them first on La Graciosa.  Then again, quite to our surprise, here in Gran Tarajal.  They last made the journey from France to Senegal 30 years ago, in a 30 foot boat.  When they left France, Patti was 3 month pregnant.  When they arrived in Dakar, Senegal she was full term and promptly had a healthy baby boy in Dakar! What a woman!  All I can say to these lovely people is, mon chapeau…

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 Somewhere in Northern Fuerteventura, 25 January 2015

One day at the playpark, I got talking (as you do) with another parent.  He was a South African chap.  I told him we lived on a boat etc.  He mentioned friends of his (also living on the island) from Dartmouth, Devon who had also arrived here on a boat having sailed the world with their kids.  Soon after this an English chap arrived on the pontoon and introduced himself.  He was the said friend.  His name was Ian.  Within minutes he had invited us all to a BBQ that weekend.  ‘No’ he said, it was no bother to collect us all, and drive us all with his wife, and kids to the BBQ.  Obviously we didn’t hesitate to accept the kind invitation (which would get us beyond walking distance, beyond the playpark and supermarket to actually see some of this amazing island).  True to his word, he, his wife Mary and their kids arrived and scooped us up (car seats and all) and off we went.  We had a great day. Thank you Ian and Mary for being so generous and friendly!! Ian and Mary are amazing as they crossed the Atlantic (east – west and back) in their boat with their kids.  Their boat is totally unique.  It is a racing boat.  One of only eight made.  Carbon fibre…(i think that is right).  Whatever, it is super light and super fast and big.  Their cruising speed is 12-13 knots (ours is 5!).  Their fast speed is 20 knots (we feel like the speed of light when we make 7 knots!).  They can travel 200 miles a day! We do 120.  They literally surf…and we thought we were bonkers.

As for the other family, the Scot in blue in the white cap and the lady in the pink cap were so kind and hospitable to us, relative strangers.  Thank you Murdo, Ana, Alba and Andrew for the lovely dinner, the toys your kids gave ours and the warmness in which you embraced us.  We shall not forget it and hope we see them again.   (Just a shame this is such a ridiculous picture of me…there are hardly any ever…I wonder why??)

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Boatyard – Gran Tarajal, Fuerteventura – mid January 2015

We have got loads done here.  We hauled out, fixed leaks, cleaned Dhanu’s bottom (which was covered in barnacles), antifouled and made a new thingymewhatsit for the wind vane self steering…it meant 4 days living on the hard and climbing up and down a few metre high ladder but it was great to achieve so much.  Olive whizzed up and down the ladder like it was normal behaviour for a two year old. The yard was full of toothless local fishermen with wizened weather beaten faces staring curiously at us whilst tending to their own beautiful working boats.  Here we are under Dhanu’s hull her having been hauled out moments before…nerve racking I can tell you to see our boathome gingerly swaying in the air!

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Olive – counting barnacles…she ran out of numbers…(and fingers…)

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Something was hilarious…I am not sure what…

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So that brings you all up to date, visually speaking.  The photos are precious I know.  Who wants words when you can have pictures…if only pictures were as quick and easy to upload as text! So for now we say ‘see you soon’ on this auspicious eve.  The moment we untie our lines tomorrow morning we are firmly committed to the Atlantic crossing.  We will be leaving ‘Europe’.  Think of us.  It is as bizarre a thought as remote as it may feel to you guys tucked up in doors warm and cosy.  In a few days time, we will finally be hot.  Or at least warmer…here we go.  Deep breath.

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5 Responses to 28 January

  1. rachel says:

    I am thinking of you all and send tons of love. Fabulous photos give a great flavour of life for you. So glad the people along the way are making life fulfilling. Safe trip xxxx

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Karen says:

    Wow, amazing and in awe of you guys! You are definitely in my thoughts and can’t wait to read about your next adventures. Lots of love to all of you…Kx

  3. Charles Mead says:

    We celebrated Clare’s birthday yesterday looking at your wonderful photos, especially the young ‘salts’. A & O are obviously thriving in their nautical world. I think there’s one photo of Ben looking like a cross between the Ancient Mariner and Robinson Crusoe but it’s a bit difficult to tell! More of him and you please. You might not read this until you land in Caribbean – but, of course,
    we all wish you fair winds and a safe passage. All our love, Charlie, Clare, Isabella, Olivia and Imogen.

  4. sueodon says:

    With love to all of you on your amazing adventure. We await your safe arrival in the sunny Carribean Sea( there’s a song in there somewhere) All love Paul, Sue, Rory andAlex xxxxxxxx

  5. Niki says:

    Thanks loads for all the photos. Can’t believe you’re finally heading into the warmth (as Dan pointed out when I stupidly commented that I was feeling sorry for you sailing in winter, looking outside at frosty Topsham- kinda forgot you were already significantly further south). V much hope you’re having/have had easy sailing to the Cape verdes. Much love from us all. X

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